A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

Stepping Forward as a Catalyst for Change – An Open Letter to Funders

Philanthropy can take the lead in solving, rather than managing homelessness.

As summer comes to an end (with a bang for those who live on the east coast), we are all preparing for life to again pick up its pace. Many of us are getting ready for “back to school” or to return to the busyness of our working lives. It is almost time to say goodbye to those halcyon days of summer.

Unfortunately, for our country, it has not been a particularly good summer. And sadly the months-and even years-ahead continue to look bleak for many. Over the past few months we have watched our nation continue to struggle with a harsh economic reality and a looming debt crisis. Then came the certainty of massive budget cuts on the horizon-cuts that will make life harder for most Americans, especially for those who are the most vulnerable.

Funders Together to End Homelessness focuses on those who are perhaps the most vulnerable in our society: the homeless or those at risk of being homeless. Sadly, homelessness touches many-children and youth, families, veterans, those suffering from mental and physical illnesses. But it also touches many we don’t normally think of-those with university degrees, jobs and careers, and people with immediate and extended families. As our economy has worsened, the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness has increased and, with the coming budget cuts, we know the danger is there that the numbers will grow.

Take the Lead in Solving, Rather than Managing Homelessness

So, is there anything funders can do to prevent or even solve homelessness in light of the economic forecast? The answer is a categorical yes. Many communities have continued to reduce their number of homeless individuals and families despite these harsh economic times-_and philanthropy has played a key role_. Homelessness can be solved, even when times are tough – if we do the right things.

Now is the time for funders, whether they are private or public foundations, United Ways, or individual donors, to step forward and be catalysts for change. By funding what works and by taking the lead in promoting, supporting, and sustaining effective solutions, they can lead our communities towards solving, rather than simply managing, homelessness.

Funders Together to End Homelessness is here to help funders as they work towards effective solutions. We know what works to prevent and end homelessness in ways that are efficient and cost effective, and most importantly, in ways that create positive outcomes for those experiencing homelessness. Funders Together continues to work hard at developing resources for funders and creating opportunities for them to come together to share ideas and to learn from each other about what works to prevent and end homelessness.

anne_miskey.jpgAs Executive Director of Funders Together, Anne brings years of expertise in both the corporate and not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about promoting the philanthropic community’s catalytic role in ending homelessness, working with government to create public-private partnerships, and advocating for funding and policies which end, rather than manage, homelessness.



We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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