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Voices for Justice In the Movement to End Homelessness

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As part of our Commitment to Racial Equity and Strategic Framework, Funders Together is sharing statements, articles, and other resources that highlight the voices of Black, Indigenous, and other leaders of color in the fields of philanthropy, homelessness, and intersecting systems. While it’s important for white leaders to speak up, we can further our commitments to racial equity by listening to, learning from, and incorporating the recommendations of BIPOC leadership into not only our grantmaking but also into the structures of our organizations.

Funders Together features these statements in quarterly emails. To be added to that mailing list, please email Lauren Bennett at [email protected]. These emails are only available for members of Funders Together, private funders, United Ways, corporate giving programs, and philanthropy-serving organizations.

This page will be continually updated to include each statement that we highlight.


Jonathan Lykes

Celebrating Black joy, love, and happiness is a form of resistance that we can honor through art - like music - from Black creatives and artists. As a Black, queer artist, activist, and academic, Jonathan Lykes leans into a calling for justice and liberation through the cultivation and creation of music that embodies Black joy.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Listen to the Black Joy Experience playlist.


Marc Dones

In their opinion piece in Blavity, Marc Dones, CEO of the King Country Regional Homelessness Authority, affirms that racial justice cannot become reality until we attain housing justice and makes the truthful and historical case why that is. 

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Marc's article.

Marisol Bello

Marisol Bello, Director of the Housing Narrative Lab, penned a blog post making the case around why narrative work is important if we want to achieve housing justice. The Housing Narrative Lab was created to shift narratives around who experiences homelessness and why, leading with equity and justice in all its efforts.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Marisol's blog post.

Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts

In the spirit of Black History Month, it is important to name a crucial but all too often overlooked aspect of racial justice and liberation: Black Joy. Author Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts has set out to encourage the Black community to embrace their joy and celebrate it as a form of power for racial justice. Black joy is essential to achieving transformational change and liberation.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Tracey's statement.


Mimi Fox Melton

Nikole Hannah-Jones released a statement about her decision to decline a tenure offer at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Mimi Fox Melton, CEO of Code2040, wrote a series of tweets in response to Hannah-Jones's statement that demonstrate how philanthropy perpetuates harm through control and paternalism.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Mimi's Twitter thread.

Bobby Watts: Tears, Relief, Anger

Tying together his emotions that stemmed from the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial to the larger social injustices that deepen those feelings, Bobby Watts, CEO of National Health Care for the Homeless Council, clarifies the need for a true reckoning with race in the U.S. in his recent statement, Tears, Relief, Anger.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Bobby's statement.

Shimica Gaskins Interview About the California Black Freedom Fund

In February, philanthropic organizations in California launched the Black Freedom Fund. This $100 million fund, co-created with Black leaders and organizers, provides resources to Black-led power-building organizations over the next five years. Shimica Gaskins, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-California, highlighted the necessity of the fund, of power-building for Black communities, and what philanthropy should consider in their funding on the Black Freedom Fund website.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Shimica's interview.

Lindsay Hill: The Raikes Foundation Established a Black Leadership & Power Fund—Here’s What It Took to Make it Happen

In August, the Raikes Foundation launched the Black Leadership & Power Fund, which consists of $1 million in funding to support the dismantling of anti-Black racism. Lindsay Hill, Raikes Foundation's Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the time, shared the process of moving from statements to action in her blog post for Funders Together.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Lindsay's blog post.


Susan Thomas: A Personal Reflection by Melville Trust President Susan Thomas

In her recent personal reflection, President of the Melville Charitable Trust and Funders Together board member Susan Thomas, discusses how our nation's policies impact Black and Brown communities, and the connection between healthcare, housing, low wages and homelessness.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Susan's reflection.

Tony Richardson: Foundations, Act on What You Control to Confront Racism

Funders Together board member and Executive Director of The Nord Family Foundation, Tony Richardson highlighted in his blog for The Center for Effective Philanthropy, how foundations can be more actively addressing racial bias and working toward racial equity.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read Tony's blog post.

True Colors United for Black Lives

In the youth and young adult homelessness space, we often hear the phrase nothing about us without us, which means that youth and young people with lived expertise of homelessness should not just be included in the designing of solutions to homelessness, but also have real decision-making power. True Colors United, a Funders Together partner, put this important value into practice in both the process used to create their statement, True Colors United for Black Lives, and in the statement’s content.

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read True Colors United for Black Lives.

ABFE: We Must be in it for the Long Haul

In June, ABFE, a membership-based philanthropic organization that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities and a critical partner of Funders Together, released their statement requesting action from philanthropy against anti-Black racism. 

Read Funders Together's write-up.
Read ABFE's statement.


Showing 1 reaction

  • Lauren Samblanet
    published this page in Funder Resources 2020-10-28 14:06:34 -0400

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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