What a year it has been for Funders Together!
Here in Seattle, the approaching year’s end is that point in the calendar when we pass through the darkest night of the year, and eagerly celebrate the promise of the solstice, when we start to count the brief minutes of daylight that get added to each new day. The end of the year is also a time of reflection for many of us about the months that have passed, and what we have been able to accomplish, as well as that list of things we didn’t get to that seems to get longer every year.
What a year it has been for Funders Together! It was a year of many firsts:
- Our membership crested north of 150 foundations, United Ways and corporate giving programs
- We convened our first ever Funders Institute in conjunction with the annual National Alliance to End Homelessness conference, which attracted nearly 100 participants from more than 50 funders
- Our staff expanded to five regular employees and two interns
- We grew the membership of our board of directors to better reflect our national role and our range or interests and priorities
- We went “international,” and are helping to grow a Canadian Funders Together to End Homelessness
- We expanded and diversified our funding base, both in terms of specific programmatic grants and more than $50,000 in individual member contributions
- We expanded our web and social media presence, launching more toolkits, blogs, tweets and infographics with specific information on ending homelessness targeting the philanthropic sector
- We moved to a new office, now located in the energized hub of Boston’s nonprofit world
- We restructured our financial reporting systems and completed our first formal audit (mundane, perhaps, but critically important!)
From my perspective as board chair, I want to offer a few specific shout-outs:
- To Anne Miskey, our Executive Director, who has built a terrific staff team, and promoted increasingly strong relationships with local, regional and national Funders Together partners
- To our amazing staff, for their passion and energy that is driving our work forward, and creating a footprint in the field in a shoe size far bigger than the size of our feet would suggest!
- To external partners, like the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, for their trust in our work and their collaborative efforts that have helped us to advance on our goals
- To our talented board, who keep us focused and pointing towards the north star of our mission with such great vision and insight
And, most importantly, a humble “thank you” to our growing membership around the United States (and now Canada), who are supporting our work and growth as an organization while working with boundless energy in their own communities to end homelessness.
In terms of the work left undone, every new report of a homeless adult, child or family reminds me anew that despite all the progress we have made, we still have a long, long way to go. I continue to believe that, working collectively, we can in make homelessness a phenomenon that is rare, short in duration, and easily resolved. That, to me, is what ending homelessness will look like. Through your continuing efforts, and through the work that we now share through the vibrant organization that is Funders Together, I am confident we will get there.
Thank you, and all the best wishes for the New Year.
David Wertheimer is the Deputy Director of the Pacific Northwest Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, as well as the Board Chair of Funders Together to End Homelessness. Find him at @DavidWSeattle.