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

What We're Reading on Racial Equity, Justice, and Liberation

When we named racial equity as a priority in our strategic plan, we also named it a value to start our own internal learning journey as an organization and as individuals. Starting in 2019, each month, we feature a "What We're Reading" section in our Member News that highlights what people in the Funders Together network are reading to expand their understanding of racial equity. This page is an archive of past articles, blog posts, and books that were featured in past editions of the FTEH Member News. We hope this will spur inspiration for your personal or organizational racial equity work and that you'll learn alongside us.

What We're Reading in: 20212020 | 2019


What We're Reading: The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

Who's Reading It: Jack Zhang, Programs and Communications Manager, Funders Together to End Homelessness

It is no secret that the lasting impacts of race-based discrimination and decades of segregation linger to this day. It is this intentionality in the ways that it has been integrated into our society, laws, and customs that Richard Rothstein explores in his book, The Color of Law.

The book begins with the chapter “If in San Francisco, then everywhere?” to explore how in seemingly progressive cities, government institutions and laws were systematically weaponized to implement segregation. Moreover, the book details how, even when segregation was “formally” outlawed, the impacts of racism continued through the use of single-family zoning, racially restrictive covenants, FHA discrimination towards Black neighborhoods, and more. It is these policies that resulted in concentrations of disparities, marginalization, and racially divided neighborhoods that persist to this day. 

Coming off of the Funders Forum in Oakland and Black History Month, I am reminded of the importance of understanding the past, especially the parts many in our country prefer not to talk about, for us to move forward with our mission of achieving housing and racial justice. In order to truly live into our values, we must prioritize racial justice to rectify our past and envision a more liberated society and a more just future.

What We're Reading: Defund the Police for Funders by Solidaire Network

Who's Reading It: Molly Schultz Hafid, Executive Director, Butler Family Fund

The Butler Family Fund funds the intersection of housing justice and criminal legal system reform by supporting our partners who are reducing public funding for our broken criminal legal system and reallocate resources towards safe affordable housing and other community-identified needs. We are always looking for community-centered resources to inspire thoughtful conversations between our staff and Board about “Defund the Police” and the ongoing Divest/Invest campaigns.

A recent publication we have found to be tremendously helpful and informative is the Defund the Police for Funders guide produced by the Solidaire Network. The guide was created to help their members learn more about divesting from over-policing and supporting community-identified alternatives. We decided to use it as a board education tool and included excerpts in our most recent Board packet.

“Defund the Police” is used by many of our grantees. Unfortunately, opponents of criminal legal reform have used the slogan to scare the public to resist changes to the current ineffective, racist, and bloated criminal legal system. The guide explains why this call to action emerged, what it means, examples of how communities have been successful, inspiration for alternatives to policing, and suggestions for how to have these conversations with our colleagues, peers, and families. It also concludes with an incredible collection of resources and organizations for continued learning and/or grantmaking.


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  • Lauren Samblanet
    published this page in Funder Resources 2022-01-31 10:30:08 -0500

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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