Giving Compass’ Take:
• Centre for Homelessness Impact hosted a conference earlier this year with foundation members from Wales and England, discussing how philanthropy needs a new approach to address homelessness.
• How can foundations develop strategies together to face these issues? Will a systems change approach help?
Every once in a while we do well by taking stock of where we are and to map out the future. The workshop we held in London with the Association for Charitable Foundations was one of those moments. Participants from foundations in England and Wales came together to talk about their role, and explore ways to achieve even better results. We did this because at the center we believe that foundations are in a unique position to help build the infrastructure required to invest in what works.
Foundations have a long history of helping to tackle homelessness. They’ve invested in frontline services. They’ve nurtured campaigning efforts and innovation. And they’ve unlocked new insights by encouraging us to look at the issue through the prism of severe and multiple disadvantages.
Participants reflected that a new approach to homelessness is needed — one which recognizes the changed reality of life in the 21st century, and marshalls the considerable power of philanthropy in new ways.
Everyone was keen to explore how they might move to a greater focus on impact in relationships with their grantees. They worried that certain ways of working can breed a thumbs-up/thumbs-down culture, at the expense of learning. We discussed how this would change if foundations develop a stronger understanding of different levels of evidence, what it takes to build useful evidence and how this would help them to invest in opportunities that build and sustain stronger outcomes over time.
Foundations have the power to shine a light on what’s happening, to ensure the homelessness issue is not ignored. They can use grant-making, commissioning and social investment powers to change the landscape in which people affected by homelessness live.
Read the full article about what foundations can do about homelessness from Centre for Homelessness Impact at Medium.
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