Amanda Misiko Andere
Chief Executive Officer, Funders Together to End Homelessness
What is your greatest joy or what are you most proud of in your work?
The greatest joy is working with leaders in philanthropy who are so engaged in their community to effect real change. They are not just funders—they are conveners, strategists, and compassionate people on the ground where the work really happens. I am most proud of Funders Together’s ability to have a diverse membership from large institutional philanthropy, small family foundations, United Ways, and individual philanthropists that continually learn from best practices from each other.
Who or what inspires you to do your work?
The resiliency of people who experience homelessness and housing instability inspire me to do this work. Despite so many obstacles and structural barriers they are able to accomplish so many things in their professional and personal lives. What if they had the resources they need, rather than what we can give? That is the question I ask myself in my work every day. I am also inspired by our nonprofit partners who do direct service, build capacity for communities to do systems change, and advocate for federal and local government policies and resources that will end homelessness and create more housing stability.
If we are successful, paint a picture of what America will look like five years from now.
Robust investment in grassroots organizing and advocacy that leads to diverse, inclusive communities where housing is a right. Nonprofit, philanthropic, and government leadership that looks like the people they with work with and represent. Systems that imbedded racial equity in their policies and funding priorities. Solutions that center the ideas and leadership of people with lived experience.
What is the biggest challenge in your work today?
How we shut the front door and build an effective crisis response system. We have an affordable housing crisis as well as hundreds of years of racism and racial inequity in policies that leads to so many people becoming homeless. How do we truly end homelessness, if we can’t prevent it? How do we do systems change work if we are not addressing systemic racism embedded in our systems? How do we engage more funders to think about systems change and racial equity?
What do you wish everyone knew about homelessness?
That it is not a result of personal failure, rather the failure of many systems. That the homelessness you see is a symptom of a housing crisis far worse that what is visible on the streets. That many people can’t survive a personal crisis on top of system failures and lack of affordable housing. That ending homelessness is doable when we have true public-private partnerships that address the crisis and root causes.