A special thanks to all our blog readers who work for the federal government; as federal employees, you participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, the world’s largest workplace giving program. Thank you for your generosity!
Last year federal workers pledged over $49,000 to support the National Alliance to End Homelessness. We are very grateful for these contributions! Because of your generosity, the Alliance was able to expand our work on federal policy, respond to pressing research needs, and provide assistance to communities in over 25 states across the country.
As many of you know, it is that time of year again and the 2011 Combined Federal Campaign season is in full swing. As such, I would like to thank you for your past support and encourage you to support the Alliance (#10022) in this year’s campaign. The Alliance is participating under the Human Care Charities of America Federation. Look for our listing, “Homelessness, National Alliance to End,” #10022 in your CFC pledge book and on your local campaign website.
You may also see me, Elizabeth Doherty, at your upcoming CFC Fair! On Tuesday, Nov. 15, I will be at the Pentagon from 1 – 3 p.m.
It’s that time again! November rolls around and here at the Alliance we are starting to gearing up for the end of the year. Messages about giving, advocacy alerts, and blogs/tweets/Facebook posts hurry out of the office to coincide with the holiday season.
For the next two weeks, in honor of Veterans Day, the Alliance will be focusing on veteran homelessness. This vulnerable population will dominate our conversation on the blog, on our social networks, and in our other communications avenues until Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11. We’ll try to cover the issue from as many perspectives as possible and feature our resident experts on data, policy, solutions, strategies, and capacity building. We’ll ask: how many homeless veterans are there? How can they be assisted? What specific challenges do they face? What legislation exists for to help veterans readjust to civilian life? What’s going on with the five year plan to end vets homelessness?
We ask and encourage you to get involved. Send us questions, comments, ideas, feedback – you can leave them here (in the comments section), on our Facebook account, via Twitter, or send us a good old fashioned email.
This year, we are offering a special giving opportunity in honor of our veterans. In the month of November, you can honor a veteran by making a donation to the Alliance on their behalf; we’ll make sure to send a card to the veteran you specify to inform them of your generosity.
This post is the first in a series of blogs from the Alliance staff. Each day a different expert will take the reins of our blog, Facebook and twitter accounts to share with you their perspectives and knowledge on ending homelessness. For more information, see this introductory post. Today’s post comes from Elizabeth Doherty, the Alliance’s Development Coordinator.
Last week the Alliance released its 2010 Annual Report. Although, I know, 2010 seems like ages ago now, I would like to take a moment to share just a couple of highlights with you.
In my work (fundraising) the most important parts of the Annual Report are the financials and the donors. As partners in our efforts to end homelessness, my guess is that you also may be interested in how the Alliance spends its money.
In 2010, the Alliance’s expenses totaled about $2.9 million. Of those resources, 90 percent went to further the Alliance’s programs to prevent and end homelessness while only 8 percent was spent on administrative costs and a mere 2 percent was spent on fundraising. We are pretty proud of those numbers! Want to learn more? A full statement of activities (and some colorful and informative pie charts) can be found in the Annual Report.
So what kinds of programs did that 90 percent of our budget support? As I am sure you know, 2010 was a difficult year for those of us working to end homelessness. In response to the economic challenges, we tried to tailor our activities to respond to the times.
- Our Homelessness Research Institute focused on examining links between economic factors and homelessness, and spread the word about best practices in prevention and re-housing with documents like Working Poor People in the United States and Examining Doubled Up in the United States.
- The Center for Capacity Building helped communities like Lincoln, NE and Fairfax County, VA implement rapid re-housing and prevention programs and prepare for implementation of the HEARTH Act.
- Our Program and Policy staff worked with the USICH, the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness and many other partners to improve policy responses to homelessness while also ramping up the national focus on homeless youth and veterans – both solvable problems.
In closing, I leave you with a quote from our President, Nan Roman. Yes, it was written almost a year ago, but the sentiment rings true today and will continue to do so as we move forward together.
“As its name implies, the Alliance is not only a Board and staff in Washington, DC, but a much bigger movement of people from across the nation who are dedicated to finding ways to prevent and end homelessness. We look forward to continuing to work together with you, our gifted and innovative partners, to ensure that as the economy recovers we get back on track to solve this problem – so that every American has a place to call home.”
On Friday, a colleague (my boss, actually) brought an item in the Chronicles of Philanthropy to my attention. It was called, “As Social Needs Mount, How Can Philanthropy Best Alleviate Homelessness?”
Before even reading the piece, I discussed it with my boss and let the question marinate in my mind. And while the obvious answer was clear, I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t overlooking the more meta angle of the issue; maybe it’s the never-ending madness of the budget process taking place right here in the District, but I was thinking less about throwing money at a problem and more about creating the change necessary to solve – to end – persistent social ills. When we’re looking at the world through this wide-angle lens, what is the role of philanthropy?
There are some solid examples in the homeless assistance community:
In Denver, CO, Denver’s Road Home has long worked with the Office of the Mayor and the Mile High United Way to lead a community-wide effort to implement the city’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. The partnership has also opened new funding and resource avenues and, to date, over 30 foundations have not only contributed but engaged in Denver’s effort to end homelessness.
After decades of failed attempts, Los Angeles has launched a promising new chapter in the community’s effort to end homelessness. A new plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness in the city of angels, Home for Good, is spearheaded by United Way LA and the LA Chamber of Commerce – an unlikely if effective duo. The pair serves as an organizing entity, a governing body, and the driving impetus to end homelessness in what is, ostensibly, the homeless capital of the country.
Foundations, with their do-gooder beliefs and the ability to put their money where their mouths are, are in a powerful place to enact some real social change.
Foundations can identify and support innovation; they can advance great new ways to solve old, vexing problems. They can not only fund but foster an idea or technology that promises to improve society – taking it from conceptualization to development to implementation. With their resources and clout, they can bring leaders from all sectors of the public to make a better, more livable community, emphasizing the goals of sustainable change and real progress as opposed to band-aids and temporary fixes.
In the homeless assistance community, they can support what’s working. It’s no surprise that there isn’t as much money to go around as there once was, and in this economically tight environment, foundations can lead by example: using their limited resources to support strategies and policies that address root causes of homelessness, change the systems that aid and contribute to homelessness, end homelessness.
There is no arguing that homelessness is a complex issue, one fraught with moral, economic, and social discord and as such, will require a comprehensive, multi-pronged solution. In this way, it is the perfect issue with which foundations can get involved as leaders bringing the necessary stakeholders to the table and leading the discussion on targeted investment, best practices, and systems-change solutions.
The Alliance’s development department is very busy this time of year!
Not only is this the height of giving season, but the Alliance was rated as a four star charity – the highest possible rating – for the fifth year in a row by Charity Navigator, a well-known and highly regarded charity watchdog organization. (Find the Alliance’s Charity Navigator profile here.)
Yet, this holiday season arrives at a time of continued economic uncertainty. In many places across the country families and individuals are threatened with homelessness in greater numbers.
We at the Alliance know that now is the time to be innovative, creative, and find ways to do more with less. Austerity, as the newsmakers say, is the name of the today’s game – and the Alliance is stepping up to the plate. We’re investing in best practices, effective strategies, and the tools necessary to really make a dent in the numbers and a difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. With your help, the Alliance will continue to ensure that despite the challenges that face us, homelessness will be ended.
This year, you can give your loved ones a meaningful gift through the Alliance’s holiday giving program.
Donations made between now and the end of the year can be given on behalf of a special relative or friend. Recipients will receive a personalized holiday card notifying them of your generosity.
Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity this year. Your gift to the Alliance celebrates the spirit of the holidays and contributes to proven solutions that can and will bring about an end to homelessness in America. For more information, please visit the Alliance website.
Today is the last day to contribute to the Alliance through the http://www.cfcnca.org/!
If you are a federal employee, please consider supporting the Alliance through the CFC, #10022. The Alliance is participating in this year’s campaign under the Human Care Charities of America Federation. Look for our listing, “Homelessness, National Alliance to End,” #10022 in your CFC pledge book and on your local campaign website.
While each holiday season brings an influx of generous contributions, this year is especially important. The flailing economy has produced the winds of a perfect story: increasing need and diminishing resources. Advocates, services providers, friends, and colleagues have all shared with us the same stories – increased use of shelter, food banks, and assistance programs. Increased incidence of doubling up, unemployment, and unsheltered homelessness. Decreased availability of state funds, charitable donations, and financial supports.
This is the time to do what we can to provide for those less fortunate than ourselves.
We couldn’t do our work without you – thank you so much!
Today’s guest blogger is the Alliance’s own development officer, Elizabeth Doherty.
Today, all our inner shopaholics come out as we hasten to get a jump on holiday shopping. And while stores of all stripes are pitching their ideas of the perfect holiday gift, I would like to share an alternative idea with you.
This year, give your loved ones a meaningful gift through the Alliance’s holiday giving program. Donations made between now and the end of the year can be designated on behalf of a special relative or friend. These gifts will honor your loved one while also supporting vital work to prevent and end homelessness.
The individual or individuals honored by your gift will receive a personalized holiday card notifying them of your generosity.
Unfortunately, during these times of continued economic uncertainty, many people find themselves without a place of their own. By supporting our work today, you can ensure our efforts to house these individuals continues.
Our sincerest thanks for your support!
As my friends in the development world would say, it’s giving season. Which is a really a euphemistic way of saying this is the time of year when nonprofits amp up their donor appeals and people get into the holiday spirit by contributing to the lives and livelihoods of those less fortunate.
Here at the Alliance, we’re lucky to have the opportunity to work with a range of people interested in ending homelessness in their own unique ways. We learn about movies and documentaries on homelessness, hear about bike rides across the country to raise awareness about homelessness, work with nonprofits and private companies alike interested in engaging the public about homelessness, and we correspond with writers who want to publicize their books on the issue.
Latest in that last category is Jay Levy, an LICSW who has spent the last two decades working with individuals experiencing homelessness. He’s been a key contributor to homeless assistance efforts in Massachusetts and is currently working with Eliot CHS-Homeless Services as a regional manager.
His book, Homeless Narratives & Pretreatment Pathways, is based on his years in the field and shares the stories of not only Jay’s experiences, but those of the people he’s assisted. Find out more about book on his website. Massachusetts fans can also attend a reading this Thursday, Nov. 18 at Boswell Books in Shelburne Falls. (A note of disclosure: Jay is donating 15 percent of the book’s proceeds to the Alliance.)
In this holiday season, there are a number of things you can do to help end homelessness.
Among our favorites is to join the Food & Shelter campaign hosted by our friends Great Nonprofits. It’s quick and easy and costs absolutely nothing but a few minutes.
During this month, Great Nonprofits is featuring national organizations dedicated to ending homelessness and fighting hunger. If you’re familiar with any such organization (like us!) you can go on the site and review it (works a lot like Yelp).
Your review will help other people better understand the organization, spread the word about the organization, and elevate the organization’s ranking. It’s a great, simple way to help out an organization you want to support.
Wanna know more? Let us know by leaving a comment!
I am happy to announce that the National Alliance to End Homelessness is participating in this year’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The Alliance is part of the Human Care Charities Federation and our pledge number is 10022.
The CFC, a workplace giving program for federal employees, is one the largest and most successful campaigns of its kind. The mission of the CFC is “to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.”
If you are a federal employee, you can contribute to the Alliance through this worthwhile program. Look for our listing under, “Homelessness, National Alliance to End,” #10022 in your CFC pledge book and on your local campaign website. Pledges can be made now through December 15, 2010. If you work in Washington, DC you can give online through the National Capital Area’s Campaign.
As a supporter, you can be assured that your contribution goes directly to support our programs: preventing and ending homelessness in this country. In 2009, 93.5 percent of funds raised went to research, education and capacity building programs while only 6.5 percent went to administration and fundraising.
If you’re not a government employee but are feeling charitable as the holiday season approaches, please visit the Alliance website to donate online.
Thanks so much for your support!
Today we would like to introduce you to John and Rose Bottensek who have committed themselves to the effort to end homelessness by donating a dollar to the Alliance for every copy of their new book that they sell. John is the author of of the new novel; Rose, his wife, is the editor. Read below to hear from the authors how this great movement has inspired them.
As the ongoing economic crisis continues to affect so many Americans, one of the most pressing issues that takes center stage in our minds is the plague of homelessness – an issue that has long been ignored by our American community. In fact, as I write this, I notice my spell check doesn’t even recognize it as a word. That alone speaks volumes as to the lack of recognition this issue receives.
The number of homeless where I live– Madison, Wisconsin – has actually decreased by forty percent in the past five years. I cannot offer an opinion as to why because, like most people, I haven’t paid much attention to the problem until recently.
That is not to say we don’t notice the lines outside the shelters in the evenings, some reaching around the block at times. We live in one of the most beautiful, most prosperous cities in the country. If the problem of homelessness is identifiable here, it is shameful to imagine what it must look like at on a national scale.
For my wife, Rose, and me, ignorance is no longer an acceptable state of mind.
We became familiar with the National Alliance to End Homelessness earlier this year, when my first book, “VonJanic – Legend of Arláge”, was about to go to press.
In spite of the fact that we had closed our business in 2008 when the financial markets froze up, we realized how fortunate we had been to have food on the table and a roof over our heads. Unlike so many, we had the means to weather the storm of economic uncertainty and came upon the realization that we had an obligation to share our success with those in need.
In researching the nearly endless possibilities of not-for-profits and charities, the Alliance quickly rose to the top of our list. To begin, Rose and I identified three areas that concerned us on either a national or global front: food, water, and shelter.
We examined independent ratings, scrutinized financial statements, looked at programs, and studied the missions of countless organizations.
One of the most influential elements which guided our final decision was simply the people we encountered.
The Alliance employs a staff of energetic, devoted, and sincere individuals. We are proud to count them all as not only partners in achieving victory over a national problem, but as friends.
The Alliance shares our personal belief that giving a man a fish provides a meal; teaching him to fish sustains him for a lifetime. Members of the Alliance know that simply throwing money at a problem doesn’t always solve the problem. They work to identify the best practices to end homelessness and work with communities to bring about measurable, permanent change.
We’re doing just a small part in combating this stain on the fabric of America. A one dollar donation per book sale may not seem like very much, but hopefully, each dollar is one step closer to keeping ‘homelessness’ out of spell check.