Chicago Funders Together
to End Homelessness

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Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (CFTEH) is an intersectional funder collaborative and a local network of the national Funders Together to End Homelessness organization. CFTEH currently includes nearly 30 Chicago-area funders working to align their grantmaking and maximize their impact with public sector partners. In 2020, CFTEH funders collectively invested more than $25 million to address homelessness in the Chicago area supporting close to 200 grantee partners.

About Funders Together to End Homelessness

Funders Together to End Homelessness’s (FTEH) mission is to mobilize its members to utilize the voice, influence and expertise of philanthropy in ways that will advance lasting solutions to ending homelessness, including addressing its underlying causes like structural and racial inequities, and helping create policies and systems that center people with lived expertise. Through this national network, CFTEH works alongside the funder collaboratives in many peer cities to prevent and end homelessness across the country.

FTEH began in 2004 as an informal network of seven funders who came together to focus on ending chronic homelessness. In 2010, national FTEH became a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has built a national network of 250 funders.

Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness Partner Organizations

The Alvin H. Baum Family Fund*
Arnold Ventures
Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois*
The Chicago Community Trust*
Crown Family Philanthropies*
Cuore e Mani Foundation*
Knight Family Foundation
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation*
Michael Reese Health Trust*
Northern Trust

The Owens Foundation*
Albert Pick, Jr. Fund
Pierce Family Foundation*
Polk Bros. Foundation*
Prince Charitable Trusts*
J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation*
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
RRF Foundation for Aging*
United Way of Metro Chicago
VNA Foundation
Waterton Philanthropic Fund*
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation*
*Asterisked funders have generously contributed to the CFTEH incubation effort

Meet the CFTEH Team

Emily Krisciunas, Director

Emily Krisciunas is the inaugural Director of Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (CFTEH), joining the team in May of 2020. CFTEH is an incubation project of Michael Reese Health Trust and a collaborative of funders working to address homelessness in the Chicago region. Prior to her role at Michael Reese, Emily served as Deputy Policy Director in the Chicago Mayor’s Office where she worked on issues related to housing, homelessness and the 2020 Census and served on the Board of Directors for Chicago’s Continuum of Care. She began her career as a grant writer at Ignite, an agency that supports young people experiencing homelessness on Chicago’s south side. She holds a BA in English and Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and an MPA from the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy.

Kathy Niedorowski, Program Coordinator

Kathy comes to CFTEH from the West Chicago Elementary School District where she led community school efforts in the early childhood programs and created partnerships to remove nonacademic barriers with families as a District Administrator. She brings advocacy and policy experience from her previous work with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Access Living. Kathy holds a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Community Health and Urban Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

As CFTEH’s Program Coordinator, Kathy helps advance grantmaking, programming, membership and fundraising activities for CFTEH.

CFTEH Steering Committee

Adolfo Hernandez, Director of Community Health, J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
Rachel Reichlin, Program Director, Michael Reese Health Trust
Debbie Reznick, Senior Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation
Dimitra Tasiouras, Program Director, Circle of Service Foundation

Housing Justice Fund

CFTEH is launching the Housing Justice Fund to support advocacy and community organizing that advances housing justice. To CFTEH, housing justice means: centering people most impacted by homelessness in decision-making; addressing the role that racism and white supremacy[1] play in perpetuating homelessness and unjust housing policy; eliminating the disproportionate experience of homelessness within Black and African American communities; and ensuring that everyone has a safe, stable, dignified, affordable home.

Through the Housing Justice Fund, CFTEH will direct at least $2 million between 2022 and 2024 to support campaigns, coalitions, alliances, partnerships and other coordinated tables that are leading advocacy and organizing efforts to end homelessness. The fund will prioritize Black-led and lived expertise-led initiatives. The fund will primarily provide flexible, unrestricted grants of up to $50,000 per year for at least two years though the fund retains the flexibility to make larger or smaller grants if responsive to an initiative’s needs.

The funding is designed to be maximally flexible and fully unrestricted, meaning that costs for staff salaries, administration, operations and other project infrastructure are fully eligible. The fund is not intended to support direct services or capital campaigns.

CFTEH’s Housing Justice Fund seeks to:

  • Eliminate racial disparities in who experiences homelessness and why
  • Shift decision-making power from predominantly white institutions and systems to Black and African American communities most impacted by homelessness
  • Reframe narratives about homelessness from those focused on personal responsibility to those focused on systemic causes and exclusionary housing practices
  • Secure increased, dedicated public and private resources to end homelessness
  • Build public and political will to end homelessness

[1] National Racial Equity Working Group: “White supremacy is a system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and people of color by white peoples for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.”

Information Session and FAQs

To learn more about the Housing Justice Fund, you can watch a pre-recorded information session by clicking here. 

To open a PDF with Frequently Asked Questions about the Fund, click here.