WHAT: We support work to abolish the US death penalty.
HOW: The majority of death sentences are imposed at the state level. We invest in statewide campaigns to end the death penalty. These investments expand the impact of our limited dollars. With colleague funders, we invested in organizations that ran successful campaigns to repeal the death penalty in four states: New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland. These four states joined New Jersey and New York in comprising the six states that have repealed the death penalty since 2007.
WHAT: We support work to prevent and end homelessness. Affordable housing is key to ending homelessness. Housing trust funds are dedicated public revenue sources for affordable housing that generate over $750 million per year for affordable housing. For each dollar that housing trust funds invest in affordable housing, about another $7.00-$10.00 are leveraged from other public and private resources.
HOW: We invest in housing trust fund campaigns.
- We were an early and long term funder of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s successful campaign for a national housing trust fund. The purpose of this fund is to increase and preserve the supply of affordable housing, principally rental housing for extremely low income households. The fund is expected to generate hundreds of millions of new dollars annually for affordable housing.
- We were the first national funder to support SCANPH’s “Housing LA” trust fund campaign. Our small grant helped attract additional grant dollars. Three years later, the mayor of LA signed a $100 million annual housing trust fund into law, making it the largest municipal fund of its kind.
- We supported PACDC in its campaign to establish the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund. To date, over 14,000 low- and moderate-income families, seniors, disabled and homeless people have gained access to expanded housing opportunities through this Fund.
- We funded the Michigan Organizing Project in a successful campaign for a housing trust fund in Kalamazoo City and County.
PULLING IT TOGETHER: To leverage this work nationally, we support the Center for Community Change’s Housing Trust Fund Project, which provides intensive technical assistance to advocacy campaigns at all stages of their development and works with those campaigns to implement their housing trust funds.
WHAT: Housing vouchers are key to providing housing for homeless and very low income people. The federal budget deal called the “Sequester” placed indiscriminate cuts on non-defense spending that put tens of thousands of housing vouchers at risk.
HOW: We supported successful advocacy to roll back those cuts. We gave grants to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Housing Law Project, and helped engage other funders from around the country to support this effort. During the first year of funding, about 30,000 vouchers were restored. This was a great start, but less than half the desired number. Thus, advocacy work is ongoing. A major step forward was the president’s proposed FY 2016 budget that seeks to restore not only the 67,000 vouchers cut by sequestration, but also targets 30,000 of these additional vouchers on homeless families, survivors of domestic and dating violence, and families in need of housing assistance to reunite with children in foster care.