TFN believes that collaboration and connections are where real change takes root. When funders decide to act, lead and advance an agenda together, entire regions and policies can be transformed.

For the past two decades, The Funders Network has helped our members advance shared learning, develop best practices, create policy agendas, support policy reforms and improve outcomes in communities across the U.S. and Canada — addressing issues of deep relevance to people and place.

How do we effectively steward our natural resources? How do we grapple with climate change and the impact it will have on future generations – especially those vulnerable communities that are disproportionately affected? How do we create inclusive economies that allow communities to not just survive – but truly prosper and thrive? And how do we confront and challenge unjust systems and policies that result in deeply damaging social, economic and racial divides?

We recognize these are the defining problems of our era, and recognize that this work has taken on increased urgency in challenging times. We also recognize the unique potential of leaders in philanthropy to leverage the collective resources and energy of the sector to address these issues effectively and equitably.

TFN's Mission, Vision & Strategies

Our mission is to leverage philanthropy’s unique potential to help create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous and just for all people. We seek to inspire, strengthen and expand the funding, leadership and learning that deepens connections, ignites action and improves outcomes.

But we recognize that these goals cannot be achieved without first challenging and confronting the systemic imbalances in power, privilege and access to resources that disproportionately impact communities of color, specifically Black people, and create stark inequities that continue to harm racialized and marginalized people and places.

Only by centering racial equity at the heart of TFN’s mission can we achieve our goal for urgent and sustained action that builds power, addresses environmental, economic and racial injustice, and creates communities and regions where all people thrive. (To learn more about TFN’s foundational and cross-cutting commitment to racial equity, as well as resources for funders, visit our Putting Equity First page.)

Our vision is to help create a new generation of philanthropic leadership, with increased representation of people of color in leadership positions, that is engaged and emboldened to tackle the defining issues of our era — namely pervasive racial, economic and environmental injustices — and committed to bringing about a just society in which the distribution of resources, opportunities and burdens is not determined or predicted by race.

We aspire to serve as a leading resource for thinking and action that is interdisciplinary, innovative and transformative, and which recognizes that racial equity is both a process to guide us and an aspirational outcome.

Our strategies include:

  • Coordinating funder education and information sharing
  • Providing opportunities for funders to deepen professional relationships, hone their leadership skills and expand their impact as grantmakers
  • Helping align agendas, efforts and interests, as well as facilitating strategic initiatives and collaborations to advance progress towards desired outcomes
  • Cultivating emerging funder interest and new opportunities for funder engagement

Explore Our Work

TFN brings together funders and partners from diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging expertise, and provides a wide range of opportunities to share knowledge and deepen engagement across the sector. Take a moment and explore our programs, partnerships and initiatives.

Professional Development

About TFN

The Funders Network was originally created in 1999 as the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. In 2020, following our 20th anniversary of the network’s founding, we officially changed our name to The Funders Network — or TFN for short. (We’ve been known by that acronym, unofficially, for many years.) Our name may be shorter, but our commitment to our network of dedicated, passionate and highly engaged members remains as steadfast as ever.

“As funders, we have a tremendous responsibility to help build an equitable future for the places and people we serve. Over the years, TFN has offered opportunities to deepen our skills as grantmakers — and find inspiration in our shared purpose to create communities that truly thrive.”

Tom Woiwode
Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, former chairman of TFN’s Board of Directors