BY Patricia L. Smith

TFN President & CEO

Never has it been more important for us as a network to come together to share our experiences, lift our voices and take action.

We’re grappling with an ongoing pandemic, a faltering economy and a nationwide reckoning on systemic and brutal racism in our society.

Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of TFN’s new website, a debut planned long before these current upheavals — but which comes at a time when we must make good on our commitment to help you, our members, deepen your learning and tell your stories.

Voices of TFN

On our new site, you’ll find a host of resources that will help you better navigate TFN’s rich offerings of programs and resources, including a new section devoted to our approach to racial equity, a digital library featuring our most recent publications, and an interactive membership map to better identify potential connections in your region.

And you’ll find the voices of your colleagues and peers in the philanthropic sector throughout the website, most notably on our TFN Blog.

You’ll read about how PLACES Alum (and fellowship facilitator) Bina M. Patel is channeling the transformative power of outrage to meet this moment with purpose.

You’ll learn why greenways are an essential tool to help communities come together equitably in the COVID era from former TFN board chairs John Mittherholzer and Tom Woiwode.

And you’ll read current TFN board member Shawn Escoffery’s compelling, gut-wrenching account of his arrest while protesting police brutality in Los Angeles, originally published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Shawn’s piece is a cri de coeur, a call to action, and a must-read for the sector. This part rings especially true:

This is a time of reckoning for the philanthropic world, which despite good intentions has often struggled to adequately address the needs of Black and brown people with effective, compassionate, and sustained action.

On the day after my arrest, my inbox was flooded with well-wishes from colleagues and peers: “How are you doing?”

I wanted to answer with a better set of questions: What I am doing. What are we all doing?”

It’s a question I’ll be reflecting on, especially as we head into a long holiday weekend celebrating this imperfect, imperiled country.

Our New Name

Finally, you’ll see that our new logo indicates a new — and much shorter — name for our network. For two decades, we’ve been officially known as the “Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.” But nearly all of our members (and most everyone else), has always referred to us as “TFN.” So we decided to legally change our name to The Funders Network in a nod to brevity.

Our new logo, with its various threads woven together, also serves as a visual reminder of our core identity. We are The Funders Network — emphasis on network: a group of people, with diverse backgrounds and areas of focus, connected by common goals and purpose.

We look forward to strengthening those connections by sharing, learning and leading together. Today and always.

About the Author

Patricia L. Smith is the president and CEO of The Funders Network, a robust network of more than 170 foundations, including place-based and community foundations as well as state, regional and national funders committed to creating equitable, sustainable and prosperous communities.