For more than two decades, The Funders Network has worked to lift up insight and knowledge designed to inform, enlighten and inspire the philanthropic sector. Through TFN’s signature reports and collaborative studies, our members and cross-sectoral partners are able to share the stories and strategies that illuminate efforts to create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous and just. This curated list of resources reflects work done by the network, or in collaboration with key partners, over the past six years. For access to older reports, studies and translation papers, or to request printed versions of any of our publications, please contact TFN Director of Communications Tere Figueras Negrete at

Signature Projects

Midwest Transportation Landscape Assessment: A Roadmap for Funders


The Midwest Transportation Landscape Assessment: A Roadmap for Funders explores how advocates and their foundation partners are working to build more sustainable and equitable transportation systems across the Midwest.

The seven Midwest states in this study — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin — will spend a combined $36 billion on transportation in 2023, thanks in part to landmark federal funding bills passed in recent years. The need for focused and funded advocacy work to ensure that the dollars are spent wisely and equitably has never been greater.

This TFN report focuses on work to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and increase public investment in and accessibility of transit, walking and biking. Interviews with dozens of funders, advocates, government staff and thought leaders offer a host of recommendations that can be boiled down to one imperative: Build power among those fighting for change.

Researched and written by Zoe Kircos and Martha Roskowski through TFN’s Mobility and Access Collaborative, this report was made possible through funding by McKnight Foundation, with additional support from TransitCenter and SRAM Cycling Fund.

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Community Foundations: Drivers of Inclusive and Meaningful Local Change


How can community foundations help create meaningful change in local communities?

What sorts of partnerships can be modeled effectively?

And what opportunities are there for regional and national funders to advance community change and power-building?

Community Foundations: Drivers of Inclusive and Meaningful Local Change looks at three community foundation programs and examines how these partnerships and initiatives are helping broaden expertise, grow peer networks, deepen local connections and build community power: the Community Foundation Water Initiative, Partners for Places, and The Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP.)

This report, made possible with the support of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and  researched and written by Estolano Advisors, includes key takeaways, case studies and interviews with and a survey of participating community foundations and their local partners, program investors, and TFN staff.

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PLACES X: Stories of Impact

For the 10th anniversary of TFN’s PLACES Fellowship — a year-long, equity-focused learning experience for leaders in philanthropy — we worked with two award-winning journalists to help capture the stories shared and the lessons learned through the PLACES Fellowship. The result is our PLACES Impact Stories project, which includes profiles written by WLRN social justice reporter Nadege Green and videos created by documentary filmmaker Oscar Corral.

View the full project, including video and print stories, here.


Turning the Corner: Monitoring Neighborhood Change to Prevent Displacement

Turning the Corner: Monitoring Neighborhood Change to Prevent Displacement piloted a research model in five cities to monitor neighborhood change, drive informed government action, and support displacement prevention and inclusive revitalization. The project was motivated by a desire to understand neighborhood revitalization and related displacement pressures in cities with recovering or moderately strong housing markets. Local participating sites included Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Phoenix, Arizona; and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Minnesota. The project was guided by the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) and the Federal Reserve-Philanthropy Initiative, a collaboration between The Funders Network’s Restoring Prosperity in Older Industrial Cities Working Group (now known as Inclusive Economies) and several Federal Reserve district banks.


The project produced three publications:  

Turning the Corner: Lessons from Five Cities on Displacement Risk in Changing Neighborhoods|A brief providing lessons about displacement risk in recovering or moderately strong housing markets and recommendations for governments and the civic sector to ensure revitalization benefits longer-term residents.

Turning the Corner: Implications of Neighborhood Revitalization for Public Safety, Small Businesses, and Capital Investments| A brief discussing three topics related to equitable development that emerged across the five sites.

Guide to Measuring Neighborhood Change to Understand and Prevent Displacement| A guide on data sources and methods for monitoring neighborhood change, drawn from the experiences of the Turning the Corner local research and from NNIP.

Looking for Progress in America’s Smaller Legacy Cities: A Report for Place-based Funders

This paper describes a study tour undertaken by representatives from four Federal Reserve Banks and more than two dozen place-based funders, under the auspices of Federal Reserve-Philanthropy Initiative, a collaboration between The Funders Network’s Restoring Prosperity in Older Industrial Cities Working Group (now known as Inclusive Economies) and several Federal Reserve district banks. What began as an inquiry into four small legacy cities – Chattanooga, TN; Cedar Rapids, IA; Rochester, NY; and Grand Rapids, MI – that appeared to have experienced some measure of revitalization in the post Great Recession environment evolved into an understanding that revitalization in these places is moving along two distinct paths: an “arc of growth” and an “arc of opportunity.”


Anchored in Place: How Funders are Helping Anchor Institutions Strengthen Local Economies

This report explores the findings from the Anchor Institutions Funder Group, an initiative of TFN’s Inclusive Economies, and recommends potential steps for continuing to deepen our collective knowledge about anchor institutions and their potential for creating and sustaining change. While many people think of universities and hospitals when they think of anchor institutions, our research showed that many of the existing networks of anchor institutions are moving beyond a narrow definition and are expanding to include entities such as sports stadiums, libraries, museums, school districts, and municipal governments. The report also includes cast studies of anchor institutions and their impact on Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Albuquerque and the Twin Cities.


Advancing Opportunity for All in Transportation, Greenhouse Gas Reduction, and Smart Growth

This compendium of best practices offers sample tools for funders to help ensure that low-income households and communities of color benefit from efforts in their communities to address climate change, expand mobility, and create more inclusive development policies and investments.


The Hardest Road: Philanthropic Approaches to the Evolving Field of Transportation Equity

This paper examines the history and context of equitable transportation and the philanthropic efforts under way in four regions where funders are aligning with advocates and government agencies to shape once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure investments so they benefit low-income people and communities of color.


Philanthropic Partner Experiences with Fundraising for the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

TFN worked with the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative to make the GHHI local sites more visible to the philanthropic community and, where possible, to provide information about the field of green and healthy affordable housing to GHHI’s philanthropic partners. In response to a request from TFN members for information about the experience of raising funds for GHHI, TFN conducted a series of interviews in 2013 to understand a sampling of sites’ experiences in this realm. This report is a summary of the findings from those interviews.