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Family Philanthropy Series: Investing in Community While Addressing Housing Needs

Linne Lemke


In our seventh Family Philanthropy Series session, we learned about the work Greater Twin Cities United Way does to drive innovative and equitable strategies for responding to homelessness and housing instability, and how community members can get involved in driving change through a Donor Infusion Fund (DIF).

Our work in housing

Jay Wagner, Senior Program Officer on the holistic grantmaking team, started us off with an intriguing question: “What does stable housing mean to you?” A variety of responses were shared by our audience in the chat, including safety, security, predictability and a sense of community among neighbors.

Our vision is that homelessness is prevented whenever possible and to ensure that when and if it does occur, it’s rare, brief and nonrecurring. We work toward this vision by investing deeply and broadly in seven key areas to address urgent needs and create lasting change:

  1. 211 resource helpline | providing resources and referrals for immediate housing needs
  2. Nonprofit partnerships | partnering to prevent & respond to homelessness
  3. Arise Project | addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness
  4. Home For Good | supporting transitions out of homelessness
  5. Field building | strengthening the nonprofit ecosystem
  6. Pathways Home | homelessness prevention for those exiting incarceration or transitioning out of foster care
  7. Advocacy | influencing systems and policies to drive lasting change

Partnering to amplify impact

One of the most efficient and impactful ways to support our vision is through a Donor Infusion Fund (DIF). Mala Thao, Vice President of Donor Diversification and Advancement Strategies, shared similarities and differences between a DIF and a Donor Advised Fund (DAF).

We were honored to be joined by Lynne Harrington, supporter and former board member at Greater Twin Cities United Way. She shared her personal experience with a DIF, “putting [our money] in the Donor Infusion Fund helped smooth out our tax issue, but also allowed United Way to put that money to work in the community right away — in a meaningful way”, she stated.

The session concluded with a case study that shed light on a common scenario involving tax burdens associated with family inheritance. It demonstrated how directing funds through a Donor Infusion Fund can be a flexible strategy to maximize your philanthropic goals while having an impact in community today, tomorrow and in years to come.

Watch the recording to learn more:

More learning

It’s our goal to provide valuable learning opportunities to our donors and our community, including through Family Philanthropy Series virtual learning sessions. See the full Family Philanthropy Series playlist.

When you include a gift as part of your overall estate and financial planning, you ensure we make meaningful strides toward achieving our vision. Visit to learn more.

About the Author

Linne Lemke is a Planned Giving Officer and works with individual donors who believe that all people in our community deserve the opportunity to thrive especially people who are marginalized by race, income or place. Linne earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification from St. Thomas Opus College of Business in 2016. She serves on the board of directors of the Minnesota Gift Planning Association (MGPA) and is a member of the WCA Foundation.

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