PREVIEW: Our History

The Emergency Fund & All Chicago

Our Beginnings

In 1973, Norman H. Stone, a local businessman and philanthropist, read an article about a Chicago Family in need who could not find financial assistance at any social agencies in a quick and efficient manner. Based on the values of providing help immediately and without red tape, Mr. Stone founded the Emergency Fund. He built a collaborative organization with the support of businesses, human service agencies, and community advocates to meet the needs of low-income individuals and families in the Chicago area experiencing a crisis or transition.

From its inception until Mr. Stone’s death in 1985, the Emergency Fund assisted Thousands of Individuals and Families, covering costs for medication, food, bus passes, rent, utility payments, and many other basic needs. In 1973 alone, $8,841 was distributed in assistance to 1200 households, with grants ranging from $2 to $50. Over the years, the Emergency Fund consolidated public and private revenue streams that all provided temporary financial assistance to help stabilize households facing a crisis. Upon his death, his widow, Ida, assumed the presidency of the Emergency Fund.

A Legacy Continued

In 1997, Ida was named Chairman Emeritus, and her son, Alan Stone, took over as President of the Emergency Fund to continue his father’s legacy. Alan grew and expanded the organization to establish it as a lead non-profit serving the homeless and those in need of immediate financial assistance. Alan’s contributions to the Emergency Fund included a steadfast commitment to evidence-based practices and sound decision-making, focusing on developing the people involved in this work and a vision toward the entire community. Through his leadership, the Emergency Fund forged partnerships with hundreds of social service agencies in Chicago and provided innovative educational and training offerings to our extensive network of partners. Alan served as Chairman until 2002 and later served on the Board of Directors.

The Emergency Fund’s Transformation

1997: 86 different homeless service providers organized to form Chicago’s Partnership to End Homelessness. The partnership was a collaborative effort designed to secure funding and forge strong public/private connections. The Emergency Fund served as a funding source.

2001: The City of Chicago developed a 10-year Plan to End Homelessness that outlined several city-wide strategic priorities. In response to the plan, a second organization known as Chicago’s Continuum of Care Board was formed as a collaborative effort to help providers align with the strategic priorities and manage federal funding.

2004: The Emergency Fund merged with My Brothers’ Keeper, a nonprofit founded by the Owens Foundation. This merger allowed us to expand our services to include assistance for people to become self-sufficient.

2005: The Emergency Fund was selected by Mayor Richard M. Daley to manage the Chicago Homeless Prevention Fund as part of the City’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness. In response to the rising needs of our suburban neighbors, we began expanding services into Chicago’s surrounding suburbs.

2006: Chicago’s Partnership to End Homelessness and the Chicago Continuum of Care Board consolidated to become the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH). The Emergency Fund collaborated with CAEH, Catholic Charities, the Chicago Department of Housing, and the Chicago Department of Human Services to launch the Chicago Homelessness Prevention Call Center. This system now provides a central access point for all social services in the City of Chicago.

2007: Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness selected the Emergency Fund to administer the State Homelessness Prevention Funds for Chicago, becoming the largest provider of homelessness prevention assistance in the state.

2008: Lisa Stone Pritzker joins the Board of Directors of the Emergency Fund.

2008: The City of Chicago selected the Emergency Fund and key partners to manage funds targeted towards mid-range assistance, helping families over a longer period of time.

2009: The City of Chicago designated the Emergency Fund to administer a significant portion of the homelessness prevention funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

2010: In partnership with Erica’s Jewelry, the Emergency Fund launched the Symbol of Hope Campaign. The Emergency Fund helped 7,991 individuals and families with $9.5 million in financial assistance.

Becoming All Chicago

In 2011, the Emergency Fund and Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness consolidated operations. The two organizations maintained separate 501c(3) statuses while working closely together under the umbrella of All Chicago Making Homelessness History.

It became clear that be combining the Emergency Fund’s focus on preventing homelessness with the Chicago Alliance’s focus on strengthening the citywide response to homelessness, a larger impact could be made. On May 21, 2015, the Chicago Alliance and Emergency Fund finalized a three-year merger process and legally merged as All Chicago Making Homelessness History. Each consolidation has more closely united key stakeholders involved in ending homelessness, removed duplicate efforts, more effectively used limited resources, and strengthened the effort to align with the strategic priorities that will ultimately lead to the end of homelessness in Chicago.

Continued Growth & Aid

2013: The Emergency Fund Celebrates 40 years of service.

2015: The Student Emergency Fund was launched for low-income college students experiencing an emergency that could cause them to drop out of school.

2016: The Veterans Emergency Funs launched for veterans who are at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. The Chronic Homelessness Emergency Fund was also created to assist households involved in the DFSS Chronic Homelessness Pilot.