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Lifting up our history, looking toward the future — with purpose and commitment.

Kids for Peace

From our beginnings back in 2003, and over the course of the last 20 years, FamilyForward has mobilized the community to provide help and hope for hundreds of families across the northwest suburbs. Throughout 2023, we are celebrating those who have made our accomplishments possible, from staff to community partners to dedicated supporters. At the same time, we are keeping our eyes on the future, and doing everything we can to make it bright for local low-income, working families. Join us!

Stories of Success From 20 Years at FamilyForward

We connected with several long-time leaders to collect their insights into the success of this organization. It was encouraging to hear their memories, stories and favorite highlights over the past two decades.


What emerged was a clear picture of the most significant objectives, strengths and achievements of FCH/FF.


Fact #1

Originally known as Faith Community Homes

We accepted our first family in May 2003, an event recognized as the official launch of Faith Community Homes, now known as FamilyForward.

Our History

Since 2003, FamilyForward (formerly known as Faith Community Homes) has been nurturing and building on the seeds planted by the churches of the Arlington Heights Ministerial Association.


It was a bold idea to come together to support, mentor, and subsidize housing for low-income families.

As our 501(c)(3) charitable organization has established roots and grown over the years, we continue to recognize and celebrate the vital partnerships of many faith organizations, individuals, organizations, businesses and government entities.

As the need only continues to increase, FamilyForward seeks to welcome more people and organizations to join our ongoing mission.

FF 20th anniversary display AHML 1.jpg
FF 20th anniversary display AHML 2.jpg

We enjoyed showcasing some of our history in the FamilyForward 20th anniversary display at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library throughout the month of March 2023. 


Together, we are inspiring hope and changing lives.



Affordable Housing ideas planted with the Arlington Heights Ministerial Association by Interfaith Open Communities.


First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights provides FCH with office space.

MARCH 2004

FCH receives its first grant, from Wheeling Township.


FCH hires a part-time executive director, Charles Warner, who served in the role through 2021.

JUNE 2015

St. Viator High School, Arlington Heights, selects FCH as a site for student interns.

MAY 2018

Sarah Harte joins FCH as the new program manager.


FF hires its next executive director, Erica Chianelli.

MARCH 2002

Arlington Heights Ministerial Association agrees to address local housing needs.

APRIL 2003

First mentors are trained.

JULY 2004

FCH gains 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service.

MAY 2012

Viatorian Community provides $7,500 grant to start a microloan program to assist FCH families with outstanding debt.


FCH receives “Non-Profit Organization of the Year” award from the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce.


FCH recognized as “Co-Community Organization of the Year” by the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce.


FF Advisory Board established.


Arlington Heights churches begin financial support of Faith Community Homes (FCH), now known as FamilyForward.

MAY 2003

FCH accepts its first family, an event recognized as the official launch of FCH.


Sisters of the Living Word provides initial financial support for Sister Carrie Miller to become the first staff member of FCH. Sister Carrie served as program manager until June 2018.


FCH begins working in Palatine at the invitation of several churches and the Township of Palatine.

MAY 2016

FCH opens a second office, in Palatine, with the donation of office space from a local business.

2019 - 2022

Beginning in 2019, FCH expands to serve families from Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Wheeling.


Watch this space for more history in the making!


Established Board of Directors and Executive Committee led by the Rev. David Russell and including Carrie Miller, SLW.

JULY 2003

FCH becomes incorporated in Illinois.

MAY 2005

First families graduate from the program.


FCH hires two part-time case managers, Pam Van De Walle (still serving) and Tom Tucker (served through 2019), to assist a larger number of families.

2016 - 2019

FCH partners with First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights to involve FCH families in a weekly Family Night, with food, fellowship and educational opportunities.

JULY 2021

Faith Community Homes officially rebrands as FamilyForward (FF) to: (1) better convey its purpose and mission; (2) be more recognizable to those serving and being served; and (3) welcome more people and organizations to join the ongoing mission.

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