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The Power of Positive Momentum

As we enter 2024, FamilyForward is committed to finding new and inventive ways to address the mounting challenges our client families face.

Erica Chianelli, Executive Director of FamilyForward
Erica Chianelli, Executive Director of FamilyForward

After an exciting 2023, FamilyForward enters 2024 with the power of positive momentum and a renewed passion to serve low-income, working families in the northwest suburbs. Our year-long 20th anniversary celebration was truly inspiring. THANK YOU to all who have supported this journey, empowering us to fulfill our important mission.


In addition to our anniversary celebration, we achieved a number of other milestones in 2023: We served 133 family members through our programs. We implemented a new and innovative debt-reduction matching program. We celebrated the one-year anniversary of the creation of our FamilyForward Advisory Board (now up to 20 active members!). And, we hosted our most successful Giving Hope fundraising event ever (read all the details).


New milestones on the horizon

We plan to continue to reach new milestones in 2024. We are embarking on a strategic-planning process to review, reflect on, and re-evaluate the organization’s priorities toward fulfilling our mission. We are committed to finding new and inventive ways to address the mounting challenges our client families face.


Because the availability of affordable housing continues to be a major problem, we spearheaded the formation of a coalition of northwest suburban nonprofits, faith organizations, government entities and interested citizens around this issue. This group is committed to working together to advocate on the local and state levels to find affordable-housing opportunities to build stronger, safer and more vibrant communities. We are grateful to now have the expertise and partnership of Joining Forces for Affordable Housing to help guide us in this process. Evanston, Ill., based Joining Forces, a program of Connections for the Homeless, focuses on affordable-housing advocacy and serves more than 40 municipalities across northern Cook County.

Meeting clients — and supporters — where they are

Keeping the positive momentum going

The families in our program are dealing with a multitude of obstacles, with no easy solutions. We must stay vigilant, and relevant, and meet our clients where they are, especially during these ever-changing times. We are always looking for ways to build awareness of FamilyForward, to grow our reach and engage more donors, volunteers, partners and clients. We welcome the opportunity to speak at community meetings as well as social gatherings such as faith groups, book clubs, and more. Feel free to reach out to me, at, to explore how we can work together. I look forward to meeting new people and developing long-term relationships to help keep our positive momentum going and power our work for another 20 years.


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