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FamilyForward helps families reach financial and career goals and gain skills to rise above poverty.

Formed in 2003, FamilyForward (formerly known as Faith Community Homes) partners with faith organizations, governmental entities, businesses and individuals to serve and empower low-income, working families in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, including those who reside and/or work in Arlington Heights, Palatine and surrounding areas. 

Mother and Child

Who We Help

Low-income, working parents often face incredible obstacles as they struggle to provide for their families and live their best lives. FamilyForward is there for them — providing the financial fortification (rent support) and other help they urgently need to be able to focus on improving their life circumstances. We partner with parents to boost their personal and financial confidence and strength. With each step forward, participants gain renewed hope, as they work to fulfill their dreams for a brighter future. To date, 85% of families served have been able to meet their expenses, pay bills on time, reduce debts or increase their incomes by the time they complete the program.

Work Desk

How We Help

In addition to financial support for apartment rental, we provide targeted coaching from professional case managers and trained volunteer mentors; strategies to fund tuition costs and other skills training to enable parents to qualify for better, higher paying jobs; and other support services. By working toward defined goals, program participants move from underemployment to better jobs and successful careers. Parents are able to build stable, secure households for their families.


Our tagline is Mentor. Empower. Thrive. This action statement succinctly conveys both the heart of the work we do and the remarkable progress of families who complete our two-year program. You can help by volunteering your time, donating goods, becoming a mentor, or participating as an individual or corporate financial supporter. 

FamilyForward mobilizes the community to provide help and hope for families across the northwest suburbs. 

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.

We equip parents to build stable households for happy families. 

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.


Stop by, call,

or mail a check.

See our contact info below!

Donate online by credit card. You can even set up recurring donations.

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