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Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Services

First Nonprofit Foundation awarded Heartland Alliance $100,000 to acquire a risk management information system. Heartland used resources within their operating budget for system customization and personnel for implementation.

The complexities of Heartland’s risk management system require compliance with government funders, regulatory agencies, accounting principles, contracts, a diverse insurance portfolio, healthcare information, claims litigation, safety, emergency preparedness response, business continuity and international operations in developing nations.

Heartland has developed a state-of-the-art enterprise risk management system that is networked throughout the organization from front line staff through management to the Board of Directors. It enables risk identification, mitigation and management of exposures. The organization has been able to contain significant risk by addressing it proactively. Insurance claims and litigation expenses have decreased accordingly. The current incident reporting system, which was purchased in 2007 with funding from First Nonprofit Foundation, is now inadequate for the growing volume and complexity of Heartland’s diverse industries and does not enable tracking of many important values.

Heartland’s direct service model is unique because it is so multi-faceted. It required a new comprehensive solution. There was no off-the-shelf system that met the breadth of Heartland’s
needs. The Origami system purchased with this funding has unlimited capacity for customization
and growth.

The system has been purchased and populated with basic infrastructure data. Heartland is now developing work flows and anticipates that it will be better able to assess decreases in claims and litigation expense in 2015.

The Origami system purchased with this grant will support Heartland Alliance’s holistic ownership approach of risk management for years to come. Staff resources for ongoing management of the system will be provided by their operating budget.



Mission Statement

Heartland Alliance advances the human rights and responds to the human needs of endangered populations—particularly the poor, the isolated and the displaced—through the provision of comprehensive and respectful services and the promotion of permanent solutions leading to a more just global society.

Organization history

In 1888, when Chicago became the Second City, Heartland Alliance was established to form a Travelers Aid organization. Newcomers moving to the city to look for work, particularly vulnerable youth and women, were able to visit Travelers Aid service centers around the city’s ports and rail stations to receive help with housing, employment and resettlement.

These efforts were expanded by the League for the Protection of Immigrants in 1908. The League advocated to ensure immigrant rights and worked to integrate immigrants into U.S. life, placing particular attention on legal protections for youth.

Over the next sixty years, both organizations worked steadily in Chicago to assist the poor and vulnerable whose lives were upended by two world wars and the Depression. They operated rooming houses, provided legal protections and helped with economic security and opportunity.

In 1967, these two organizations with parallel missions merged and formed Travelers Aid of Metropolitan Chicago. In the 1970s, the organization was one of the first partners of the U.S. government’s new refugee resettlement program and began working in healthcare with an initiative to provide medical and dental care to migrants.

The name Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights was formally adopted in 1995 to best reflect their growing portfolio of housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal protection services. Today, Heartland Alliance is the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest consisting of five entities plus one healthcare affiliate serving more than one million people per year.

"Finding funds for infrastructure support is very difficult. Most funders want to support direct services. First Nonprofit Foundation is the only grantor we know that is as interested in risk management as we are so we kept this in mind when we initiated this project. Their grant requirements were reasonable; staff was accessible, and the impact on Heartland Alliance will be enormous."

Who We’ve Helped

Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to fund many worthy projects. Read more about each project through our past success stories.
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