The Demise of the Jane Addams Hull House Association: Internal or External Factors to Blame?
In January 2012, the Jane Addams Hull House Association--one of Chicago's largest and oldest social service agencies and arguably its most iconic--announced that it might have to close in the spring due to financial difficulties. Just days later, the 122-year-old organization stunned the philanthropic world when it laid off its employees without notice, declared its intention to liquidate in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and shut its doors forever. In the weeks that followed, more and more people began to ask: What had happened to the board? Had bankruptcy really been inevitable? This case chronicles the organization's final decade and enables students to step into the shoes of the chairman of the board, Steve Saunders, as he led the board through its last two years. Students will examine the roles and responsibilities of effective boards and determine how internal and external factors contributed to Hull House's demise.