Melanie G. Anewishki (The Dreamer)
Featherfist was founded in 1984 by Executive Director, Melanie G. Anewishki, formally incorporated in 1990 as a 501©3, and received its first public funding in 1994. Featherfist serves homeless men, women and children and those “at risk” of becoming homeless throughout the City of Chicago.
Power and Purpose is what Melanie Anewishki is all about, as a person dedicated to empowering people in need, and as founder and leader of the largest homeless outreach agency in Chicago – Featherfist.
Melanie has a Doctorate in Education in Curriculum & Instruction & Educational Psychology from Loyola University and her experience in both the social service and education fields has brought her numerous awards and recognition for her achievement.
She is a trainer of Lay Ministers of Care and educates them on Suffering, Death & Dying, and is also Eucharistic Minister.Dr. Anewishki is a retired college professor, specializing in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Residential Childcare, Human Services and Curriculum and Instruction.
Melanie’s passion and focus has been to utilize her experience and education in developing The Featherfist Model of Social Services that successfully addresses the underlying causes of homelessness for individual Featherfist clients and the homeless population as a whole. The successes to date have brought additional recognition and funding from the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, HUD McKinney Funds, Veterans Administration Funds as well as Foundation(s) support.
Dr. Melanie G. Anewishki embodies the “Power and Purpose” of Featherfist.
Araina Brown (The Implementer)
Began her work in human services in the 1974 as owner-operator of the Loft, a youth center for adolescents and teenagers on the southwest side of Chicago providing social services and creative outlets for “latch key” children, for 14 years. The theatrical module of the Loft performed at UIC Pavilion, The Museum of Science and Industry and the, then, South Shore Country Club, to national acclaim. She further trained in family welfare at the Mary McDowell Family Services for 3 years, while helping sustain and manage Featherfist during its’ initial outreach phase and subsequent growth. She obtained her degree in Social Services at Kennedy-King College and Governor State University. Araina formally joined Featherfist in 1992 as the Chief Operating Officer. In 2005, she helped start and become President of the Featherfist Community Development Corporation, a Community Development Entity (CDE), that seeks and packages community projects that foster community stability and growth for its’ residents. Araina remains active in promoting Featherfist’s stature in the community and maintaining an exhaustive list of partners to help Featherfist clients after they leave our program.
Stacey S, Anewishki (The Enforcer)
A graduate of National Lois University, in 1985, Stacey taught elementary school for 8 years. In 1993, she joined her Mother, Melanie as the Chief Program Officer of Featherfist. Since 2005, Stacey has been the Chief Operating Officer and leads a team of 62 employees that serve over 2,000 participants annually. As Chief Operating Officer and staff leader, Stacey works side by side with her team helping the most vulnerable in our midst regain hope and stability as they begin their sojourn to retake and re-set the purpose of their lives. Thru the years, with her passion and compassion, Featherfist has helped thousands toward that end. Recently, when asked what is the future of the Featherfist Model of Services? She replied, “It is what it has always been, service to others in need”