The Demise of the Jane Addams Hull House Association: Internal or External Factors to Blame?

Case Solution

Anne Cohn Donnelly, Charlotte Snyder
Kellogg School of Management ()

In January 2012, the Jane Addams Hull House Association, one of Chicago’s oldest and largest social services and possibly the best known, announced that it could 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 Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and closed its doors for good. In the weeks that followed, more and more people wondered: What had happened to the board of directors? Was bankruptcy really inevitable? This case traces the organization’s last decade and allows students to take on the role of CEO Steve Saunders, who has led the board for the past two years. Students will examine the roles and responsibilities of effective agencies and determine how internal and external factors contributed to the demise of Hull House.

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