The Greater East St. Louis Community Fund evolved through a unique set of circumstances back in 1991.  Hon. William D. Stiehl established The Fund in a judgment against a criminal defendant found guilty of fraud. The Fund’s responsibilities grew to include Brooklyn, Illinois following a separate case involving a different defendant almost a decade later.

From its inception, The Fund’s assignment has been a simple one: Advance projects that enhance community improvement, education and vocational training, infrastructure, health care, and housing in East St. Louis and neighboring Brooklyn, Illinois. A court-appointed executive board invests and distributes The Fund’s money to work on the two communities’ behalves.

Hon. Donald G. Wilkerson currently serves as The Fund’s Judicial Supervisor, continuing in the tradition of Judge Stiehl, who retired in 2014. Close judicial oversight has been an integral part of The Fund’s more than 20 year success.

HISTORY:

With the successful prosection of the bond firm Matthews & Wright by the United States Attorney, Frederick J. Hess and Assistant United States Attorney Bruce E. Reppert, Judge Stiehl imposed a unique community service sentence of $7M to benefit the citizens of East St. Louis.  He established the East St. Louis Community Fund, a nonprofit, apolitical fund giving it the specific purpose to benefit the residents of the City of East St. Louis.

In 1997 the Fund received a settlement from another case; however these funds are restricted to the to benefit the residents of Brooklyn, Illinois.  Because of the additional geographic area served by the nonprofit organization, the Judge changed the organizational name to the Greater East St. Louis Community Fund.

The efforts of the Greater East St. Louis Community Fund center on two primary approaches: Collaborations and Partnerships – The Fund looks for projects which involve a broad base of community organizations working together to yield a comprehensive approach to benefit the residents of East St. Louis and Brooklyn.

In addition, the Fund has focused on projects in which the Fund can be used as a catalyst which can create a broad, sustainable impact on the residents of East St. Louis and Brooklyn.

Hon. Donald G. Wilkerson currently serves as The Fund’s Judicial Supervisor, continuing in the tradition of Judge Stiehl, who retired in 2014.


The initial Board of Directors appointed by Judge Stiehl was:
Louie E. Tiemann, former chairman of Boatmen’s Bank and now Board Member Emeritus
Johnetta R. Haley, former executive director of SIUE East St. Louis Center
Ronald A. Capek, then district manager of Illinois Bell
Robert L. Shannon, then East St. Louis football coach
John Dobbins, a retired postal inspector
Russell Hudlin, president of the East St. Louis Chamber of Commerce
Later Dr. Herschel L. Garrett, Jr. who is now Board Member Emeritus, was appointed to replace John Dobbins and Otis Cowan Jr. was appointed to replace Russell Hudlin.