The Honorable William D. Stiehl Sr., District Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, established The Fund in a judgment against the bond firm Matthews & Wright who was found guilty of fraud. 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.
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 Illinois. The Fund’s reach was expanded to neighboring Brooklyn, Illinois when the Fund received a settlement from another case with funds restricted to benefit residents of Brooklyn, Illinois. With the additional geographic area served by the nonprofit organization, Judge Stiehl changed the organizational name to the Greater East St. Louis
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 it can be used as a catalyst that can create a broad, sustainable impact on the residents of these communities.