College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > School of Public Service > Faculty > Finola Brennan

Finola Brennan

Helping our neighbors come “home" has been the driving theme of Dr. Nonie Brennan's career. In every role Dr. Brennan has held, she has brought a visionary, systems-change perspective and a grass-roots collaborative approach that drives efficiency, shares learning, aligns funding, and increases positive community outcomes.

From 1997 to 2002, Dr. Brennan served as the Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Battle Creek where she led programming to help volunteers meaningfully contribute to their community and brought the first 2-1-1 Call Center to the state of Michigan to help people in need navigate to community services. In 2003, Dr. Brennan became the Executive Director of the Emergency Fund, which she grew to become the largest provider of homelessness prevention funding in the state of Illinois. She co-launched Chicago's Homelessness Prevention Call Center and effectively navigated an organizational merger with the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness. In 2011, Dr. Brennan was selected as the Chief Executive Officer of All Chicago Making Homelessness History, where she served until her retirement in 2019. Under her guidance, All Chicago grew to become a national and internationally recognized leader in proven practices that prevent and end homelessness.

Notable achievements under Dr. Brennan's leadership include securing, distribution, and monitoring of over $70 million in public and private funding to prevent and end homelessness for Chicago's homeless system annually; and implementing Chicago's “Plan 2.0 – A Home for Everyone," in partnership with Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services. She has been instrumental in leading the systems change in Chicago over the last 15 years that has led to an overall decrease in homelessness by over 20%.

Dr. Brennan was elected to the King's University College Board of Directors in 2019, served on the National Public Housing Museum Board of Directors was appointed by Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Community Development Advisory Board and was appointed by Governor Engler to the Michigan Community Service Board. Dr. Brennan serves as a part-time faculty member at DePaul University, and as Collaborating Faculty and Senior Advisor to the Institute of Global Homelessness. She holds a Doctor of Management from Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, and M.S. in Public Service from DePaul University and a B.A. in English and History from King's University College at Western University. She has received recognition for her visionary leadership through a Special Tribute from Michigan's Governor John Engler and the Alumni of Distinction Award from King's University College in 2015. In 2017, she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Western University.

Dr. Brennan enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and life at her cottage in Bayfield, Ontario, with her husband Michael, her two community-minded daughters, Jocelyn and Andie, and her dog Edgar.