Our History

European American Association, located in the West Town area of Chicago, IL, is a not-for-profit organization, established in 1991 and obtained a 501(c) (3) status the following year.

Mr. John Herman the Executive Director of European American Association (EAA), was born and raised in Romania. The challenges faced by him as a limited English speaking person in his new homeland, inspired a desire to ease the transition for other European Americans unfamiliar with their new country, and motivated him to start an organization to help them during this difficult period.

After a short time working as a not-for-profit, and seeing the need in this mixed cultural community, the purpose of EAA greatly broadened. We are serving various Chicagoland communities with our diverse, multi-lingual staff. EAA staff members speak English, Spanish, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian and many more. We are committed to serve community members from different backgrounds and cultures.

The direction of EAA is best described in its moto and mission statement and it’s best met by its planned program design which is to help those in need with their basic human requirement of food, shelter and work.

LIHEAP – With CEDA as a partner from the beginning, EAA has been able to help thousands of low income people pay their gas and electric bills.

Food Pantry – From almost the beginning and thanks to our memberships with organizations such as USDA, FEMA and Chicago Food Depository, EAA is able to defend against hunger in our community.

Community Development Program – Through our partnering with HUD EAA was able to help restore communities by breathing life into properties which were destined to be destroyed, create jobs, place homeless families in a safe environment and allow lower income individuals and families to realize the American dream of owning their own home. After a few years on hold due to the economy, EAA is now working with CHA offering clean affordable housing to low income families.

IDOA Community Care Program – In 1993, EAA became part of this program with 1 Homemaker and 1 Client. Today, it employs over 600 Homecare Aides and services over 1100 senior clients.

On February 7, 1991 John Herman opened European American Association with one volunteer at the front desk, no copy machine, no computers and everything was done by hand. Now it’s a functioning office taking up three floors of the building with a dedicated office staff, equipped with modern technology and well trained to serve the community.

“My dream was to help people in need and without the commitment and hard work of so many cherished volunteers and exceptional people who have added their strength to the foundation of this organization EAA could never have reached the level it now enjoys.” John Herman, Founder/Executive Director, Public Address for European American Association’s 20th Anniversary

“I was a volunteer for 6 years, Managing Director for 13 years and presently a consultant. My years at EAA were demanding, sometimes overwhelming and at times like a roller coaster: however, it was also the most exciting, educational and extraordinary experience of my life! I used every ounce of knowledge gained throughout my previous working years, and was given permission to stretch my creativity and imagination to its limits. Plus, I met some of the most wonderful people and I can honestly say there was not one second in all those years where I was bored.” – Marcella Wittinger, Retired- Managing Director