Alliance for Response NYC kicked off in 2004. By 2008 programming was focused on bringing members together through lectures and training sessions. During this time, AFR solidified its partnership with the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM). AFR was given a seat at the Emergency Operations Center, and OEM provided a number of training opportunities for AFR members. These developments prompted Lisa Kronthal Elkin (AFR Chair 2008-2011) to realize the need for a NYC cultural heritage response team to provide volunteer disaster response and recovery support to cultural institutions and organizations in the City.
In 2010, Elkin participated in a Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) program offered by the NYC OEM, and the concept solidified: to be successful, a cultural heritage response team would need to be trained within the context of the city in which it would operate.
In 2011, Elkin took the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Collections Emergency Response Training (AIC-CERT) and she, along with AFR chair (2011-2013) Becky Fifield, were able to better envision how the humanitarian and collections-based models could be merged.