In 1983, our founder, Ellen Kogstad Thompson, noticed an issue in her neighborhood—young moms lacking the support of their communities.  She purchased diapers and formula and began distributing them from the trunk of her car.

Over 35 years later, New Moms has expanded to support young families throughout Chicagoland with our Housing, Family Support, and Job Training programs. Our programs are designed by and with young moms’ goals in mind. In a 2005 study by the Center for Impact Research, youth experiencing homelessness identified their goals. They said:

  • 94.9% sought permanent housing
  • 75.1% sought job placement and 66% sought training for that job
  • 30.3% sought education/GED prep
  • 29.3% sought training and support with core life skills


Since New Moms’ inception in 1983, our innovation and efforts generated the following recognition and success:

  • 2019:
    • Completed a nine-month Executive Skills Implementation Case Study in partnership with Global Learning Partners and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. The case study and supplemental practitioner toolkit and video describe New Moms’ successful Executive Skills Approach and its expansion within and beyond our Job Training program.
    • Selected as one of 12 ventures to participate in the early childhood accelerator Promise Venture Studio’s inaugural Promising Ventures Fellowship in partnership with the Harvard Center on the Developing Child. The 12-week fellowship advanced New Moms’ technology initiative to support coaching and goal tracking practices with young families.
    • Opened New Moms’ Oak Park building! New Moms Oak Park includes 18 apartments for permanent supportive housing, program meeting space and offices, community education and event space, a playground, and a childcare facility.
  • 2018:
    • In our 35th year, we broke ground on a new building in Oak Park.
  • 2017:
    • Rebranded New Moms with a new logo, messaging, and branding – and our new website!
    • Selected to participate in the Harvard Center on the Developing Child Frontiers Innovation Model Workshop in Eugene, OR, in partnership with The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • 2016:
    • Acquired Oak Park agency Parenthesis Family Center. Parenthesis supported families in Oak Park, Forest Park, and River Forest for 37 years.
    • Invited by The Annie E. Casey Foundation to pilot Executive Skills-based services in our Job Training program. Read about the success of our Executive Skills pilot in this White Paper by MDRC.
    • Awarded a 5-year Social Innovation Fund contract through the social enterprise venture philanthropy, REDF, to join their nationwide portfolio of 22 high-performing employment social enterprises.
    • Bright Endeavors featured on ABC talk show “The Chew.”
  • 2015:
    • Added doula services to our programming, supporting pregnant youth.
    • Awarded a contract through the Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership, to increase our Workforce Development program service capacity and access the acclaimed WIOA support and training network.
  • 2014:
    • Received the All Chicago Service Excellence Award in recognition of outstanding service to participants in our Transformation Center Housing Program.
    • Visited by members of the U.S. Dept. HUD and members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, who were interested in effective service models for adolescent parents experiencing homelessness.
  • 2013:
    • Moved into the Transformation Center in the Austin neighborhood at 5317 W. Chicago Avenue — a brand-new facility with 30 studio and 10 one-bedroom apartments, offices, meeting spaces, a daycare facility, and a commercial kitchen.
  • 2012:
    • Mayor Emanuel announces Chicago’s 2.0 Plan to End Homelessness at New Moms’ new facility, still under construction. For the first time, Youth Homelessness is announced as a priority for Chicago!
    • Began construction on a brand-new “green” facility, which nearly doubled our service capacity, bringing all programs under one roof, and adding a licensed daycare to our services.
    • Honored by the Chicago Police Department’s CAPS Program for our work in helping to keep Chicago safe.
  • 2011:
    • Former Mayor Daley participated in groundbreaking ceremony for New Moms’ brand-new facility.
    • Academy of Professional Development recognized in Chicago’s Evaluation of its 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.
    • Awarded contract to hire Infant Mental Health Consultant, to train staff to enhance services around children with mental health concerns.
  • 2010:
    • New Moms’ vision of a social enterprise became reality when Bright Endeavors merged into New Moms’ programs.
    • Selected for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, to pilot a Transitional Jobs demonstration project for pregnant and parenting youth.
  • 2009:
    • Awarded $6.2 Million in Neighborhood Stabilization Funding toward construction of a new facility, which will double capacity for both our supportive housing and non-residential programs.
  • 2008:
    • Five participant Leadership Council Members were honored by the 14th District Police Commander and Alderman Colon (of the 35th Ward) for their volunteer work with a Domestic Violence Project.
  • 2004:
    • Received an award from the IL Dept. of Human Services to expand our Supportive Housing Program and enhance our Workforce Development Program.
  • 2003:
    • Opened Chicago’s first Bright Space. This play space in our supportive housing facility is part of a national initiative between Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and local homeless service providers.
  • 2000:
    • Featured in a manual/video package highlighting model human service programs in the U.S.
  • 1998:
    • Selected by Crown Financial as a national pilot site for career aptitude assessment materials.
  • 1996:
    • Chosen by the Ounce of Prevention Fund to create a pilot human service program for pregnant/parenting teens—our Academy of Professional Development.
  • 1992:
    • Chosen as the shelter program model used by the Illinois Dept. of Child & Family Services.



New Moms (Chicago)
5317 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651




New Moms (Western Suburbs)
206 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

New Moms is the proud winner of the 2020 Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence!

2022 Platinum Seal of Transparency

Charity Navigator 4 Star Charity