In 1983, our founder, Ellen Kogstad Thompson, noticed a growing problem in her neighborhood—teen moms with nowhere to call home, and no way to fund the expenses of their newborn children.  She purchased some diapers and formula, and began distributing them from the trunk of her car.

Over 30 years later, New Moms’ programming has developed as the result of organic growth, based on the evolving needs of these young families.

In a 2005 study by the Center for Impact Research, homeless youth were asked to identify their greatest needs, reporting:

  • 94.9% permanent housing
  • 75.1% job placement
  • 66% job training
  • 30.3% education/GED prep
  • 29.3% life skills training


Since New Moms’ 1983 inception, our reputation for achieving results has led to the following recognition:

  • 2018: In our 35th year, we reached another milestone by breaking ground on a new building in Oak Park to provide housing and support to families. The building will include 18 apartments for permanent supportive housing, and program space for community education, parenting support, and offices.
  • 2017: We wanted to do something big to celebrate the new fiscal year and the upcoming 35th anniversary of New Moms… and what better way than with a new logo and look, evidenced by our updated website!
  • 2017: Selected to participate in Harvard’s Frontiers Innovation Model Workshop, in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • 2016: Officially acquired Oak Park agency Parenthesis Family Center, in September. Parenthesis has provided comprehensive programs, workshops, support groups to families in Oak Park, Forest Park, and River Forest for 37 years. We are excited to have combined forces to expand our reach across and outside Chicago!
  • 2016: Approached by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, to deliver a pilot executive functioning skills curriculum.
  • 2016: awarded a 5-year Social Innovation Fund contract through REDF, to help grow our social enterprise.
  • 2016: Bright Endeavors featured on ABC talk show “The Chew.”
  • 2015: Added doula services to our programming, supporting pregnant youth.
  • 2015: 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 our outstanding service to participants in our Transformation Center Housing Program.
  • 2014: 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 homeless adolescent parents.
  • 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!
  • 2012: 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.
  • 2012: 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.
  • 2011: Academy of Professional Development recognized in Chicago’s Evaluation of its 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.
  • 2011: 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.
  • 2010: 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 welfare-to-work 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 welfare-to-work 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 (Oak Park)
206 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

New Moms is proud to be a member of REDF’s national portfolio.