Neighborhood Parents Network connects a diverse community of families with the resources they need to navigate parenting in the city. Expectant, new, and seasoned parents come to NPN to find what they need to tackle the everyday challenges of being a parent. Whether on-line or in-person, NPN makes it easy to find support, must-have information, and amazing city events. Connecting Chicago parents for more than 30 years! NPN is here for you - find your connections in your own neighborhood and with similar interests.
Mission: Connecting a diverse community of families with the resources they need to navigate parenting in the city.
We achieve our mission by providing Chicago families with:
- Parent-to-parent interactions such as social and support groups and active discussion forums;
- Parent education opportunities such as the Parent to Parent Newsletter and Parent University Speaker Series); and
- School choice resources such as the annual school fair and online school directory.
Here are some of quick facts about us to get you started:
- 501(c)3 Illinois non-profit founded in 1980
- 6,000 active family members - and growing!
- 400+ school, business, and non-profit members
- More than 30 events per month for parents living all over Chicago
- More than 25 groups to meet each family's special interests and/or location in the city
- 87% of members have children age 5 and younger
- Approximately 22.000 unique visitors/month
- Approximately 800,000 page views/month
- Dynamic discussion forum draws 350 posts and 16,000 page views per day
Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN), formerly the Northside Parents Network, is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1980 that has now grown to more than 6.400 family, business, nonprofit and school members. NPN provides social and support groups, popular online discussion forums, parent education opportunities (including a quarterly newsletter and a speaker series), and valuable resources (including an informational directory and our popular annual School Fair) to help parents navigate Chicago’s public, private and parochial schools.
NPN is managed by a full-time executive director and a team of part-time staff members. Our Staff team is made up of an amazing group of women who wanted to go back to work on a part-time flexible basis - the search for the nirvana of work-life balance. Their expertise included program development, advertising, event management, accounting, programming, and more!
NPN strives to uphold its mission by supporting a number of programs and resources all aimed at educating and connecting parents to one another and facilitating communication among our community.
Our most popular initiatives revolve around school choice in Chicago – a daunting topic for many parents. Our annual Preschool and Elementary School Fair brings together nearly 1,000 members with school and business representatives and provides a forum for sharing information about the vast number of educational options available for Chicago families. Along these lines, our Elementary and Preschool Directories, online and printed, provide vital information used by parents in their school selection process. While these directories are still available in print, we believe the online school directory provides broader access to up-to-date information.
Parent-to-parent interaction is the #1 goal of NPN. Our popular Discussion Forum provide a place where members can talk about everything from childcare to the weekend’s hot activity - 24 hours a day/7days a week. Our Forum draw 250 posts and 6,000 page views per day.
One of our core programs, since our founding is the New Moms Groups - an opportunity for new moms to meet in a volunteer's home and form new friendships and a support network. Our recently added Expectant Parents program provides soon-to-be parents with opportunities to learn from experts and network with other mommy and daddy-to-be's. We work with volunteers to support Neighborhood Groups and Social Groups such as Adoption, Moms of Multiples, Same Sex Parents and Working Moms.
NPN supports several initiatives aimed at educating parents. We publish a quarterly news magazine, Parent to Parent, providing informative articles written by experienced parents for parents. We provide a Parent University Speaker Series featuring pertinent parenting topics such as financial planning, greener parenting, and getting organized. All of our speaker topics for Parent University and other programs are selected based on the topics our members care about and discuss online.
Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago (NPN), formerly the Northside Parents Network, was established in 1980 as a Chicago nonprofit organization. Our founders, a small group of pioneer parents, decided to raise their children in urban Chicago and realized this wouldn’t be possible without a strong network of support in the big city. The group remained fairly small and concentrated on the Chicago North Side for a number of years. NPN organized playgroups, babysitting co-ops, Moms-Morning-Out programs and other family gatherings. We began publishing a newsletter to share parenting tips and community information. And we organized school fairs and other parenting resources. Our marketing effort was solely word of mouth communication.
As technology advanced, it became easier to grow the network. In 2003, we established our current website. Since that time, we have seen membership grow exponentially. Our membership now includes approximately 5,800 parents. While membership remains concentrated on the North Side, NPN now reaches Chicago’s northwest, west, south and southwest neighborhoods and the near suburbs.
In response to our growth, in 2008 NPN hired its first full-time executive director and began reorganizing staff and reshaping the organization to better meet the needs of our rapidly expanding membership and growing sources of competition. We now have 12 part-time staff members, approximately 3 FTE’s, and a visible office location at Flourish Studios. We have expanded our educational programming, fine-tuned our school fairs, and clarified standards and goals for our support and social groups. We initiated a more organized Annual Appeal fundraising campaign -- raising over $7,000 in 2009 -- and held our first annual large-scale fundraising event – the Wake Up and Boogie Down family festival -- bringing in $4,400 profit.
While some of our achievements are tangible, our greatest achievements are those that are harder to measure. We believe we have helped thousands of parents navigate the confusing, complicated, overwhelming, and sometimes downright scary path of parenthood. Since its launch, we have seen an explosion in the number of parents accessing our Online Discussion Boards, demonstrating parents’ need for communicating with one another. Our school fair continues to draw a growing number of attendees and exhibitors, illustrating parents’ strong desire to make informed school choice decisions. We continue to support nearly 4,500 member and consistent monthly rates of new member acquisition and membership renewals.
We feel that NPN has a clear focus, and a unique, but much yearned-for, purpose. We hope that we can continue to provide meaningful ways for parents to connect, share information, and successfully survive parenthood in the city.