1400 West Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60642



Mission and History

A Comprehensive Approach To Community Building

For more than 125 years Northwestern Settlement has nurtured, educated and inspired children and families in need in Chicago.

We disrupt generational poverty through a primary focus on children / young adults and the specific challenges they face at distinct stages of life.

Northwestern Settlement’s comprehensive approach to community building provides our neighbors:

Immediate assistance for short-term emergencies

Knowledge, opportunities and support to disrupt generational poverty

Access to a rich, city-wide network of additional programs and services

Our History

125+ Years of Service

Northwestern Settlement was founded in 1891 by leaders of Northwestern University, as a separate and financially-independent institution. At that time, the West Town community was primarily the home of disenfranchised German, Polish, Irish, and Scandinavian immigrants, and the neighborhood failed to register in Chicago’s collective conscience.

Inspired by the Settlement Movement, and led by Northwestern University President Henry Wade Rogers and his wife Emma, Northwestern University Settlement Association was founded. The original Settlement Movement model involved settling in a needy community and recruiting university faculty, staff, graduates, and volunteers to live and work at the house, gathering resources to empower community residents to change their own lives. Today, although our methods of service have changed, Northwestern Settlement continues to provide transformational opportunities.

For more on the history of the Settlement, check out our centennial book The Worn Doorstep as well as The Worn Doorstep Part Two: 1991-2016.

Our full archives can be found at the Northwestern University Library in Evanston, Illinois. Information about Chicago’s Settlement Movement can be found at Chicago Collections.