Young parents are not doomed to failure because they had a child at an early age.
Lillian S. Harris

Meet the Founder

Homeless. Alone. Abused. Disparaged.


Pregnant in her teens, Lillian Harris was incessantly plagued with repeated episodes of homelessness while in college. Her decision to pursue a college degree was made only after realizing that she had been born and raised in poverty; a realization she hadn’t made until months after becoming pregnant. Lillian aspired to provide her child with a better quality of life than she had growing up, and determined that earning a college degree was the way to accomplish that goal. She didn’t realize how much of a challenge it would be to change the trajectory of her life.

Despite the many adversities she faced, Lillian earned her Bachelor’s of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and her Administrative Master’s degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration two years later. Her areas of concentration were management, program evaluation, and research. In May 2005, her inspiring story was featured on CBS local news (view transcript).

Lillian Harris is a socially conscious and philanthropic seasoned leader. Lillian has been championing the empowerment of youth and young parents since 1997. Harris has emerged from the ashes of an impoverished childhood, exposure to domestic violence, and teen motherhood as a consummate and relentless advocate. As a leader in the nonprofit industry, Lillian’s work has earned national accreditation for two Chicago area charities. Lillian is also the principal investigator of a University of Chicago Institutional Review Board approved qualitative study about homelessness among young mothers in Chicago. Lillian has received a host of awards including the national Outstanding Teen Parent Award from Healthy Teen Network in 2006 and becoming a global StartingBloc fellow in 2012. She is actively engaged in the community and is a member of multiple committees.

Lillian intends to make sweeping changes on behalf of families headed by young parents to address the issue of poverty nationwide.

Real estate is also one of Lillian’s passions.  She is a licensed realtor and has also earned construction management certification.

Lillian is excited about combining her passions for poverty reduction and real estate to create solutions that empower communities.