History

MomsBloom officially launched in February 2008 when it obtained tax-exempt status. It was developed in response to the expressed need for increased social and emotional supports for parents of newborns in Kent County.

Co-founders Sara Binkley-Tow and Angie Walters met at a local MOMS Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan when their first-born children were just a few months old. They quickly became good friends and had many discussions around the lack of social supports for new moms. After a couple years of research locally and across the country for information that addressed this issue, Sara and Angie came across an article in “Mothering” magazine about the Many Mothers program in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the same time, Alice Christensen, came across the same article and contacted the Executive Director of Many Mothers and asked how a program like theirs could be started in the Grand Rapids area.

The executive director connected the three women to each other. They discussed their personal experiences (as parent educators, postpartum doulas and lactation specialists) and their experiences with other mothers in the community. The women confirmed the need for a program like Many Mothers in Kent County. These three women became the founding board members of MomsBloom.

Timeline

2006: Sara Binkley-Tow, Angie Walters and Alice Christensen begin discussions and take steps to develop MomsBloom
2007: Compelled by the grassroots mission of MomsBloom, In lieu of Christmas gifts, a local family raises $800 to help launch MomsBloom
2007: Families began being served after the first volunteer training was conducted in Sara’s home. The first group was recruited through family and friends that heard about the creation of MomsBloom.
2008: MomsBloom awarded generous start-up grants from Dyer-Ives, Steelcase and Frey Foundations
2008: The first 35 Kent County families supported
2010: First staff members hired to address the rising need for services.
2014: MomsBloom builds its capacity up to serve 200 families a year.
2015: Lansing is the first city outside of Kent County planning to adopt the Flourishing Families program.
2017: As co-founders move on, a team of dedicated MomsBloom board members and volunteers step up to fulfill program roles and continue serving families.
2019: MomsBloom hires Executive Director Carrie Kolehouse to lead its growing volunteer team.