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Our Mission

The Northwest Center seeks to promote the dignity of women and a respect for all human life. We seek to accomplish this goal by offering the loving support and comprehensive aid necessary to enable all women to continue their pregnancies, deliver healthy babies, and adequately care for themselves and their children.

Our Story

"I'd like to thank you for all your kindness, patience, and for everything you all have helped me and my family with."

- Pregnancy Center client

In 1981, when a group of Georgetown University students and alumni first realized the need for pro-life resources for women facing unplanned pregnancies, they founded a pregnancy center, The Northwest Center, in the basement of St. Stephen the Martyr, a church in the Georgetown neighborhood. What began as a small group providing free pregnancy tests, quickly expanded and they moved locations to an office on 14th Street NW to accommodate the growing program. The founding Board of Directors saw that young women needed more than just the initial support to choose life. They grew the program in order to provide ongoing services including material assistance and referrals for medical care for mothers and their babies. 

By 1993, twelve years after its founding, The Northwest Center (NWC) had already served thousands of women and babies through its pregnancy center, but the Board was quickly realizing there was a critical need for housing for pregnant women in Washington, DC. Too many women who came to NWC for assistance confided that they felt they had to abort their child or lose their current housing. Determined to provide comprehensive assistance to these women, the staff began to look at what housing options were available for their pregnant clients. 

The Board found a rental property near Catholic University of America's campus, where NWC could provide transitional housing for pregnant mothers and their babies, born and unborn. For four years, NWC housed women in that property, but their staff remained at the pregnancy center across the city. Residents of the maternity home had to cross the city by bus in order to attend their counseling appointments and receive the diapers and baby clothing provided by the pregnancy center, located by then on T Street NW. In 1996, NWC's Board decided it was time to find a new property that could house both the pregnancy center and maternity home. 

The Northwest Center’s Board purchased a rowhouse in Adams Morgan and, after a complete overhaul, in 1997 NWC began to operate both the pregnancy center and maternity home out of 2702 Ontario Rd NW, where it remains to this day. Pregnancy center clients use the basement to meet with staff and material donations are stored there, waiting to be distributed to moms and families with children. Upstairs, the maternity home houses up to 4 mothers at a time along with a live-in resident manager. A spare bedroom remains available for young women who are being forced out of their housing with no notice due to their pregnancies.

The Northwest Center has become a fixture in the Adams Morgan neighborhood and has formed partnerships with other social service organizations in the area, creating a strong network of support for its clients. The residents in the maternity home have a safe and stable living environment while also having the benefit of trained social workers on staff to assist them in achieving their long-term goals for themselves and their families. Since the Adams Morgan house has opened, more than 181 women and children have lived in the maternity home. 

Despite the changes in services and locations over the years, The Northwest Center has never strayed from the founders' original mission: to promote the dignity of women and a respect for all human life by offering the loving support and comprehensive aid necessary to enable all women to continue their pregnancies, deliver healthy babies, and adequately care for themselves and their children. 

Since 1981, The Northwest Center has served more than 60,840 individuals in the Washington, DC area, providing support, material assistance (the pregnancy center distributed more than 48,000 diapers in 2022!), and connecting pregnant woman and families with infants to critical resources. Beyond providing the support to empower each woman to choose life for her unborn child, the pregnancy center strives to accompany each mother and her child throughout her pregnancy and beyond to ensure that her family can flourish. In 2022, our pregnancy center provided 689 mothers, fathers, and children with services such as counseling and material assistance, as well as connected them to prenatal care, medical and legal services, educational opportunities, job training and child care. In addition, in 2022, our maternity home provided housing and comprehensive assistance to 4 women and 4 babies.

Today, The Northwest Center is recognized as a valuable part of the social services community of the nation’s capital, and receives referrals from public and private agencies throughout the city. NWC has been heralded by Philanthropy magazine as one of 14 “highly effective agencies” in the nation, and Celebrate Life magazine claimed it was “a bastion of hope in the nation’s capital”. NWC received the White House’s “Volunteer Services Award” presented by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, the Corporation for National and Community Services, and the USA Freedom Corps. It was also selected from among programs nationwide to receive the “Intensive Care of Our Neighbor Award” from St. Joseph’s Health Care System.


View our 2022 NWC Community Impact Report. 

Read our 40 Year Report.