Since 1990, The Lilac Tree has been a safe haven and a resource
for individuals facing separation and divorce in Illinois.
We support, educate, and empower individuals to overcome obstacles and move towards a better future.
In 1990, two local women and a group of divorce professionals realized that women and their children, regardless of demographic, were especially vulnerable during and after a divorce. Many often lacked access to financial and legal knowledge, professional resources and emotional support. In response, they founded The Lilac Tree to offer necessary access to education, support, and resources whether they are contemplating divorce or have been divorced for many years.
In 2018 Lilac Tree Board of Directors and staff began a re-branding process and embraced the expansion of the Lilac Tree mission to place a greater emphasis on 1) educating and serving people who are under-resourced and lack access to legal and other professional services and 2) people regardless of their gender identity.
Today, The Lilac Tree serves over 2,000 separating and divorcing individuals per year. We help before, during or after the divorce through a variety of educational and support programs and services. Our passionate Staff, Board, Volunteers, Committees and Referral Panel members are dedicated to our cause and our mission — providing better futures for individuals and their families.
Our name has a deep metaphorical connection to our mission. One of our founders was a gardener and remembered an experience she had as a child while working with her father. They were digging up two lilac bushes that had been planted too closely together and, thus, were not blossoming well. Their roots were completely entwined together. Her father asked her, with her tiny hands, to slowly and gently untangle as many roots as possible so they could replant each bush in a different section of the garden with more space to give them a new opportunity to blossom again. A fresh start.
Those of you who are gardeners know it often takes two to three years to rejuvenate a plant or tree. After three years these “separated" lilac bushes were both blossoming and thriving as they never had before.
This is a metaphor for how we approach our mission. When a marriage or relationship, for whatever reason, comes to an end, it needs careful separation. Both parties need compassion (when possible), so that the two can begin new lives and eventually blossom and thrive again.