The Lilac Tree History

Our History

In 1990, two women and a group of divorce professionals from the Chicago suburbs realized that all women and their children, regardless of demographic, were especially vulnerable during and after a divorce. Women often lacked access to financial and legal knowledge, professional resources and emotional support. In response, they founded The Lilac Tree to offer women the necessary access to education, support, and resources whether they were contemplating divorce or had been divorced for many years.

The name “Lilac Tree” 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.

After three years the “separated" lilac bushes were both blossoming and thriving as they never had before.

This is a metaphor for how we approach our mission for Illinois residents. When a marriage or relationship, for whatever reason, comes to an end, it needs careful separation. Both parties need compassion so that the two can begin new lives and eventually blossom and thrive again.