Margaret’s Village was founded as The Institute of Women Today (IWT) in 1974 by Sister Margaret Ellen Traxler, SSND, and an interfaith group of women to provide an authoritative voice on issues affecting women and to provide training for women who were incarcerated. From that initial focus evolved a concern for the well-being of all women, families and the broader community. Over the first 40 years of its history, Margaret’s Village’s role has expanded to serving homeless women, children, and families, along with senior citizens.
In 1989, IWT opened Maria Shelter, a 50-bed transitional residence, and the Vincennes Senior Center, both located in the Englewood community on Chicago’s South Side. At the request of the City of Chicago in 2012, Margaret’s Village assumed operation of a second 50-bed shelter located in the South Chicago community and named Believe. In 2016, The Institute of Women Today was renamed Margaret’s Village in honor of the enduring legacy of Sister Margaret Ellen Traxler. Today Margaret’s Village provides much-needed services and resources for more than 500 Chicagoans each year.