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History

St. Ann's Center Playground

A Tradition of Caring

St. Ann’s has served the Washington DC area’s most vulnerable children, youth and families since 1860. Throughout our history, St. Ann’s has adapted and reshaped our housing and support programs to ensure that we were meeting the ever-changing needs of local families.

1860 – Arrival of the Daughters of Charity to Washington D.C.

In April 1860, three Daughters of Charity, a Catholic community of women dedicated to helping the poor, embarked on a mission to establish Washington D.C's first foundling home for orphaned, abused and neglected children. One year later – as the United States Civil War left countless women widowed and children orphaned – St. Ann's initiated its first education and job-training program to prepare single mothers to become family breadwinners.

1863 – Incorporation of St. Ann’s Infant Asylum

On March 3, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress to incorporate St. Ann's Infant Asylum, as it was then called. Washington was a city at war, overrun by soldiers and uprooted civilians. St. Ann’s Infant Asylum was charged with caring for the city’s growing number of abandoned children and unwed mothers of all races and religions, many of whom had no place else to turn.

1929 – Founding of The Community Chest

St. Ann’s became a founding member of Washington D.C.’s “Community Chest”, a fundraising organization created to facilitate partnership between local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Today it is known as the United Way of the National Capital Area and its benefactors continue to provide St. Ann’s invaluable financial support and volunteer hours.

Learn more about the United Way’s workplace giving campaign.

1949 – Opening of Day Care Center

In 1949, St. Ann's started providing affordable child care for working mothers with young children to further assist the DC community. This program continues today.

1953 – Formation of the Seton Guild

Named for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, foundress of the Daughters of Charity, the Seton Guild was established by local women volunteers in order to support St. Ann’s accredited high school and the mothers and children who benefit from St. Ann’s care.

1962 – Relocation to Hyattsville, Maryland

To meet the need for more residential space and expanded support services, St. Ann’s moved from Washington D.C. to a larger facility in Hyattsville, Maryland, which remains our home to this day.

1984 – Opening of Infant Child Care Center

Already operating an affordable child care center for toddlers and preschoolers, St. Ann’s expanded the program to care for infants in 1984. This was the first non-hospital based program authorized in the state of Maryland.

1996 – Opening of Faith House

In recognition of the growing need for affordable, supportive housing for impoverished single mothers in our community, St. Ann's opened Faith House, a transitional apartment facility built to help families make the transition to independent living.

2013 – Opening of Hope House

As the number of homeless families in our community continues to rise, St. Ann’s expanded its supportive and transitional housing program for vulnerable mothers and their children by opening Hope House.