History of Lincoln

In 1883, Rebecca McWade, our founder, opened her home for what would become the first racially integrated orphanage in Northern California and began Lincoln’s legacy of responding to the needs of children and families. 

Today, we impact more than 4,600 children and families annually, and our track record is proven: kids attend school, learn to read and stay with their families where they do best. With Lincoln, they beat the odds, realizing their potential, and building successful academic, work and life skills. 

The Beginning

In 1883, Rebecca McWade, our founder, opened her home for what would become the first racially integrated orphanage in Northern California and began Lincoln’s legacy of responding to the needs of children, youth and families. Today, we reach more than 4,600 kids and families annually and our track record is proven: kids attend school, learn to read and stay with their families. With Lincoln, they beat the odds, realizing their potential, and build successful academic, work and life skills. 


An Oakland Pioneer

1883
Rebecca McWade calls together a group of neighborhood girls to create a sewing circle “to work for poor children.” They are called “The Little Workers of East and West Oakland.”

1885
Mrs. McWade makes history by incorporating the Little Workers Home, as it was known, and accepting infants and children. It is the first integrated orphanage in Northern California.

1888
The Little Workers becomes the West Oakland Home. The Crocker family donates funds to help purchase a large house on Campbell Street in West Oakland for use as a foundling home and orphanage.

1888
The first dues are collected making the West Oakland Home a membership agency.

1890
The West Oakland Home is serving eighty to ninety children, and the Crocker family steps in again to help build a larger home.

1916
Property is purchased in Crow Canyon for a summer camp where 50 children live the first summer. The camp runs until 1929.

1918
The orphans, known as Little Workers, number 103. The endowment grows to $8,525.

1919
The West Oakland Home is greatly impacted by the influenza epidemic, with the remains of the deceased going to rest at Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery.

1920's
Lincoln becomes a charter member of the United Way's Community Chest Fund.

1925
The West Oakland Home catches fire and is condemned.

1928
With the help of Mary Crocker and the Bushell families, more than 7 acres of property is purchased on Lincoln Avenue for $25,292.50.

1929
A group of women form the Junior Alliance and open its first Thrift Shop, launching an 87-year legacy of providing support and raising funds for the needs of Lincoln. 


The Move to Lincoln Avenue

1930
Children move into the two newly completed cottages at 4368 Lincoln Avenue. Twelve women volunteer to help with gardening on the new grounds “in the country,” and the first of many Junior Alliance Flower Groups in support of Lincoln are born.

1934
The Junior Alliance holds its first annual fashion show in support of Lincoln’s building fund.

1935
The Junior Alliance administration building is completed.

1939
Mrs. George P. Edoff leaves what will be a $300,000 bequest to Lincoln, establishing the James P. Edoff Memorial Fund.

1940-1950
The name is changed to the Lincoln Home for Children. The term "emotionally disturbed" is first used and reflects the philosophical change in the population served. Trained social workers are hired, Lincoln is re-organized as a foster care agency, and case management becomes an integral part of the services provided to children.


Lincoln Child Center is Born

1950-1960
Lincoln Home for Children changes its name to Lincoln Child Center, and opens another residential facility, the Bushell Cottage.

1954
Clayton Nordstrom and Lincoln executive director James Mann plan a three-day conference to address the Child Welfare League of America’s new report that "12 percent of Oakland schoolchildren need special treatment for special problems." Lincoln responds by opening its first classroom.

1956
Lincoln's members open the Bee Hive Thrift, which quickly becomes an Oakland landmark.

1965
Lincoln's first group home is created.

1966
Lincoln receives 35% of its funding from the Montgomery Ward's United Bay Area Crusade Donations.

1966
Lincoln Child Center offers tutoring workshops to bring troubled youth in Oakland public schools up to grade-level proficiency.


Continuing Dedication to Oakland Children and Families

1970
Lincoln opens its second group home.

1973
The Junior Alliance publishes The Best Parties Ever cookbook, gaining international attention.
 

1974
The 50-Year Member Tea is held to honor eight Lincoln members for their years of volunteer service and unprecedented dedication to Lincoln and its children.

1976
Lincoln opens its third group home.
 

1977
The James Mann Award is established in honor of Lincoln's former charismatic and visionary leader. Recipients are recognized for their dedication to Lincoln and its children.

1979
Lincoln's Flower Groups sponsor the grand opening of Golden Gate Fields, raising funds for Lincoln Child Center.

1981
The Lincoln Foundation is formed, two years before the establishment of the Second Century Fund.

1987
Intensive Residential Treatment (IRT) opens, the Nonpublic School is opened and the Junior Alliance Building begins to be used for children's programming.

1990
The middle school is established.

1991
The Taste of Summer becomes Lincoln's signature fundraising event.

1995
The Holmgren House is built for IRT, Opportunity School Program begins, and the Bee Hive Thrift store closes its doors.

1997
Group homes are closed. Lincoln begins providing school-based mental health services, which was later renamed the Helping Open Pathways to Education (HOPE) program. 


Lincoln. Strengthening Families. Changing Lives.

2000
Champlin House residential facility is completed.

2001
Kinship Support Services are created as a response to the growing number of caregivers who voluntarily raise a relative's children.

2003
The Lincoln Child Center Foundation is dissolved and absorbed by the Lincoln Child Center.

2006
Therapeutic Behavioral Services program launches to provide short-term intensive supports to children in Lincoln’s foster care program to reduce hospitalization or placement changes. 

2007
Project Permanence is created as a program to respond to the increased need for community as well as family support.

2010
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and School Engagement are new programs created to respond to community need.

2010
Lincoln Child Center leases a large building in West Oakland and moves back to its roots.

2011
The Residential Treatment program is closed as services have transitioned to become family- and community-based.

2012
Lincoln launches Creating Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Youth (CEO Youth) to prepare foster and probation youth for strong futures. Oakland Freedom Schools, a summertime literacy development and cultural enrichment initiative, becomes a Lincoln program. Lincoln’s Family Resource Center is created at the New Highland/RISE elementary campus.

2013
Lincoln’s Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy program is launched to provide intensive in-home series to youth struggling with co-occurring mental health and substance use issues. Lincoln staff become certified in Mental Health First Aid and make the training available to the public.

2014
Lincoln moves its headquarters back to West Oakland and transitions its nonpublic school into school-based delivery of special education services through our the new EXCEL program. The West Oakland Initiative is created as a program to improve school attendance and decrease the summer achievement gap. Intensive Home-Based Services begins to create stability for foster youth. 

2015
Parenting with Love and Limits launched to respond to families in need of skills to restore healthy and strong relationships. Lincoln holds new signature event, ROOT, which raises a record amount in support of programs.  

2016
Rebranding launched with new logo, website, and new organization name changed from Lincoln Child Center to Lincoln!