Dr. Iona Rollin Whipper (1872-1953), whose home and office was at 511 Florida Avenue NW, assisted girls through their pregnancies and afterwards with infant health care. She soon enlisted seven women friends among her AME St. Luke’s Church members and together they began to raise money for a home that would shelter unwed pregnant girls.
By 1931, the group purchased 3½ acres in Northeast Washington. This location became the first Ionia R. Whipper Home for Unwed Mothers. Notably for that time, the home was open to all, regardless of race or religion. For the next four decades it was the only maternity home for young Black women in the Washington, DC, area. The home currently serves at-risk girls between 12 and 21.