Our History

The Cradles to Crayons story began in December 2000, during the Christmas vacation, when Lynn Margherio—a Boston-based business and public-policy consultant who had spent several years in Washington working with the Clinton administration—was visiting the homes of her brother and sister in Michigan.

One morning, she was helping a young niece get dressed. As she dug through a dresser drawer to find just the right outfit, she saw some tops and bottoms with price tags still on them. There was the never-worn green top—destined to remain folded forever in the drawer because it wasn’t pink—and a pair of size 2T pants that reflected her niece’s fashion sense (pink), but already were a size too small.

Later on that same trip, she stopped at her brother’s house, where she got involved with an arts-and-crafts project with another niece and nephew in their play room. But to get to the table with the glitter, stickers and markers, she had to step over piles of toy trucks, puzzles, and games, and navigate around a plastic kitchen set, an air hockey table, and a train table. (“It looks like our own personal Toys R Us,” she said to herself.) She also noted that despite the profusion of stuff, her niece and nephew tended to gravitate toward one or two favorite toys. The rest were more or less ignored. Later, she saw several unopened presents wind up on the top shelf of a closet.

An idea came to her: What if all of these like-new or never-used children’s things could find their way into the homes of other boys and girls—kids who really needed them?

In 2002, Cradles to Crayons officially launched in Boston under Margherio’s leadership and expanded to Philadelphia in 2006 with local support of local Philadelphian, Jennifer Case. With plans to expand from a two-site organization to a five-site organization, by 2018, Cradles to Crayons will be launching its Chicago location in 2016.