Whitney Trowbridge, Robyn Thompson, and Michelle Byrd are master networkers. In one year they have taken a mother support group and transformed it into a thriving nonprofit organization with popular fundraising events and a Facebook page boasting over 7,000 likes. The three friends began volunteering together and raising money for another nonprofit organization, but they decided that not enough of that money was being funneled into the local economy. In January of 2012, they decided to form The Mommy Nest to provide a forum and support network for Louisville moms and to raise money for local charities along the way.
The best introduction to the Mommy Nest is through their website, themommynest.com. There you’ll find a forum where you can ask parenting questions or arrange to meet up with other mothers for play dates. According to Thompson, director of marketing, every person on the forum must apply to join so the directors can run sexual predator background checks. Once you join the forum, you can ask any question, as long as you are respectful.
“We’re all moms,” said Thompson. “We do what’s right for our families.”
For example, if you answer a question about breastfeeding, be sure not to offend mothers who use formula. All moms are welcome at The Mommy Nest, no matter their personal child-rearing preferences.
In addition to the forum, The Mommy Nest website offers the Nest Egg Discount Directory, which provides local deals and coupons; the View of Lou, lists of local events and family programs; and a blog and newsletter, which include reviews, contests, crafts, and recipes. This site is the hub for busy parents to find that great date night idea, a coupon to the Kentucky Railway Museum, or a list of summer camps. Many groups around town offer event and camp listings, but The Mommy Nest puts their own spin on these features. Rather than a comprehensive list of every camp in town, a volunteer resource coordinator has highlighted 10 great camps around town. A booklet of camps is overwhelming, but even busy moms can find the time to read a list of 10.
Once you’re familiar with The Mommy Nest website and have signed up for their free monthly e-newsletter, fly over to their popular Facebook page. Here you can find out about their contests and events.
“It’s expensive to go to The Kentucky Center for the [Performing] Arts to see ‘West Side Story,’ so we try to give opportunities to parents who want to have a date night,” said Thompson.
The events that The Mommy Nest sponsors are fundraisers for local charities. Each quarter the group chooses a different charity and 100 percent of all admission fees go directly to that charity. On May 18, the organization held a Pirate and Princess Dance Party at Mike Linnig’s Restaurant to benefit the Crusade for Children. Other events you can look forward to are the Christmas in July indoor carnival, the Annual Trunk or Treat Halloween festival, the Turkey Trot holiday fair, and the Spring Fling. This year the group has decided to raise more of their own money for their Christmas Care Package Donation. Last year the program helped 85 families – a total of 452 people – who could not afford Christmas presents for their families. According to Thompson, The Mommy Nest wants this program to be their big yearly campaign.
If you decide to attend one or all of The Mommy Nest events, expect everything to be family friendly.
“Moms can’t have any fun if the kids are bored,” said Thompson.
Events are either free or have a minimal admission price and may feature a balloon artist, raffles, costume contests, story times, and local vendors.
All three organizers are moms and either work full-time or are planning to return to full-time employment. As a parent, I wondered how they could create a support group with so many activities and so many involved mothers, as well as how they found so many sponsors to fund giveaways and donate contest prizes. Thompson said they rely on Trowbridge’s organization, Byrd’s social media and computer expertise, and the support of their volunteers and husbands.
“We don’t sleep very often,” said Thompson with a laugh. “It’s a passion for all three of us. We want to provide great family fun. We want to provide resources. And we want to provide opportunities.”
Just as The Mommy Nest grows locally, the group is receiving national attention. They have been contacted by national blogs and companies for blog reviews and giveaways.
“We would love to have an office for play dates,” said Thompson about their hopes for this burgeoning mom organization.
For a group that has attracted so much interest in only a year, it seems a street address for The Mommy Nest is just around the corner.
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