During another year that once again can only be described as unprecedented, Bright Promises has grown in every part of our work. We have continued improving, expanding, and even launching brand new initiatives to answer the under-recognized and under-addressed needs of children and youth.
Bright Promises believes it takes an ecosystem of strong, sustainable and impactful community organizations working together to help kids thrive. This is why Bright Promises partners with community organizations across Chicagoland, providing them with the funding and capacity building support needed to better serve children and youth, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are so proud to work with some of the most innovative and impactful organizations in Chicagoland and to support programs that are changing the lives of thousands of children and families. Read on to learn about our impact last year...
We all want to rebuild children’s skills and knowledge from the past two years. But this is only possible by investing in the well-being of children and their parents and caregivers. For children and adults alike, social emotional learning (SEL) offers a powerful means to explore and express our emotions, build relationships, and support each other. Focusing on SEL during this time of recovery can help children develop essential skills that will support their wellbeing and success now and in the future.
Since 2016, Bright Promises has been investing in programs that empower parents and caregivers as they learn to be champions for social emotional learning in their homes, schools, and communities. Bright Promises investment in high-quality, effective SEL programming last year alone could generate a long-term return of up to $2.5 million when accounting for the improved mental and physical health, decreased juvenile crime, and increased lifetime earning among the children and youth we serve.
2020 - 2021 SEL@Home Partner Organizations:
Bright Promises is helping Logan Square Neighborhood Association to change the narrative and practices on parent leadership. The Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) Parent Mentor Program is a nationally recognized engagement model that builds deep and lasting relationships between students, teachers, and parents. Bright Promises has been partnering with LSNA since 2019 to embed social emotional learning into this program, so that Parent Mentors are equipped to support all aspects of children’s social emotional health and growth, at home and in the classroom.
This partnership has helped drive transformative parent engagement that is benefitting more than 25,000 children in youth in more than 200 schools across Illinois and the United States.
Childhood trauma is more than having one bad experience. It is an accumulation of experiences that lead to toxic stress which, if left unaddressed, harms children and prevents them from thriving now and in the future. Racism is an under-recognized and often invisible form of childhood trauma.
Bright Promises is investing in solutions that address youth trauma caused by racism. We are providing community organizations with the capital and support to develop, test, implement, evaluate, document, and disseminate strategies for addressing childhood trauma caused by racism. By building the capacity of organizations while also identifying and sharing best practices for addressing youth trauma caused by racism, we are working to drive systemic change.
Over the next six years, Bright Promises will invest more than $2 million in community organizations to help scale existing programs, create new programs, and broadly share best practices for addressing the trauma caused by racism. According to the 2016 study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation "Self-Healing Communities", this investment in trauma-informed care for BIPOC children and youth in Metro Chicago could yield up to $59.5 million in savings from the public services costs, lost tax revenue, and productivity loss that result when childhood trauma is left unaddressed.
2021 Healing, Leading, Changing Program Partners:
The Arab American Action Network Youth Organizing Project engages over 300 14 to 19-year-old youth of all genders, the majority of whom are Arab. Arab American Action Network is using Bright Promises support to build their capacity to help youth become empowered to support their healing from trauma caused by racism.
Bright Promises grant supports the expansion of the “Campaign to End Racial Profiling”. This project combats the racism and racial profiling that many Arab youth and their families experience at the hands of law enforcement. The campaign combines peer education, youth art, community outreach, and direct action.
“While our youth organizing staff has experience with healing work as part of political organizing, the emphasis on the connection between racism, racial profiling, and trauma is new as a result of our work with Bright Promises.”
- Arab American Action Network
The importance of early childhood education is clear: if a child is already at a disadvantage before kindergarten, they are much more likely to struggle throughout the rest of their life. Furthermore, researchers, experts, and policymakers all agree that we must invest in early childhood education to ensure a strong workforce, robust economy, and safe communities in the future. This is why Bright Promises created the Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) to support early childhood education agencies focused on improving the lives of economically vulnerable children in Cook County.
The social conditions fostered by COVID-19 have made access to high-quality early childhood education more important than ever before, requiring early childhood centers to respond to a shifting array of needs and offer services that encompass entire families. With the number of demands put on childcare centers, the ability to have resources earmarked for quality and capacity enhancement rather than "putting out fires" is essential. In 2021, through the Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP), Bright Promises partnered with 7 early childhood agencies across Metro Chicago to help address their quality and capacity improvement needs.
Examples of 2021 EQUIP quality-improvement programs included:
Even with increasing awareness about the importance of quality early childhood education, there are very few opportunities for early childhood education centers in Illinois to receive support specifically for quality and capacity improvement. An evaluation of EQUIP completed in 2021 confirmed that this program continues to be one of few sources of support available to early childhood centers specifically for quality improvements.
“Without this grant, we would be ill-equipped to face the demands that many children are presenting in the classroom, and we would have limited resources and information to pass along to families.”
- EQUIP Grantee
The SEL@Home Collaborative Action Project is a 2-year initiative to actively expand and disseminate social emotional learning best practices and principles so that more agencies can effectively provide these services, and more children and families can benefit. Through this effort, Bright Promises and our partner organizations are creating an online resource hub that will inform and guide parents and caregivers of children of different ages and abilities, as well as professionals in the field, on where to find current social emotional learning resources and programming.
This project will help to increase parents’ and caregivers’ access to mutual support networks and support the development of leadership capacity among parents and caregivers, with the greatest focus on investing in Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities that have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. The resource hub is expected to launch in Summer 2022.
In 2022, Bright Promises will welcome our second cohort of partner organizations to the Healing, Leading, Changing initiative. While each of our partner organizations engages the youth they serve and their community in different ways, every program we support is focused on these four research-based steps to help children and youth heal from racial trauma and promote resiliency:
The first cohort of organizations participating in the Healing, Leading, Changing initiative already excel at the first three steps to promote healing and resiliency from racial trauma: acknowledging racism, helping youth feel safe, and validating their feelings through their programs. Therefore, this first cohort is focused on step four: helping the youth they serve become empowered, expanding opportunities for self-advocacy, and engaging in activism to promote healing and resiliency. Future cohorts will include organizations focused on the first three steps in the healing process, such that all organizations participating in this initiative will learn and benefit from one another’s knowledge and experience.
Trauma caused by racism, if left unaddressed, can cause lifelong damage to the physical and mental health of young people. The good news - caring adults can help to build protective factors that mitigate and even reverse the impact of trauma caused by racism on children and youth. Gain understanding about how this issue impacts children and youth in our communities, and learn how you can help.
Featuring Expert Panelists:
Racism can cause significant and chronic traumatic stress in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) children and youth. Helping BIPOC youth to exercise their own agency and supporting youth to feel empowered to bring about equity are important and effective ways to both support healing from racism-based trauma and to give rise to the change we need as a society.
Featuring Expert Panelists:
At the Bright Promises 2021 Awards hosted last October, hundreds of people gathered in-person and virtually to celebrate the people and organizations who are making a real difference in the lives of Chicago children and youth.
In 2021, we were honored changemakers including:
Bright Promises thanks our 2021 Awards sponsors, especially our Presenting sponsors Azteca Foods Inc. and the David and Susan Kreisman Foundation. We would also like to offer special thanks to the 2021 Awards Co-Chairs Michelle Morales and Sarah Duncan, the members of the Host Committee, the many volunteers who helped make this celebration possible, the 2021 Awards Selection Committee for their time and thoughtful participation.
2021 Awards Selection Committee:
Thanks to our 150+ year legacy, Bright Promises has a longstanding fund that covers 100% of our operating costs, so that every dollar of every donation we receive goes directly to programs that help change the narrative for thousands of our city’s most vulnerable children and youth.
For every dollar spent on fundraising in 2021, Bright Promises invested $2.50 in programs for Chicago children and youth.
Every gift we receive, of every size, is an investment in a bright future for Chicago's children. Every gift makes a difference in the lives of children in need. We thank all our donors for their generous support.
All donors are listed alphabetically. To request a change in acknowledgment of your gift, please email Katherine at email@example.com or call 312-550-2775.
Ami and Will Allen
Anonymous, in honor of Caroline Gibbons
Peter and Lucy Ascoli
Scott and Emily Bishop
Paul and Peggy Bodine
Shirley Boton, in honor of Marilyn Eisenberg
Elizabeth Branch Dyson
Abramson Family Fund
Dee Dee Chesley
Leslie Ramyk Conforti
Mark and Joni Croll
Shelley Davis, in honor of Sarah Duncan
Tom and Victoria Eley
Rich and Carolyn Excell
Elizabeth and Henry Feldman,
in honor of Gaylord Gieseke
Bob and Barbara Finley
The Foster Walsh Family
Gaylord and William Gieseke
Linda Gilkerson and Don Lamb
Ginger and Hollis Griffin
Edward Hamburg and Stacey Poland Hamburg
Brian Hanson and Karen Alter-Hanson
Susan Irion, in honor of Gaylord Gieseke
Nancy Juda and Jens Brasch
Loretta and Allan Kaplan
Norman Livingston Kerr
Vickie and Irv Korey, in honor of Ethan Korey
Josef and Margot Lakonishok
Anna L. Langhans
John and Jill Levi
Hoy and Patricia McConnell, in honor of Gaylord Gieseke
Xavier McElrath-Bey, in memory of Pedro Martinez
Heidi Nast, in honor of Meade Palidofsky
Eric and Moira Neild
Helene and Aaron Paris
S. Neil Peck
Jill and Grant Peters
Chris and Nancy Poinsatte
Janice Promer, in honor of Nancy Snyder
Diana and Bruce Rauner
Sendhil Revuluri and Venu Gupta
Jay and Bari Rosenbloom
Philip and Cynthia Rudoplh, in honor of Nancy Snyder
M. Steven Sager
Chris Schenk and Karen Seaman
Laurie and Jim Shults, in honor of Christa Bolt
Louise K. Smith, in honor of Nancy Snyder
Nancy Nolden Snyder
Whitman Soule and Julie Coplon
Susan B. Stern
Dr. Bradley Stolbach
Kimberly Van Horn
Shirley and Donald Wehr
Michael and Sandra Weiskirch
Nikki Will Stein
Jon Will and Ada Mary Gugenheim
Nannette and Jim Zander
Dr. & Mrs Charles Zugerman, in honor of Rodger and Janet Owen
Paul M. Angell Foundation
Christopher Family Foundation
Elizabeth Louise Smith Fund
Finnegan Family Foundation
Francis Beidler III and Prudence R. Beidler Foundation
Irving Harris Foundation
Hyman and Susan Feldman Foundation
Leo S. Guthman Fund
David and Susan Kreisman Family Foundation
Mikva Rosenberg Charitable Fund
Margot and Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation
Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation
Note: To request a change in acknowledgment of your gift, please email Katherine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-550-2775
Gaylord Gieseke, President
Marilyn Eisenberg, Vice President
Jay Rosenbloom, Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair
Scott W. Bishop
Shari Runner, Board Development Committee Chair
Nancy Nolden Snyder, Fundraising and Marketing Committee Chair
Nannette Zander, Awards Committee Chair
Marjorie Craig Benton
Judith Walker Kendrick
Iris Krieg, Executive Director
Lauren Krieg, Senior Program Officer
Richard Tran, EQUIP Program Officer
Katherine (Dreher) Korey, Director of Development & Communications
Nettie Snowden, Finance Manager
Betty Jo Joy, Grants Manager
Donna Kilpatrick, Office Manager
Iris Krieg, who served with distinction as the Executive Director of Bright Promises for 13 years, announced she would step down at the end of 2021.
“My decision to leave Bright Promises was a difficult one for me,” says Krieg, “Bright Promises is poised for significant growth in its programming and impact on children. I have been pleased to be a partner in bringing Bright Promises to the brink of these possibilities. With new staff leadership, Bright Promises will be able to fully realize its potential.”
During her 13-year tenure, Iris propelled Bright Promises to new levels of success. She focused the Foundation’s grantmaking to address the most pressing issues Chicagoland children and youth face, tapping the expertise of leaders in the various fields focused on children and youth to drive innovation in children’s services. She also championed grantmaking that goes beyond just writing a check, ensuring that we are providing our partner organizations with the wrap-around, capacity-building support that leads to lasting and sustainable change.
We wish to express our deepest gratitude for all that Iris has helped us to achieve. We thank Iris for the strong foundation for innovation and dynamic impact that she has helped to build, which will support our future growth for the next 150 years and beyond. We also extend our deep gratitude to our many supporters, friends, partners and advocates for your continued support of Bright Promises Foundation during this new chapter.
To learn more about how we are honoring Iris Krieg upon her retirement, please visit www.brightpromises.org/iris-krieg-fund