2022 Impact Report

Bright Promises mission is to identify, fund, and share solutions to underrecognized needs of children and youth most adversely impacted by inequity.

Last year, Bright Promises invested $501,000 in 23 community organizations to support programs that addressed the urgent, unmet needs of 11,041 children and youth.  We supported programs at 45 schools and after-school organizations in 26 zip codes across Chicagoland.  

Bright Promises leveraged our unique partnership model with our grantee partners to not only support direct service to thousands of Chicagoland children and youth facing critical challenges, but to collect, analyze, and share the life-changing learnings and practices we observe to benefit tens of thousands more.  

Read on to learn how Bright Promises is building a Chicagoland where all children and youth reach their full promise and potential.

By the Numbers

Based on data reported by grantee partners

Data about the children and youth served by Bright Promises in 2022

Where We Served

Young Arab American woman presenting at Arab American Action Network event
Youth at a rally with Palenque LSNA

Healing, Leading, Changing: Addressing Racial Trauma

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.

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.

2022 - 2023 Healing, Leading, Changing Program Partners:

  • Chicago Freedom School
  • Arab American Action Network
  • Northwest Side Center
  • Girls Inc.
  • Alternatives
  • Love, Unity, and Values Institute
  • Palenque LSNA
  • R.E.A.L. Youth Initiative
  • UCAN

Our Investments in Action:
Bright Promises Youth Council Shares What It Means to be Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered

The Bright Promises Youth Council is a group of youth leaders representing organizations participating in the Healing, Leading, Changing initiative. Over the course of a year, these youth leaders work together on a community council to cultivate a space that amplifies and advances the impact of their participatory practices for racial and healing justice.

Through a day-long social media takeover, these youth leaders took over Bright Promises’ social channels and shared resources, personal reflections, and other original content to respond to two main questions: What does being trauma-informed mean to you? What does healing-centered mean to you?

Youth leaders responded through reflections on their own lived experiences in the form of poetry, podcasts, photo collages, and personal essays.

“My personal experience with housing instability, which I really got the opportunity to process through the self-reflections as part of the Bright Promises Youth Council, was a major part of my inspiration for this poem,” said Nelly, a youth leader representing Palenque LSNA.

Michaela, a youth leader representing LUV Institute shared a similar experience on the Youth Council, “In order to accurately describe the experience of black women in my environment, I created a poem titled, ‘Dear Black Girl’. Although this poem was inspired by my own personal experiences and the memories of many other Black women in my community, the main inspiration for the poem came from a self-work reflection we did [on the Youth Council] that surrounded the topic of identity.”

JJ, Bright Promises Youth Council Guide, reinforced the importance of engaging in and sharing personal reflections as a healing practice. “Moving through wellness in a trauma-informed way, to me, means investing in Self-Reflection and Deep Listening. As professionals, as community members, as lovers, as breathers, these are two of many ingredients we can cultivate deeply, and intentionally in our healthy socioemotional ecosystems.”

Bright Promises Youth Council members Amira and Mohammed representing Arab American Action Network created a podcast that reflects on recent incidents of police brutality in their community and how they are unlocking their voices and tapping into their collective power through protest.

Engaging in research, including identifying and sharing trauma-informed resources, also played an important role in creating a healing experience for the youth leaders on the Bright Promises Youth Council. Through research and discussion, Youth Council members were able to increase their knowledge and understanding of racial trauma and identify tools that support individual and community healing.

Several Youth Council members recommended resources that were most helpful to them, including organizations to follow, articles to read, and personal research projects.

“As Black and Brown students in this country, our trauma lies deep in America’s history of bondage . To heal, we must educate, and to educate we must research,” shared Shujaa, a member of the Bright Promises Youth Council representing the Chicago Freedom School. Together with fellow youth abolitionists Drea, Shujaa presented at the 2023 American Educational Research Association Conference to shed light on abolition efforts in order to create more effective and healthy learning environments. Here, they made connections between surveillance tactics that were used on enslaved peoples & how that has carried over into educational spaces for youth.

Two young children smiling with masks lowered under their chin.
An African American woman wearing a mask giving a young child a hug
A young African American boy giving the peace sign with both hands

EQUIP: Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program

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.

Early childhood centers must 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 2022, 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.

2022 EQUIP quality-improvement programs included:

  • The creation of permanent calming areas in each classroom which are used to support children when regulating their behaviors.
  • Improvement in fathers and/or father figures becoming increasingly involved within the daycare setting and a rise in male involvement in improving mental health, parenting, and family communication.
  • Multi-racial Racial Healing Circles for the staff
  • A trauma response resource binder that provides information on how to recognize trauma, decrease the likelihood of retraumatizing children, help children feel safe and in control, problem-solve challenging situations, and recognize the impact of culture and equity in the lives of young children.
  • The creation of a thorough crisis plan and a trauma resource guide.

2022-23 EQUIP Early Childhood Education Program Partners:

  • Christopher House
  • Concordia Place
  • Breakthrough Urban Ministries
  • Trinity UCC Child Care Centers, Inc. (TUCC)
  • Family Focus
  • Children's Home and Aid
  • Chicago Youth Centers

Our Investments in Action: EQUIP is a Critical Source of Support for Early Childhood Centers

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. A recent evaluation of EQUIP 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
A young African American woman singing
A group of people blowing glass
Two men hugging

Iris Krieg Fund for Fairness, Access, Inclusion, and Resiliency

Throughout her life and career in philanthropy, Iris has been committed to eliminating the barriers of social inequity, especially for children and youth. She has championed the idea that youth are change-makers and it is our responsibility as adults to pave the way for them.

This Fund created in 2022 in Iris’s honor is a celebration of her impact and her lasting legacy. Grants will support youth as they work for social justice and equitable treatment for themselves and others, while developing their own leadership skills.

Grants support social justice programs rooted in the four core tenets of this fund: fairness, access, inclusion, and resiliency.

  1. Fairness - A society rooted in justice where all young people are treated as they deserve.
  2. Access - A society where all young people have equal and equitable opportunities and where any actual or potential barriers preventing equitable participation are removed.
  3. Inclusion - A society that eliminates all forms of exclusion and discrimination and seeks, develops, and values the talents of all young people.
  4. Resiliency - A society where young people are taught the skills to navigate life successfully and to thrive under any circumstances.

Our Investments In Action: 2022 F.A.I.R. Fund Inaugural Grant Recipients

The 2022 F.A.I.R. Fund grant recipients were Theater Y and Firebird Community Arts. We recently asked these organizations to share how the grant helped them better incorporate the core tenets of fairness, access, inclusion, and/or resilience into their programs:

Theatre Y -

“Students were tasked with bringing their own artistic vision to life, giving them a stage to share their creativity and their voice. Although youth work closely alongside veteran theatre-professionals, they have an equal voice, and often an even more powerful voice than our adult professionals; we intend for this standard adult:student power dynamic to be flipped on its head, where the students give direction and the adults respond.”

Firebird Community Arts -

“By co-creating an arts community centering Black and brown artists and youth, Firebird provided a safe place that embraces the abundance of creativity and care within young people, instructors, and guests. Working together with molten glass and fire based artforms requires total focus and team efforts to keep each other safe. When people feel safe, they can slow down, escape from stress, exchange ideas and information, observe and learn from each other. Embracing the assets, talents, and creativity of young people allows us all to imagine and build our own futures and reject limiting stereotypes.”

Friends of Iris

Thank you to this special committee of Iris'  friends, family, and colleagues without whom this fund would not be possible.

Sunny Fischer, co-chair
Francia Harrington, co-chair

Marjorie Craig Benton
Shelley Davis
Tina Erickson
Gaylord Gieseke
Ed Hamburg
Stacey Poland Hamburg
Jim Hardy
Lauren Krieg
Marcena Love
K. Sujata
Gigi Pritzker

Bright Communities Social Emotional Learning Resource Hub

A New Tool to Support Children’s Health and Wellbeing

Bright Promises is thrilled to announce the launch of Bright Communities, a new website dedicated to providing parents, caregivers, educators, and service providers with high-quality Social Emotional Learning (SEL) resources to support the development of important life skills in children and youth.  

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) focuses on five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  

For children and adults alike, SEL offers a powerful means to explore and express our emotions, build relationships, and support each other. Fostering strong relationships and supporting children and adults in building core SEL skills can promote well-being and mitigate negative effects of trauma in both the short and long term. (Yoder, N., Posamentier, J., Godek, D., Seibel, K., & Dusenbury, L. (2020))

We know that strong social-emotional skills are essential for individuals, families, and communities to thrive. That's why Bright Promises Foundation worked so hard with our community partners to create the Bright Communities website -- to make it easy for you to access the resources you need to improve your social-emotional skills and help others do the same.  

Everything You Need, All In One Place

The Bright Communities resource website was created through a multi-year collaboration between Bright Promises Foundation and five community-based organizations that are experts in the field of social emotional learning: Illinois Afterschool Network, Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation, Enlace Chicago, VOCEL, and Tuesday’s Child.

Bright Communities is designed to provide parents, caregivers, and service providers with the best social-emotional learning resources available. This website offers a curated collection of high-quality resources that have been carefully selected by experts in the field. We've done the research for you, so you can trust that the materials on this site are effective and relevant.

In addition to providing users with a wide range of resources, this website also offers an easy-to-use interface that allows users to quickly find what you need, including a calendar of upcoming events and referrals to local organizations providing SEL programs. Whether you're a parent looking for activities to do with your child, a teacher seeking lesson plans, or a professional looking for expert advice, you'll be able to find it on the Bright Communities website.

Visit the Bright Communities website at www.brightpromises.org/bright-communities.

Bright Promises Foundation and our partners offer our sincere gratitude to the E.L. Smith Fund, the Paul M. Angell Foundation, and the Christopher Family Foundation, whose generous support of the SEL@Home initiative made this project possible.

Watch It Again: "Confronting Racism" Webinar Series and 2022 Awards

“Confronting Racism” Webinar Series

Confronting Racism: What Youth Have to Say About Racial Trauma

In honor of Illinois' fourth annual Trauma Informed Awareness Day and Mental Health Awareness Month, Bright Promises Foundation presented "Confronting Racism: What Youth Have to Say About Racial Trauma".

This webinar features experts in racial trauma speaking about the impact of historical and community trauma and a panel discussion with Chicago youth leaders about how racism has impacted their lives, and how they are confronting racism and promoting healing for themselves, their families, and their communities.


  • Historical and Community Trauma Training by Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative
  • Panel of local Chicago youth leaders moderated by:  Maricela Garcia, Gads Hill Center CEO and Bright Promises Foundation board member

Confronting Racism: Helping Youth Heal from Racism-Based Trauma through the Arts

Programs that use the arts have proven to be especially effective in supporting healing from racial trauma in Chicago youth. From painting, to poetry, to glass-blowing, Chicago youth are using the arts to find their voice and talk about their personal, historical, and community experiences with racial trauma so that they can begin to heal.

During this one-hour webinar presented by Bright Promises Foundation, you will hear directly from experts in racial trauma about the role of the arts in supporting youth healing from racial trauma, and see first-hand examples of young people engaging in healing through the arts.  

Featuring expert speakers:

  • Karen Benita Reyes, Executive Director, Firebird Community Arts
  • N’Kosi Barber, Sculptor and Instructor, Firebird Community Arts
  • Nadiah Alyafai, Youth Organizer, Arab American Action Network
  • Moderated by Devon VanHouten Maldonado, Director of Programs, SkyART

Bright Promises 2022 Awards

At the Bright Promises 2022 Awards, 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 2022, Bright Promises honored:

  • Andrea Palmer, Program Director, Pritzker Children's Initiative (2022 Champion for Children Award)
  • Cathy Krieger, founder and recently retired Executive Director, Children's Place Association (2022 Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Devon VanHouten-Maldonado, Director of Programs, SkyART (2022 Elevating Youth Voices Award)

Bright Promises thanks our 2022 Awards sponsors, especially our Presenting sponsors Azteca Foods Inc. and the Field Foundation of Illinois. We would also like to offer special thanks to the 2022 Awards Co-Chairs Daniel Ash and Donna LaPietra, the members of the Host Committee, the many volunteers who helped make this celebration possible, the 2022 Awards Selection Committee for their time and thoughtful participation.

2022 Awards Selection Committee:
  • Baronica Roberson, Chief Financial Officer, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
  • Edgar Ramirez, Executive Director, Chicago Commons
  • Sejal Shah-Meyers, Executive Director, Springboard Foundation
  • Sarah Ward, Executive Director, SkyART
  • Jon N. Will, Jon N. Will Associates
  • Nannette Velasquez Zander, Vice President, Azteca Foods Inc

2022 Financials

Thanks to our 150+ year legacy, Bright Promises covers 100% of our operating costs, so that every dollar donated to Bright Promises goes directly to programs that help change the narrative for thousands of our city’s most vulnerable children and youth.

For detailed financial statements, view Bright Promises Foundation's 2022 Form 990.

2022 Expenses

Total expenditures in 2022 were $768,019, including $512,201 in program expenses, $209,244 in operating expenses, and $46,574 in fundraising expenses.

2022 Contributed Income

Total contributed income in 2022 was $1,052,238. Bright Promises net assets as of December 31, 2022 were $4,649,545.

2022 Donors

The generous donations Bright Promises receives help children and youth growing up in low-income communities impacted by poverty, gun violence, and systemic racism and disinvestment. These factors can have serious and long-lasting effects on children's physical and mental health, their ability to do well in school, and their future success as adults.

These negative outcomes are not inevitable though. Thanks to our donors, Bright Promises and our program partners are providing the support and services children need to flourish and thrive.

Every gift we receive, of every size, is an investment in a bright future for Chicagoland children and youth. Every gift makes a difference in the lives of young people 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 katherine.dreher@brightpromises.org or call 312-550-2775.

Jerry Adelmann*
Shantal Alonso
Brian Hanson and Karen Alter-Hanson
Margaret Anderson
Jill Antoniewicz
Katrina and Steven Arlington
Hozaifa Arsiwala
Daniel Ash
Sam Barash
Donna Barrows
Queta Bauer
Alisa Baum, in honor of Jim Hirsch
Kristina Beck
Prue and Frank Beidler
Ellen Benjamin and Fred Bates*
Marjorie Craig Benton*
Jason Berg
Margaret Berger
Victor J. Bernstein Giving Fund
Scott and Emily Bishop
Paul and Peggy Bodine
Andreason L Brown and Robert J Browne III
Melissa Bunda
Ina Burd
Laura Byes
Evette Cardona
Talina Carter-Bowie
Cynthia Chapell
Cheri Chappelle
Fay Clayton and Lowell Sachnoff*
Sharon Coleman
Rachelle Cooper
Shelley Cooper*
Julie Coplon and Whitman Soule*
Clarissa Cutler
Kristen Daihes
Loretta Davenport
Shelley Davis
Neelamjit Kaur Dhaliwal
Shannon Diegel
Emily Dreke*
Kim Duchossois*
Marilyn Eisenberg
Tom and Victoria Eley
Tina Erickson*
Constance Etter
Merri Ex*
Henry and Elizabeth Feldman, in honor of Gaylord Gieseke
Marshall Field*
Bob and Barbara Finley
Sunny Fischer*
Elizabeth Foster and Michael Walsh
Debbie Frisch
Maricela Garcia
The Gaur Family
Abigail Gravila
Caroline Gibbons
Gaylord and William Gieseke
Linda Gilkerson and Don Lamb
Geoffrey Gist
Heidi Goeppinger
The Wilson-Gonthier Family Fund
Patrick Grady
Heidi Greening
Esther Grimm
Lida Hadesman
Thomas Hale
Anne Hallett
Ed Hamburg and Stacey Poland Hamburg*
Julie Hamos
David Hardy*
Jenica Hardy*
Jim Hardy*
Lindy Hardy*
Randall Hardy*
The Hardy Family*
Deborah Harrington
Francia Harrington and Vern Broders*
Carol Prins and John Hart, The Jessica Fund*
Kenneth Hill
Jim Hirsch
Mae Hong*
Charles K. Huebner and Caroline K. Huebner, in honor of Vern Broders
Cynthia Hunt Rudolph
Susan Irion, in honor of Gaylord Gieseke
Kenneth Jennings
Leah Johnson
Nancy Juda
Loretta Kaplan
Ryan Kavanaugh
Dennis and Barbara Kessler*
Helen Kessler
Kyle Thomas Kick
Callie Kirk
Michael Koetting
Vickie and Irv Korey, in honor of Katherine Korey
Roberta Kramer
Iris Krieg
Lauren Krieg*

Josef and Margot Lakonishok
Kathleen Lamb
Donna LaPietra
Alan Lev, in honor of Jay Roserbloom
John and Jill Levi*
Juju Lien*
Diane Limas*
Andrew Lindstad
Susan Lloyd*
Marcena Love*
Stephen Mack
Carlyle Madden
Doris Maldanado, in honor of Devon VanHouten Maldonado
Roberta Maldonado, in honor of Devon VanHouten Maldonado
Stacey Mallo
Ron Manderschied
Patricia Manhard
Mary Beth
Watson Manheim
Iyana Mason
Yani Mason
Hoy McConnell
Thomas McDougal
Tiffany McQueen Lewis
Alice and Greg Melchor
Wellington Mendes
Mikva Rosenberg Charitable Fund
Cheryl Miller
Jo and Art Moore
Bill and Patty Moss
Dara Munson
Mark Murray
Anna Musci, in honor of Nancy Snyder
Elyssa Neiberg, in honor of Caroline Gibbons
Angela Pace Moody
Blu Pannhoff
Helene and Aaron Paris, in honor of Marilyn Eisenberg
Heather Parish
Becky Parkinson
Morgan Parkinson
Rebecca Parkinson
Rozy Patel
Heather Payne
Jill and Grant Peters
Sanford Pew
Audrey Prins
Leslie Ramyk
Krishnaiah Revuluri
Sendhil Revuluri and Venu Gupta
Baronica Roberson
Janice Rodgers
Susan Rogers
Paulo Romero
Nancy Ronquillo
Jay and Bari Rosenbloom
Carol Rosofsky
David Rubenstein
Ann Rundle
Shari Runner
Anne Ruzicka
Carl Ruzicka
Tony Ruzicka
Steven Sager, in memory of Marge and Phil Wood
Nancy Schimmel
Deb Schlies
Ellen and Larry Schor
Emily Scoby
Maggie Shiflett
Gabrielle SIgel
Erik Skamser
Ann Smith
Louise K. Smith, in honor of Nancy Snyder Nancy Snyder
Naomi Stanhaus
Jerome Stermer
Michelle Stewart
Gretchen Stone
K. Sujata*
Jim Swinerton
Monica Thorns
Hilary Thornton
Amanda Vallejo
Cheryl and Mark Van Ausdal*
Kim Van Horn Charlie VanHouten, in honor of Devon VanHouten Maldonado
Carmen Velasquez
Joan Wagner
Clive Walcott
Michael Wall
Joshua Weinstein
Benna and Hal Wilde*
Jon Will and Ada Mary Gugenheim
Carole Wood
Carol Wyant
Allison Youngblood
Nannette and Jim Zander  

*Indicates donor to who made a gift in honor of Iris Krieg to the Iris Krieg Fund for Fairness, Access, Inclusion and Resilience (F.A.I.R Fund).  

Foundation Partners

Albert Pick Jr. Fund
Benjamin Ferguson Trust
Christopher Family Foundation
Elizabeth Louise Smith Fund
Field Foundation of Illinois
Francis Beidler III and Prudence R. Beidler Foundation
Leo S. Guthman Fund
Louise May Whitehouse Trust
Margot and Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation
Northern Philanthropic Trust
Paul M. Angell Foundation
Pierce Family Foundation
Polk Bros Foundation
‍Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation
The Coleman Foundation
The Osa Foundation
The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation
The Seedlings Foundation
Spencer Foundation

 Bright Promises Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 36-2182047.

To request a change in acknowledgment of your gift, please email Katherine at
katherine.dreher@brightpromises.org or call 312-550-2775

2022-2023 Board of Directors

Gaylord Gieseke, President
Andreason Brown, Vice President
Scott W. Bishop,  Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair
Nancy Nolden Snyder, Secretary

Dean A. Benson
Ryan A. Biller
Andreason Brown
Nick Bruce
Neelamjit Kaur Dhaliwal
Maricela Garcia
Deepak Gaur
Caroline Gibbons
Randall Hardy
Ken Jennings
Jason Nierman
Sendhil Revuluri
Baronica Roberson, Program and Advocacy Committee Chair
Jay Rosenbloom
Amanda Vallejo, Fundraising and Marketing Committee Chair
Nannette Zander, Board Development Committee Chair, Awards Committee Chair

Lifetime Trustees

Paul Arthur Bodine
Shari Runner
Jon N. Will

Legacy Council

Prue Beidler
Peggy Bodine
Paul Bodine
Barbara Bowman
Vern Broders
Marjorie Craig Benton
Bob Finley
Elizabeth Foster
Francia Harrington
Rodger Owen
Janet Owen
Neil Peck
Gigi Pritzker
Judith Walker Kendrick
Bernice Weissbourd (deceased)
Jon N. Will

2022-23 Staff

Jim Hirsch, Executive Director

Katherine (Dreher) Korey, Senior Director of Advancement and Operations

Tiffany McQueen Lewis, Program Officer

JJ McNeal, Youth Council Guide

Photo Credits:

Healing, Leading, Changing images provided by (left to right) Arab American Action Network, Palenque LSNA, and Stephen Serio Photography.

EQUIP Early Childhood Education images provided by Chicago Youth Centers and Breakthrough Urban Ministries.

F.A.I.R. Fund images provided by Firebird Community Arts/Hilltop Arts Center and Theater Y via CBS Chicago.