innovating social services for children and youth since 1869

Bright Promises foundation sparks positive change in Chicagoland communities by investing in our future - our children and youth.

Mom holding her baby
Girl eating and looking into the distance
Teen smiling at the camera

Our Mission

Bright Promises Foundation’s mission is to identify, fund, and share solutions to underrecognized needs of children and youth most adversely impacted by inequity. Our vision is for a Chicagoland where all children and youth reach their full promise and potential.


Our Strategy

Bright Promises stands out by addressing unmet needs in child welfare, swiftly adapting to evolving needs with strategic investments in pioneering organizations. Beyond funding, we enhance lasting impact through comprehensive support, including assessments, evaluations, and outcome-focused initiatives, fostering enduring change.


We proactively identify urgent, underrecognized needs of children and youth; needs other funders haven’t reached yet.


We intentionally use a trust-based model that allows communities to be experts in how to respond to the needs of children and youth.


We capture lessons learned and disseminate knowledge to affect change on the systemic inequities that impact Chicagoland children, youth, and communities.

Our Values

OUR WORK is guided by five core values.


Embrace complexity. Be proactive and adaptive. Iterate. We seek creative solutions and new perspectives. Innovation is a value and a skill.


Co-create. Center relationships. Be a partner and ambassador.  We believe in collective work and collective wisdom.


Treat everyone fairly and with respect. Allow individuals and communities to be experts in how to address the issues that impact them.

knowledge sharing

Embrace learning. Be curious. Learn from challenges. We capture and disseminate knowledge to scale impact.


Lead with trust, respect, and humility. We acknowledge historical, systemic, and institutional inequities that are at the root of the issues we address.

Our traditions are borne on putting conviction and action ahead of social convention, taking risks and rolling up our sleeves to do what should be done. We were founded on a tradition of collaborating with others to get things done. While the way we deliver on our mission may vary from year-to-year, our traditions will always continue.”

Paul Bodine – Past President, Bright Promises Foundation

Our History

Serving children and youth since 1869

Bright Promises Foundation has served the most vulnerable children and youth in Illinois for over 150 years. Our commitment to children and youth has not changed since our founding. Our ability to adapt and remain responsive to their evolving needs is how we create lasting change in the lives of the young people we serve.

» explore our history

Our Team

Through our collective impact, we are working together to ensure that all children and youth have the opportunity to reach their full promise and potential.

» Meet our Team

Board of

Learn more

Legacy Council

Learn more