To catalyze innovation in children's services

Bright Promises Foundation has been innovating social services for children since 1869.

Our mission is to create opportunities for all children, no matter their background, circumstance, or zip code, to have the opportunity to reach their full promise and potential. Chartered by the State of Illinois in 1869, Bright Promises Foundation is one of the oldest 501c3 public charities in Illinois dedicated to addressing the urgent, unmet needs of children and youth in Metropolitan Chicago. 

Through research and discussion with leading children’s experts, Bright Promises Foundation determines the most critical needs of children that are currently under-recognized and underfunded in Illinois.  Through innovative grantmaking and capacity-building program support, we help to make immediate and long-lasting improvements to the lives of disadvantaged children and families.

2019 marked Bright Promises Foundation's 150th year of creating opportunities for all children in Metropolitan Chicago to reach their full promise and potential.

We create lasting change through our unique strategy.

Bright Promises is unique among organizations serving children: We work in the areas other funders haven’t reached yet

Bright Promises has the agility to pivot the focus of our funding as children’s needs evolve. We identify viable approaches to important emerging issues—issues that aren’t on the daily news yet, but will be—then make strategic investments in organizations that are doing trail-blazing work

Our work doesn’t end with our investment.  We ensure a lasting impact by supporting program and need assessments, ongoing evaluations, and a focus on outcomes for children.  With this holistic approach, Bright Promises helps move organizations from understanding of need, through training, and into lasting culture change.

“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 of Bright Promises Foundation