Promising a brighter future for all
by unlocking children and youth’s full potential today.

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.

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 needs of children and youth in Metropolitan Chicago. 

Bright Promises Foundation focuses on the early identification and response to urgent issues impacting Chicagoland children and youth. Through research and discussion with leading experts, Bright Promises determines the most critical needs of children and youth that are currently under-recognized and underfunded in Illinois.

Then, the Foundation provides targeted resources and capacity-building support to help organizations develop and deliver enhanced services. Finally, Bright Promises captures and shares knowledge with the field to drive change in the systems that impact the lives and futures of children and youth.

Through our innovative grantmaking and capacity-building program support, we help to make immediate and long-lasting improvements to the lives of children and families.

Bright Promises Foundation's work is guided by five core values:

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

Knowledge Sharing - Embrace learning. Be curious. Learn from challenges. Capture and disseminate knowledge to scale impact.   

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

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

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

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