Through our Focused Funding initiatives, Bright Promises Foundation directs resources to innovative programs that address a critical emerging issue faced by at-risk children that is under-recognized and underfunded. We provide capacity-building support and multi-year funding while also striving to increase awareness and resources to address these issues.
How do we know what social concerns constitute as the next most pressing emerging issue for at-risk children? We rely on the experts.
To determine where Bright Promises should focus our support, we convene an impressive community of leaders from diverse fields and backgrounds in the child-serving community including health, education, youth development, and social work. Based on the recommendations of these experts, Bright Promises selects a single emerging issue that greatly impacts at-risk children in Illinois and is currently under-recognized and underfunded.
As other funders and agencies take on greater responsibility to address these issues, we shift our attention to the next emerging issue. We change or add a focus every 4 to 6 years to ensure we are always addressing the most, urgent, unmet needs of vulnerable children.
For the SEL@Home: Social Emotional Learning at Home initiative, Bright Promises Foundation will not make new grants in 2023.
For the Healing, Leading, Changing initiative, please see the guidelines below for information about eligibility. To learn more about this initiative, download the Healing, Leading, Changing white paper here.
In recent years, both child-serving agencies and the general public have come to recognize that children affected by trauma experience many negative responses, which, if left untreated, can cause life-long damage. What is less known is that racism, when experienced either personally or vicariously, can cause traumatic stress that impacts the physical and psychological health and wellbeing of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and communities. These factors coupled with inequity in education, economic opportunities, and numerous other systemic barriers are causing widespread distress, especially for BIPOC children and youth.
Currently, very few youth organizations explicitly identify racism as a root cause of chronic stress and understand how to best help youth to begin to address the issue and begin to heal. Every organization that serves youth should be aware of and acknowledge the impacts of racial trauma on children and youth and have the knowledge and tools to create healing environments where children can become more resilient. Organizations need resources and support to achieve this.
Youth are powerful agents for change and their voices and experiences matter. Research shows that an important aspect of healing from trauma caused by racism is to engage in empowerment through resistance as racism often causes helplessness, hopelessness, avoidance and fatigue. Helping 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 racially based traumatic stress and to give rise to the change we need as a society.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is integral to a child's well-being, teaching healthy stress management, positive self-esteem, conflict resolution, positive interpersonal relationships, and self-control. Research has consistently shown that these are learned skills; however, children do not always learn these skills at home. Research also confirms that children succeed when parents are engaged and involved with their children's education.
Most SEL programs and curricula are currently delivered either directly to children at schools and in some after school and summer programs. Through our Focus Panel Process, together with leading experts in SEL, Bright Promises determined that there is a lack of and a need for programming that provides
parents with the skills to model and teach SEL skills to their children.
Bright Promises believes that if parents and caregivers are equipped to promote these positive life skills at home, children will be exponentially more likely to lead happy, successful and fulfilling lives.
Read the most recent evaluation results for this initiative here.
No new grants will be made for the SEL@Home: Social Emotional Learning at Home program in 2023.
For Healing, Leading Changing, please read the guidelines for eligibility requirements and information about how to apply. The 2023 Letter of Intent Form is due February 24 by 5:00pm. Organizations selected to submit full proposals will be notified by March 10. If invited, full proposals are due April 18.