Helping Parents & Caregivers Teach
Social Emotional Skills to Children

Click here to apply

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.


In 2020, Bright Promises Foundation will only make renewal grants to current SEL@Home program partners.

Current Initiatives

2016 - 2021

Social  Emotional Learning at Home

Helping Parents & Caregivers to Teach Social Emotional Skills to Children

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 intentionally 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.

2012 - 2017

Promoting Resilience

Promoting Resilience in Children Experiencing or Exposed to Trauma: Creating a Trauma-Informed Culture to Help Children Thrive

Beginning in 2012, Bright Promises Foundation made multi-year grants to eight organizations to extend their work to reach providers who had not previously been exposed to a trauma-informed theory and practice, to deepen in-house expertise and knowledge about trauma-informed care, to refine and expand training tools, and, ultimately, to better serve children that have experienced trauma. These eight grantees engaged external partner organizations to deliver their programs at 46 different sites.

As a result of this initiative, Bright Promises Foundation mobilized awareness and action on this relevant and critical issue. Today, the idea that a wide range of youth-serving professionals need to ingrate trauma-informed practices into their programs has proliferated, with backing from research and with federal funding to support such efforts. Promoting Resiliency funded a group of innovative thinkers and helped build the next piece in this emerging field.

As a part of this initiative, Bright Promises Foundation also partnered with the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition to create “Look Through Their Eyes,” a website with resources for parents and caregivers about childhood trauma.

While no new grants will be made in this program, BPF will continue to support current Promoting Resilience grantees until 2017.

Apply for Focused Funding

Please read through our guidelines and, if eligible, submit a letter of intent.

Please note that no new grants will be awarded in 2020. Only current SEL@Home program partners are eligible for renewal funding. See below for an example of past guidelines .

Download Guidelines and Letter of Intent Form: