Announcing the 150th Anniversary Awards Honorees

August 5, 2019

Join us on Tuesday, October 15 as we celebrate 150 years of impact by honoring the people and organizations who go above and beyond to create opportunities for all children to thrive.

At the 150th Anniversary Awards on Tuesday, October 15, Bright Promises Foundation will celebrate 150 years by honoring the individuals and organizations who go above and beyond to ensure that every child in Chicago reaches their full promise and potential. This inspiring and uplifting occasion also raises critical funds that are invested in community organizations to address the urgent, unmet needs of children and families across Metropolitan Chicago.

This year, Bright Promises Foundation is honoring Judith S. Block  with the Champion for Children Award, Dr. Dorene Wiese with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Peggy and Paul Bodine  with the President's Award.

Guests will also have the opportunity to meet the winners of the 150th Anniversary Elevating Youth Voices grant and learn how their organization's will use a $10,000 grant from Bright Promises to make their communities stronger and safer, taking on issues like gun violence, justice reform, and youth mental health.

About the 150th Anniversary Award Honorees

Champion for Children Award
Judith S. Block

Judy Block's life work has been dedicated to all of Chicago’s children. She has served over 50 years in the city’s great cultural and education institutions as well as many foundations and human service agencies, including working as a court appointed special advocate. Judy has served on the Board of the Chicago Child Care Society since 1968, serving as a past Board chair and current Life Trustee. Judy is also a Life Trustee of her alma mater Northwestern University, serves a member and Chair of the Field Museum Women’s Board, and was the first woman to ever serve as chairman of the Field Museum Board of Trustees.

Judy is deeply driven by her belief that all children are special. "Children are our future, and they can build the future with help, attention, and love. Children respond to good programs and personal attention; and when loved and nurtured, they thrive."

What is Judy's advice for someone who wants to do more to help children succeed? "There is nothing like helping one child gain self esteem and grow in confidence and learn values. If only one person will become a part of one child’s life, they can help that child build the self-confidence to create a purposeful and successful life and be an example to others."

Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Dorene P. Wiese

Dr. Wiese has spent 50 years advocating for children, and has dedicated her life to helping American Indian families in Chicago get the education they need to survive in today's world. She founded and serves as the President of the American Indian Association of Illinois, which provides academic and other resources available to over 100,000 American Indians in Illinois. Dr. Wiese is President of the Native American Educational Services, Inc. and serves as the artistic director for the Black Hawk Performance Company, which encourages Native youth to learn American Indian music and dance in Chicago.

"Our Native elders taught us that all children are holy beings, sent for us to love and care for and that it is our responsibility to plan and work for a world that will provide for them seven generations from now," Dr. Wiese explains. "Because of the incredible diversity we celebrate in Chicago, and the wonders of the internet, we have access to the world’s knowledge and all its creative gifts. When you hear our children sing or see them dance, as we do in our Black Hawk Performance Company, or see their works of art, you see their creative collective strength and resilience, you realize they are preparing for those future generations, with new ideas generated from the diversity they live in."

Dr. Wiese believes that "all children deserve a world that allows them to live and grow into the beautiful human beings they are meant to be." Her advice for anyone who wants to be more involved in creating opportunities for young people is to "find ways to celebrate the histories and cultures of every child and youth in ways that makes them proud of their people and embraces their dreams for the future. Hope thrives with history."

President’s Award
Peggy and Paul Bodine

Peggy and Paul Bodine have been part of the Bright Promises family for decades. Peggy is a member and past President of the Junior League of Chicago, and a member of the Field Museum Women’s Board. Paul is the founder of the Chicago School of Business Architecture Institute and served as the President during our transformation from the Illinois Humane Society to Bright Promises Foundation, playing an integral role in helping to develop our current innovative model of grant-making. Peggy and Paul are both founding members of the Bright Promises Legacy Council and have served as outstanding volunteer leaders for many years, especially during our 150th anniversary. 

Peggy and Paul are inspired by the amazing potential of young people in our communities. "Illinois and Chicago are blessed with exceptional beauty and natural resources, a strong community spirit and best-in-the-world universities. Organizations like Bright Promises and their remarkable agency partners help to bring these resources together to provide our children the education and opportunity they need to strive and thrive."

Why have Peggy and Paul dedicated themselves to helping young people in Chicago? "Hope. Human beings need hope to get up in the morning, get to school, do their homework, find a job, make a home, sustain nurturing relationships, advance in their career, be happy and healthy. Giving children and youth hope by creating opportunities and advocating on their behalf not only provides them with the promise of a brighter future, but also makes this a better, more fulfilling world for us all."

Get your tickets for the 150th Anniversary Awards

Chicago Cultural Center
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

At the 150th Anniversary Awards, in addition to recognizing this year's honorees Bright Promises will award $50,000 in special grants to support the work of Chicago youth leaders through our Elevating Youth Voices initiative. At the event, local youth leaders will present interactive displays and perform original songs, skits, and poetry inspired by their hopes and dreams for their communities.

Your ticket for the 150th Anniversary Awards includes:


Every ticket purchase supports programs for low-income children and youth in Metropolitan Chicago.

Tickets start at just $100.
Click the link below to reserve your tickets online:

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