Bright Promises 2021 Impact Report

May 19, 2022

2021 Impact Report

During another year that once again can only be described as unprecedented, Bright Promises has grown in every part of our work. We have continued improving, expanding, and even launching brand new initiatives to answer the under-recognized and under-addressed needs of children and youth.

Bright Promises believes it takes an ecosystem of strong, sustainable and impactful community organizations working together to help kids thrive. This is why Bright Promises partners with community organizations across Chicagoland, providing them with the funding and capacity building support needed to better serve children and youth, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are so proud to work with some of the most innovative and impactful organizations in Chicagoland and to support programs that are changing the lives of thousands of children and families. Read on to learn about our impact last year.

Impact by the Numbers

Where We Serve

SEL@Home: Social Emotional Learning at Home

We all want to rebuild children’s skills and knowledge from the past two years. This is only possible by investing in the well-being of children and their parents and caregivers. For children and adults alike, social emotional learning (SEL)offers a powerful means to explore and express our emotions, build relationships, and support each other. Focusing on SEL during this time of recovery can help children develop essential skills that will support their wellbeing and success now and in the future.

Since 2016, Bright Promises has been investing in programs that empower parents and caregivers as they learn to be champions for social emotional learning in their homes, schools, and communities. Bright Promises investment in high-quality, effective SEL programming last year alone could generate along-term return of up to $2.5 million when accounting for the improved mental and physical health, decreased juvenile crime, and increased lifetime earning among the children and youth we serve.


Healing, Leading, Changing: Addressing Childhood Trauma Caused by Racism

Childhood trauma is more than having one bad experience. It is an accumulation of experiences that lead to toxic stress which, if left unaddressed, harms children and prevents them from thriving now and in the future. Racism is an under-recognized and often invisible form of childhood trauma.

Bright Promises is investing in solutions that address youth trauma caused by racism. We are providing community organizations with the capital and support to develop, test, implement, evaluate, document, and disseminate strategies for addressing childhood trauma caused by racism.

Over the next six years, Bright Promises will invest more than $2 million in community organizations to help scale existing programs, create new programs, and broadly share best practices for addressing the trauma caused by racism. According to the 2016 study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation "Self-Healing Communities", this investment in trauma-informed care for BIPOC children and youth in Metro Chicago could yield up to $59.5 million in savings from the public services costs, lost tax revenue, and productivity loss that result when childhood trauma is left unaddressed.


EQUIP: Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program

The importance of early childhood education is clear: if a child is already at a disadvantage before kindergarten, they are much more likely to struggle throughout the rest of their life. Furthermore, researchers, experts, and policymakers all agree that we must invest in early childhood education to ensure a strong workforce, robust economy, and safe communities in the future. This is why Bright Promises created the Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) to support early childhood education agencies focused on improving the lives of economically vulnerable children in Cook County.

The social conditions compounded by COVID-19 have made access to high-quality early childhood education more important than ever before, requiring early childhood centers to respond to a shifting array of needs and offer services that encompass entire families. With the number of demands put on childcare centers, the ability to have resources earmarked for quality and capacity enhancement rather than "putting out fires" is essential. In 2021,through the Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP),Bright Promises partnered with 7 early childhood agencies across Metro Chicago to help address their quality and capacity improvement needs.


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