Bright Promises has developed a targeted, coordinated response to helping children, youth and their families during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that the immediate and ongoing needs of low-income children and families are met.
First, to address the immediate needs of low-income Chicago children and their families during this time of crisis, we have launched the Bright Promises COVID-19 Response Fund. This fast-action response fund will support the immediate needs of low-income families. Emergency grants will be awarded directly to leading community organizations, providing a lifeline to agencies serving low-income families and ensuring that the organizations and infrastructure necessary for recovery remain intact. In addition to the Bright Promises COVID-19 Response Fund, the Foundation has redirected a significant portion of our annual budget to make emergency grants to support the COVID-19 response effort.
COVID-19 emergency grants will focus on four key areas of urgent need: Domestic abuse/child abuse services, food and shelter for homeless families, mental health services for children, and childcare for first responders and essential workers.
- Domestic abuse and child abuse prevention and services
As families are sheltered in place in their homes, abusive situations have been severely exacerbated. Witnessing or being a victim of domestic violence is one of the identified ACES, or causes of childhood trauma. Emergency grants will support services for abused and neglected children during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Food and shelter for homeless families
Homeless families are more vulnerable and impacted by the pandemic as they lack the safety and stability of a controlled home-environment. In this era of COVID-19, these vulnerable families are often shuffled from one place to another as individual staff or guests at shelters test positive, adding another layer of stress and uncertainty for children. Emergency grants will ensure that children and families experiencing homelessness have access to food and housing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Mental health support for children and youth
The pandemic is scary for children, especially those that were already in vulnerable situations. Access to mental health services for children are crucial for both those that were already receiving therapy/counseling and for whom a disruption in services would be devastating and for children that are experiencing anxiety about the current crisis. Many organizations are now offering mental health supports by phone or virtually. Emergency grants will help mental health providers adapt and expand their services to address the increased demand created by COVID-19.
- Childcare for first responders and essential workers
Health-care workers, custodial staff, grocery store-workers, delivery people, first responders and others must report to work. Many are at-risk of losing their jobs and the benefits afforded to them if they do not have access to reliable childcare, which jeopardizes the stability and safety of their children. Emergency grants will be awarded to early childhood centers to support operations during the COVID-19 crisis.
Visit our COVID-19 Response website to learn more about the Bright Promises COVID-19 Response Fund and make a gift to support low-income children during the COVID-19 crisis: https://www.brightpromises.org/covid-19-response-fund
Additionally, to support the broader COVID-19 response across our city and state, Bright Promises has also joined other funders and foundations in participating in Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund in partnership with the City of Chicago, United Way of Metro Chicago, and the Chicago Community Trust, which also supports the region's health and human service organizations that are experiencing a surge in demand for services from neighbors and communities significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Finally, as a public foundation, Bright Promises Foundation has the ability to serve as a home for joint funds and donor advised funds to support issues of the donor's choice related to the COVID-19 response effort. If you are interested in contributing to a joint fund through a family or private foundation, or establishing their own child-focused COVID relief fund, Bright Promises will manage the administration of the fund, ensuring resources are reaching organizations as quickly as possible. Foundations or individuals interested in partnering with Bright Promises through a joint fund or through the establishment of an donor advised fund should contact Bright Promises Director or Development Katherine Korey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-550-2775.