Bright Promises Foundation announces Jim Hirsch as new Executive Director

January 14, 2022

New Leadership for Nonprofit Focused on Catalyzing Innovation in Services for Chicagoland Children and Youth

Bright Promises Foundation announced the official appointment of new Executive Director, Jim Hirsch, on January 10, 2022.

Iris Krieg, (now former) Bright Promises Executive Director, announced she would step down in October, 2021. During her 13-year tenure, Iris propelled Bright Promises Foundation to new levels of success. Krieg focused the Foundation’s grantmaking to address the most pressing issues Chicagoland children and youth face, tapping the expertise of leaders in the various fields focused on children and youth to drive innovation in children’s services.

“My decision to leave Bright Promises was a difficult one for me,” says Krieg, “Bright Promises is poised for significant growth in its programming and impact on children. I have been pleased to be a partner in bringing Bright Promises to the brink of these possibilities. With new staff leadership, Bright Promises will be able to fully realize its potential.”

This week, Bright Promises welcomed its new Executive Director, Jim Hirsch. Previously named on Crain Business Chicago’s “40 under 40” list of business leaders and Chicago Magazine’s 1998 Chicagoan of the Year, Hirsch brings more than four decades of experience leading nonprofits. His background, focused primarily on the arts, has included robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and the development of innovative youth programs.

"Having worked with non-profit organizations that served children, youth, and families through the arts, I have witnessed what happens when people receive support, encouragement, and opportunities to grow and achieve their potential,” says Hirsch. “I am excited to join Bright Promises Foundation because of our innovative grantmaking model and I look forward to continuing our history of service to the most vulnerable among us."

As Executive Director, Hirsch will work closely with the Bright Promises Board of Directors and staff to ensure Bright Promises continues to adapt and respond to children’s most pressing needs during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. This will include the expansion of the Foundation’s recently launched “Healing, Leading, Changing” initiative. This initiative is one of the only grant programs that exists in Chicagoland to fund youth programs that address the trauma caused by racism.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jim as the new Executive Director,” says Gaylord Gieseke, President of the Bright Promises Board of Directors. “His leadership will expand our capacity to address the under-recognized needs of Chicagoland children and youth and will launch Bright Promises from our 150 year history to the next level of reach and impact.”

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About Bright Promises Foundation

Bright Promises Foundation has been innovating social services for children since 1869. Our mission is to create opportunities for all children, no matter their background, circumstance, or zip code, to reach their full promise and potential. By advancing cutting-edge, evidence-based approaches from the idea stage to scalable solutions, Bright Promises drives vital innovation in services for disadvantaged children and youth in Metropolitan Chicago. 

Current issues that Bright Promises is working to address include supporting children's social emotional development, increasing access to high-quality early childhood education, and addressing the impact of racially based traumatic stress on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) children and youth.