Focus Panel Process Determines Latest Focused Funding Initiative
Bright Promises employs a unique and innovative model to address the most pressing issues impacting low-income Metropolitan Chicago children, targeting issues that are currently under-recognized and under-funded in Illinois. Through research and discussion with leading children’s experts, every 4-6 years Bright Promises identifies, develops, and supports programs that address emerging and/or under-addressed issues that create barriers to children leading positive lives.
Our goal is to create measurable change that will last beyond the initiative, resulting in permanent improvements that will meet the needs of children now and in the future. Permanent changes include better public policy, increased access to needed services, better trained personnel and new or improved services for children. We achieve these goals by:
- Providing multi-year funding to high-quality organizations helping them to implement, improve and expand their programs so that that can become models and leaders;
- Measuring and evaluating outcomes across partner organizations with the assistance of an expert external evaluation team;
- Sharing outcomes to spread awareness about the issue;
- Creating networks of providers through intentional collaboration who can continue to implement the focus strategy.
During 2020, Bright Promises convened two panels of experts to determine the topic for our next Focused Funding initiative that will launch in 2021. These panels comprised of leaders in the fields of early childhood education, children’s mental health, policy and advocacy, homelessness, childhood trauma, violence prevention, pediatric medicine, immigrant and refugee services, and disability services.
The first panel made up of experts from a broad range of fields came together to define what is the need. These experts were encouraged to think "big picture" and identify trends, emerging and under-recognized needs, and gaps in services and funding. From this conversation, together with Bright Promises staff and Program & Advocacy Committee, these experts recommended a single issue that impacts a significant number of Chicago children, that is currently not being adequately being addressed, and that is able to be improved through Bright Promises efforts. The second panel consisted of experts within the identified field of need and focused on strategy, exploring the question of how Bright Promises can address this issue. The second Focus Panel helped create recommendations for the goal of the new program strategies to achieve goals.
Based on the recommendations of these experts, our next focus issue was selected. Bright Promises is now developing the guidelines for our newest Focused Funding initiative, which will launch this year. We wish to thank all the experts who offered their knowledge and passion to this process.
The public announcement of Bright Promises latest Focused Funding issue will take place in March, 2020. Stay tuned for more information.
The following experts participated on the 2020 Focus Funding panels:
- Christine Achre, Chief Executive Officer, Primo Center for Women and Children
- Tim Carpenter, State Director, Council for a Strong America/ Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
- Candace Coleman, Community Organizer – Racial Justice, Access Living
- Maricela Garcia, Chief Executive Officer, Gads Hill Center
- Dr. Linda Gilkerson, Professor, Erikson Institute
- Aimee Hilado, Wellness Program Senior Manager, RefugeeOne
- Curtis Peace, Executive Director, Illinois After School Network
- Jenny Pinkwater, Executive Director, Illinois Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics
- Alec Ross, Director of Clinical Operations , Juvenile Protective Association
- Jacqulyn Hamilton, Wellness Coordinator, Chicago Freedom School
- Scherezade Tillet, Executive Director, A Long Walk Home
- Christian Diaz, Director of Housing, Logan Square Neighborhood Association
- Rachel Hauben-Combs, Director of Development, Storycatchers Theatre
- Ryan Keesling, Founder and Executive Director, FreeWrite Arts and Media
- Marlita White, Director, Office of Violence Prevention and Behavioral Health, City of Chicago
- Bela Mote, CEO, Carole Robertson Center
- Clinton Boyd, Post Doctoral Associate at Duke University, Power of Fathers Program