Bright Promises Foundation honors local heroes and announces grants at 2022 Awards

Celebrating over 150 years of impact on October 25, 2022

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bright Promises Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit that addresses the under-recognized needs of children and youth by investing in innovative programs and building the capacity of community organizations, will celebrate over 150 years of transforming the lives of Chicagoland youth on Tuesday, October 25 at the Bright Promises 2022 Awards.

Each year, Bright Promises Foundation presents awards to individuals who deeply embody our mission to create opportunities for every young person to live a better life and have a brighter future. This year, Bright Promises will recognize three outstanding leaders of the child-serving community whose commitment to and belief in building a better Chicago for our children and youth serves as an inspiration and model for us all.

On Tuesday, October 25, Bright Promises Foundation will honor the following changemakers:

Andrea Palmer, Program Director, Pritzker Children's Initiative (2022 Champion for Children Award)

Cathy Krieger, founder and recently retired Executive Director, Children's Place Association(2022 Lifetime Achievement Award)

Devon VanHouten-Maldonado, Director of Programs, SkyART (2022 Elevating Youth Voices Award)

In addition, at the 2022 Awards Bright Promises Foundation will announce multi-year grants to 22 local Chicagoland nonprofits serving tens of thousands of youth in over 50 zip codes across Metropolitan Chicago.

These grants are focused on supporting children's social and emotional learning as they recover from the devastating psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and on addressing the mental and physical toll that childhood trauma caused by racism takes on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) children and youth. Collectively, these grants will support the healing and healthy development for many of the most vulnerable children and youth in Chicago communities.

The Bright Promises 2022 Awards will be hosted at the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W 19th St, Chicago, IL) in Pilsen, a community where many of the young people that Bright Promises serves live and go to school.

The event will feature a cocktail reception with live music, open bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres, private access to the museum galleries including the popular Día de Muertos exhibition, opportunities to interact with local Chicago youth, and an inspiring speaking program. The 2022 Awards will also be live streamed to a virtual audience free of charge. Tickets for the in-person and livestream event can be purchased online at

Event Details:

Elevate: Bright Promises 2022 Awards

In-Person and Livestream Event

Tuesday, October 25; 6:00p-9:00p

National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W 19th St, Chicago, IL)

Honoring Andrea Palmer, Cathy Krieger, and Devon VanHouten-Maldonado

Learn more and register at

2022 Honoree Bios:

Andrea Palmer

Program Officer, MK and JB Pritzker Family Foundation's Children's Initiative

Andrea has dedicated her professional career in service of children. Through her more than thirty years in public health, Andrea has a wealth of expertise in the development, implementation and administration of systems, services and supports for families at risk for poor health, educational and economic outcomes.

As a member of the Pritzker Children's Initiative team, Andrea leads the Foundation's strategy to address the needs of expectant mothers and newborns with the goal of reducing the number of pre-term births and the evident racial disparities that exist in birth outcomes. Before joining the foundation early in 2019, Andrea served as Chief of the Illinois Department of Public Health's Division of Maternal, Child and Family Health Services, where she oversaw the State's Infant Mortality Reduction initiatives, Regional Perinatal Health services, School-Based Health Centers and adolescent health programs.

She was also the Director of Illinois' Maternal and Child Health Services, overseeing the state's Title V Block Grant, facilitating the ongoing assessment of the State's maternal and child health needs and the establishment of statewide priorities and objectives. During her tenure with the State, she also managed the Teen Parent Services, Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon programs, and played an integral role in the development and implementation of Illinois' Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation program(MIECHV). Andrea also serves as a National Advisory Committee member for the March of Dimes- Mom and Baby Action Network.

Andrea is steadfast in her commitment to removing structural barriers and creating opportunities for children in Chicago and Illinois to thrive and have positive life outcomes. When asked what motivates her to be an advocate for children, Andrea shared, "I believe in the life-course theory and that the experiences and circumstances within which children are born and grow can impact not only their own lives but those of their children. It's important to identify and dismantle those systems and practices that jeopardize the outcomes of children and create the environment, institutionally, interpersonally and structurally, for children to thrive and grow."

Cathy Krieger

Executive Director (retired), Children's Place Association

With nearly four decades of nonprofit experience, Cathy Krieger has dedicated her career to improving the lives of vulnerable children. She was the founding CEO of Children's Place Association, a creative nonprofit that pioneered comprehensive services for children with AIDS and then expanded its reach to help those struggling with other issues. Since opening 30 years ago it has provided life-changing services for thousands of Chicago area children. In 2021, Children's Place launched Child Thrive, a new initiative in West Humboldt Park - a high-need area struggling with gun violence and the impact of structural racism. Child Thrive will expand resources in this underserved neighborhood, including access to primary care, mental health, youth mentoring and economic development in collaboration with partners Rush University Medical Center, JPA and West Humboldt Park Development Council.

Cathy Krieger is a visionary leader who combines intelligence, creativity and compassion to serve the most vulnerable...and achieve results. She is motivated by the conviction that all children, regardless of health or economic status, deserve the chance to lead their best lives. Her creative, client-focused vision has been the hallmark of Children's Place since it opened in 1991. Under her leadership, the organization earned a reputation as one of the best managed, most mission-driven nonprofits in Chicago.

Prior to joining Children's Place, Krieger served as Director of Social Services for the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic in Chicago. She has also worked as a social worker and counselor at Help, Inc., Juvenile Protective Association and the Salvation Army Tom Seay Center. Krieger is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work, cum laude, from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She also holds a Master's Degree in Theology, cum laude, from Trinity International University.

Upon her recent retirement, we asked Cathy to reflect on her decades of service to Chicago children and youth. "It was an opportunity of a lifetime for me to lead Children's Place Association from its inception as an organization for children and families living with HIV/AIDS during the height of the epidemic to its current focus on working with communities battered by decades of disinvestment to create better environments and futures for children and families, Cathy shared. "Along the way, I witnessed the most amazing collaboration of individuals from every walk of life, income level, race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, focusing on a mission that seemed both impossible and absolutely essential--- helping kids in the very worst circumstances live full and worthwhile lives."

Devon VanHouten-Maldonado

Director of Programs, SkyART

Devon VanHouten-Maldanado is dedicated to empowering young people to use their voices through art. He serves as the Director of Programs at SkyART and teaches in the programs he directs. This experience allows him to guide the organization in being as responsive as they can to the needs of the communities they serve.

Devon oversees three pillar programs: SkyWAY, a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) centered program for young artists ages 7-13, Project 3rd Space, SkyART's immersive program for teens and young adults, and Project Impact, our free art therapy program. Devon also work directly with incarcerated youth as part of SkyART's Just-Us program, which provides art therapy programs for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated young people. He is dedicated to giving youth a voice and reaching those who seem unreachable.

VanHouten-Maldanado has worked in incarcerated spaces for over 10 years. In October 2022, Devon will present a show on and about youth incarceration called "Can You See Me?". This show aims to elevate and legitimize the healing arts for a range of audiences, to position SkyART as leaders in juvenile justice arts programming, and to foster collaboration with other organizations doing work inside and outside the system. Devon's goal is to humanize youth involved in the juvenile justice system, creating a fuller portrait of these youth.

When asked what inspires him to serve Chicago children and youth, Devon responded, "Chicago's young people inspire and serve me just as much as I 'serve' them! I am continually blown away by their collective creativity, resilience and passion, even in the face of generational trauma, historic inequity and systemic racism. As an artist by formation and training, young people inspire me to approach life and its challenges with the lens of a child, without the preconceived notions and biases of adulthood. In the same way, we can and should approach many of the challenges facing our society with the creativity and openness children possess naturally and, unfortunately, adults often lose as we grow up."

2022 Grant Recipients:


Arab American Action Network


Changing Children's Worlds Foundation

Chicago Children's Advocacy Center

Children's Home + Aid

Chicago Freedom School

Chicago Youth Centers

Christopher House

Concordia Place

Family Focus

Girls Inc Chicago

Illinois Afterschool Network

Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY)

Love, Unity, & Values Institute

Northwest Side Housing Center

Palenque - Logan Square Neighborhood


Trinity United Church of Christ Early

Childhood Centers



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. Learn more at