This article appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of the Erikson on Children newsletter, under the headline “A promise fulfilled.” More from this issue

In 2006, Erikson made a promise. A promise to give children, all children, a better start in life and a better chance for a healthy, productive future.

Erikson launched Fulfilling the Promise, an ambitious fundraising campaign, to help reach more children and families and the professionals who work with them. This summer, the five-year campaign surpassed its $30 million goal.

$50 million raised, FY2007–11
Honor roll pie

“Through their gifts of unprecedented generosity, Erikson’s donors are making our vision of unwavering excellence in early care and education a reality,” says Kate Neisser, chair of Erikson’s board of trustees. “The successful campaign also is a testament to the tireless efforts of campaign chairs Virginia (’90) and Norman Bobins and former board chair Dick Kiphart. Together, we are brightening horizons for young children and families nationwide.”

$30 million raised for
campaign priorities, FY2007–11
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More than $17 million in unrestricted donations helped Erikson purchase a permanent home in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. In 2008, after an extensive planning process, Erikson moved into a new building with double the number of classrooms to accommodate growing enrollment in the graduate program and twice the square footage.

The new campus enables Erikson to offer varied learning opportunities for many more early childhood professionals from master’s degree students to those attending professional development courses.

Growth in support, FY2002–11
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The campaign also helped Erikson lower the barriers for students who want to improve the work they do with the most vulnerable children and families. Donors gave nearly $3.9 million in support of student fellowships. Eighty percent of students, many of whom work with bilingual populations and in high-need areas, receive some form of financial aid. Some $1.6 million raised through the campaign supports faculty as they develop innovative new ideas and projects addressing critical issues such as curriculum development, diversity, math education, assessment, and more.

The Center for Children and Families, launched with $2 million in campaign gifts, extends clinical services to children and families throughout the Chicago area. Since 1999, more than 700 families have received counseling and other services from the center. Of those families, nearly 20 percent lived at or below the poverty level and received services at reduced or no charge.

Growth in donors, FY2002–11
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The New Schools Project, which was partially endowed with campaign gifts, partners with public and charter schools to build positive and powerful early education experiences for children in pre-kindergarten through third grade and helps close achievement gaps. Since 2005, the project has worked with 75 teachers and principals and improved the education of the 1,500 students in their classrooms.

Campaign donors also supported initiatives within the Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy, the Edward Neisser Library, and professional development.

While Erikson has moved closer to its promise of giving all children a better start, much more needs to be done. The Institute is planning to build on its groundbreaking work in early childhood math by expanding to science, engineering, and technology and to improve children’s developmental and educational outcomes by linking schools and communities. With the help of Erikson’s donors and volunteers, we will continue to work with children and their families where the pattern of success—or failure—is set.