FY22 Annual Report
JULY 1, 2021 – JUNE 30, 2022
I sincerely hope that this finds you and those that are dear to you continually well and safe.
Leaving the store recently, a young man waited and held the door open for me to pass. I thought to myself, “he’s the exception these days.” And it made me sad. Sad to think that I might be correct. Sad to think that this world seems to have departed from the values that made us all caring, neighborly, and genuine. Even sadder to think that I’d allowed that reality to rob me of the power to see light, rather than darkness. As I walked to my car, I thought about many things. Chief among them, the lives that are incrementally changed every day by the work that we do here at Children’s Place Association.
Specifically, I thought about the now five-year-old who had a very rough start to his young life. Born two months premature and spending his first year in the neonatal intensive care unit, Danilo came to us immediately after his release from the hospital and stayed in our care until this summer, when he danced his way out of head start and into kindergarten, fully ready to conquer what lies ahead, thanks to our early learning program.
I thought about Lydie* growing up in Limonad, Haiti. In 2008, young Lydie and her family were referred to Children’s Place International’s northern Haiti program by their local clinic. Sadly, earlier that year, Lydie’s father passed away from AIDS, and her mother came to depend on CPI’s portfolio of services to support the family. As a result, they were able to access medical care, monthly food aid, housing assistance, counseling, and school support for Lydie and her three younger siblings. This support allowed the children to focus on their education. Following graduation from secondary school, Lydie decided to apply for medical school and is now in her second year. In a place like Haiti, where making it through primary school is out of reach for many children, a girl from a rural, impoverished farming area with numerous challenges making it to medical school is a marvel to cherish.
President & CEO, Children’s Place Association
As we close 2022 and look forward in the New Year, I want to reflect on 32 years of Service that my friend and colleague Cathy Krieger provided to Children’s Place Association and Chicago’s most vulnerable children.
Cathy spent a career serving children in need, tackling issues head-on and advocating for the poor and marginalized. With the launch of Child Thrive, Cathy and CPA expanded their mission to face Chicago’s violence epidemic. This past year was a big year for Child Thrive as we opened the Child Thrive Center and introduced services including mentoring, primary care access and mental wellness services to children and families in West Humboldt Park.
Continuing Cathy’s tradition of leadership and service, we are pleased to have Cinaiya Stubbs as our new President and CEO. Cinaiya has worked in non-profit in Chicago for the last 18 years, most recently as Executive Director of Chicago Youth Programs. Cinaiya is the ideal leader to take the torch from Cathy and continue her passion advocating for the youth of Chicago! I am humbled and excited to be a part of this organization who is committed to turning the most difficult situations into the most successful outcomes. In 2023, Children’s Place looks forward to continuing to serve Chicago’s most vulnerable and expanding the services of Child Thrive to improve the lives of children in the westside communities.
Please join me in thanking Cathy for her years of service and welcoming Cinaiya to the Children’s Place family!
Chairman, Board of Directors
Children’s Place Association
Pandemic-related challenges continued to abound in the form of limited resources, rising costs of food, supplies and labor, and more clients in crisis. Throughout the year, we experienced staffing shortages and operational challenges adapting to work from home employees, addressing technological needs of our home-based students as well as a marked increase in addressing complex clinical cases and foster home placement disruptions resulting from insufficient placement resources both within the agency as well as the larger child welfare system. What’s more, long waitlists for housing support and affordable housing buildings coupled with eligibility barriers for families living in shelters or not living on the streets resulted in families doubling up in inadequate housing situations. Mental health issues were also on the rise for our kids and families as was unemployment.
Yet, through it all, our dedicated staff found creative ways to continue helping client families access the vital services they need to stay together, learn and remain healthy while maintaining regulatory compliance, and delivering relevant and robust services to our clients. To our volunteers, donors, staff and leaders, we say thank you, for standing beside us and with us, and playing an instrumental role in our successes this year.
Child Thrive Launch
Child Thrive officially opened its doors in July of 2021 with a full suite of afterschool and summer programs for youth ages 6-18 in partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters (youth mentoring), Juvenile Protective Association (mental health), Rush Medical Center (primary care), and West Humboldt Park Development Council (economic development).
This year marked the joyous graduation of our preschool “pandemic” class – the young children who started with us in the 2020-2021 school year and have had their entire early learning experience shrouded by the pandemic. Thank you to Valmark Financial Group for providing the grant that sponsored this momentous day.
Lucy R. Sprague Summer Camp
This summer marked our 20th year offering a four-week summer camp for youth whose lives are impacted by their own or a family member’s serious illness and poverty. As in recent years, we partnered with Kids Playing Camps to offer campers a wide array of sports, arts, and cultural activities.
Head Start Expansion
Expanded eligibility enabled us to welcome and benefit families who do not fall below the federal poverty line but still have a great need for our services and helped mend the discrepancies between the federal data on poverty and that of Illinois and Cook County.
Congratulations to our Foster Care/Adoption Team
Foster Care/Adoption achieved a successful re-accreditation and renewal of our agency child welfare license, helping ensure we continue matching abused or neglected children into loving, stable homes.
In January 2022, Children’s Place Association’s Founding CEO & President, Cathy Krieger, retired after decades of helping some of Chicago’s most vulnerable kids and families, and passed the torch to new CEO & President, Cinaiya Stubbs.
The year provided the opportunity for three galas, a first annual Pickleball FUNdraiser, and establishing new connections by getting involved with Strides For Peace’s annual event – A Race Against Gun Violence.
Junior Board Gala
In May 2022, the Junior Board hosted its first live event in over 2 years – Around the World with the Junior Board – at The Arbory. Led by Junior Board Co-Presidents Maureen McCluskey and Breck Seitz and Event Co-Chairs Juliana and Rachel Joyner, the evening helped raise $25,000 in much-needed funds to help us continue to do our life-changing work.
Once Upon a Time Gala – A Speakeasy Soiree
Over 30 years of passion, purpose, and dedication culminated in an inspirational night traveling down memory lane, celebrating where we are, and sharing our vision of the all-important and urgent work that lies ahead. Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, the Gala Committee, led by Co-Chairs David Blocker and Matt Roma, came together and raised an impressive $185,000.
Putting the FUN in Fundraiser
Nearly 90 pickleball enthusiasts showed up for the First Annual Pickleball FUNdraiser at Maggie Daley Park and raised $7,000 in support of Children’s Place Association. Special thank you to @properties co-hosts Joie DeGraff and Wendi Gordon of Joie and Wendi Real Estate Group and long-time volunteer and donor, Fredi Bensdorf.
Strides for Peace – Race Against Gun Violence
Children’s Place joined over 50 local organizations this June to increase our collective impact working to end gun violence, save lives and build a stronger Chicago at Strides for Peace’s annual Race Against Gun Violence.
2022 Chicago Champion for Children Awardee
Farewell letter – Cathy
The work goes on….
In 1990, when I was hired as the CEO of Children’s Place Association, I never imagined that 30 years later the organization would have grown to serve 6,000 children in Chicago and another 10,000 in 9 countries overseas –— and that I would have had the pleasure of passing the torch to a new CEO and a new generation of leaders.
Under CEO Cinaiya Stubbs’ visionary leadership, Children’s Place continues to build a better tomorrow for Chicago’s most vulnerable children. I am so encouraged to see Cinaiya and her team build on the foundation of the last three decades, and I’m eager to see where her vision takes us.
Through foster care and adoptions, early childhood education, supportive family housing, summer camp, case management, mental health services, international work with kids and families in Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Dominican Republic, and the launch of Child Thrive a year ago, Children’s Place Association champions the needs of children, youth and families whose life circumstances are anything but just and equitable.
Thousands of children here in Chicago and overseas face better futures because of our mission-focused Board members, staff and volunteers, and of course, our generous supporters and partners.
My role has changed—I’m a cheerleader and supporter, as many of you are. And I can’t wait to see what’s next!