Chicago Lights provides hope and opportunity to our city’s children, youth, and adults who face the challenges of poverty. Through supportive relationships and diverse programs, we empower people to thrive academically, secure economic stability, lead healthy lives, and build community.
Chicago Lights offers five signature programs:
Chicago Lights grew from the commitment of Fourth Presbyterian Church to social justice and compassionate service. In 1991 that commitment gave rise to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which in 2004 was renamed Chicago Lights and significantly expanded in order to bring together under one banner several programs that continue to brighten the lives of nearly 4,000 individuals each year. Today, a professional staff and over 1,000 dedicated volunteers work to provide hope and opportunity to our city’s children, youth, and adults who face the challenges of poverty.
Chicago Lights’ commitment to education is part of our heritage, dating to the establishment of the Tutoring program in 1964. Steeped in a deep commitment to education and social justice, which is inherent in the Presbyterian denomination’s legacy of establishing colleges and universities and standing with people often disinherited by society, a small group of Fourth Presbyterian Church members headed to Cabrini-Green to offer tutoring to children in the newly established “projects.” Today, the commitment to education and literacy lives on and is greatly expanded.
Since the inception of Tutoring in 1964, we have served more than 50,000 people. Today, we annually serve more than 4,000 individuals of all races, ethnic backgrounds, and religious traditions. Our core service areas include one-to-one tutoring and mentoring, arts education, social services, and urban farming.