Why We Exist

IAFCs 50-Year Anniversary

50 years of challenges and achievements, legislation and innovation, passion and purpose-, educators and advocates, kids and parents, progress and prosperity...

IAFC Timeline Greetings from Governor JB Pritzker

In the Beginning...

In 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, a small group of passionate, politically active women led by our founder, Sylvia Cotton (1913-2008), decided to take action in response to the way poverty was adversely affecting urban families. That's what drove Sylvia and her colleagues to ask the question no one else was asking... "What about the children?"

That simple question led to the formation of a grassroots organization, The Daycare Crisis Council, which eventually became Illinois Action for Children (IAFC). 2019 marks five decades that IAFC has worked to ensure that all children in Illinois - especially children living in poverty - have access to high-quality early childhood care, education, and other vital resources - and that parents are supported in their goals of economic self-sufficiency and stability. 

The needs of families have changed over these 50 years. New challenges have emerged, as have new opportunities. Over the course of our history, we have never wavered from our commitment to Illinois' children and families. Now, as we celebrate our golden anniversary, we recognize the great need that still exists - and pledge to continue working for the next 50 years - or however long it takes - to achieve the bright future we envision for all of our children and families. 

2019: Celebrating the Past - Embracing the Future

Illinois Action for Children is rooted in a rich history of advocacy, and community organizing and empowering children and families - especially families of color who are living in poverty. During this Golden Anniversary, we humbly recognize all that has led us to the organization we are today - and that will carry us into the next half of a century with even greater strength and resolve to create a better Illinois, where every child has a chance to succeed.

At this moment in time, there is tremendous opportunity to once again make Illinois a leader in early childhood care and education. With your generosity, Illinois Action for Children will continue to be at the forefront, leading the way to a brighter future for Illinois’ most fragile children, families, and communities.

IAFC has ambitious and transformational plans as we move into the next 50 years. However, we are keenly focused on the progress that, with your generosity, we can make now:

  • Educating parents about the importance of a strong foundation in early education and helping the, find ad enroll heir children in affordable, high-quality programs. 
  • Augmenting the scope of our program to provide personalized, intensive parent engagement and support-helping even more of Cook County's most at-risk families meet critical needs. 
  • Enhancing early childhood mental health services to help early learning professionals effectively manage, mitigate, and prevent behavioral issues that can disrupt learning in the classroom. 
  • Advocating for new state and national early childhood policies to ensure children receive a high-quality early education - no matter where they live. 
  • Increasing the number of degreed/credentialed early childhood professionals to fill the gap in Illinois' growing teacher shortage
  • Launching an emergency fund for families so they have the necessities to keep them safe, healthy, and moving toward their goals while ensuring their children attend school each day. 
  • Expanding opportunities for family members served by our Early Learning Programs to gain valuable job skills, while reaching out to more prospective Early Learning parents. 

Join Us

This is a year of celebration, culminating with our signature, annual fundraiser A Night to Shine, this fall. Thanks to donors, partners, providers, advocates, and families across Illinois, IAFC is a 50-year success story - but our story is far from over - and we cannot write it alone. 

Working together, we can fill the pages in the next chapter of IAFCs history with a bold new vision and transformational impacts - empowering our most vulnerable children, families and communities to soar to their greatest potential. Join with us to ensure our best is yet to come. 

A Case for Support

Over the last half century we have made great progress yet there is still a great deal to be done. 

Learn how your investment will make a significant impact now... and for the future. 

A Case for Support Brochure

We look forward to partnering with you. Place contact the development office to learn how you or your organization can create brighter futures for everyone.