Our mission is to partner with youth and adults to build brighter futures through supportive relationships and life-changing programs.

We do this by providing creative youth development and adult social services that help people build the skills they need to transcend systemic barriers and lead fulfilling lives.

Chicago Lights believes every person should have access to the resources they need to overcome economic and social barriers so they may achieve their ambitions.

Our History

Chicago Lights is the youth development and adult social services nonprofit at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Our programs grew from the church’s commitment to social justice and compassionate service, beginning with the founding of the Tutoring program in 1964.

In 1964, Fourth Presbyterian Church partnered with residents in the former Cabrini-Green neighborhood to provide tutoring to young students. The commitment to education and literacy expanded and in 1991 gave rise to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which in 2004 was renamed Chicago Lights.

Fourth Presbyterian Church continues to be a vital source of funding and support for Chicago Lights, including providing close to half of our volunteers and covering a majority of our overhead costs.

Since the inception of Tutoring in 1964, Chicago Lights has partnered with more than 60,000 people. Today, we annually connect with 3,000 individuals through mentoring, supportive services, academic enrichment, and career development.

Our Impact

Students are paired one-to-one with caring volunteer mentors, who meet weekly to foster students’ academic and personal growth.


Of our seniors graduated from high school, (The average graduation rate at Chicago Public Schools hovers at 76%.)
In college and high school scholarships awarded to 29 Tutoring students to support their path toward high school graduation, college access, and successful careers.
Summer Day
Students stay engaged each summer through six weeks of academic, arts, and enrichment programming.
Of our students improved or maintained their language arts and math skills over the summer, bridging the summer learning gap.
Urban Farm

Free produce bags were distributed to 78 Cabrini Green residents and diabetes prevention patients at Winfield Moody Health Center.

Youth ages 5-24 participate in Urban Farm programming through summer camp, local school gardens, and workforce development for high school students and young adults with barriers to employment.
Pounds of produce were grown and distributed to the community.
Volunteers supported the growth of the Urban Farm through 855 hours of service.
Social Services


More than 2,200 adults partner with the Social Service Center each year.

People living on the streets received supplies and resources through our Street Outreach program.

Unique individuals worked with a case manager.
Individuals were nourished though our Food Pantry.

Our Staff

Chicago Lights Team

Our talented team is a compassionate and experienced group of individuals who work hard toward our mission each day.

Check out our team members and bios here.

Our Board of Directors

Our board of directors is a group of wise and generous individuals who help lead us toward our mission.

Learn more about our Board of Directors here.