About Us

ILCHF Vision & Philosophy

ILCHF has a single vision: that every child in Illinois grows up healthy. Working through grantee partners across the state, the Foundation focuses its grant making on identifying and funding solutions to the barriers that prevent children from accessing the ongoing health care they need, with a primary focus on children’s oral health and children’s mental health.

The Foundation’s philosophy is that health care must address the whole child, and that the healthcare system in Illinois must be responsive to the needs of all children. The Foundation is also committed to the concept of a medical/dental home where a child and his/her family can receive high quality and consistent care informed by knowledge of the child and family, has a primary focus on prevention and facilitates a strong relationship between those who comes in contact with a child.

ILCHF Mission

We cultivate, support, and promote initiatives that improve the health and wellness of children in Illinois.

ILCHF Guiding Principles

  1. We focus on the current and evolving healthcare needs of children, with an emphasis on prevention.
  2. We believe in closing the gap so all children in Illinois have access to quality healthcare.
  3. We believe collaboration is integral to our ability to make a difference.
  4. We commit to honoring diversity and inclusion in all that we do.
  5. We hold ourselves accountable to the highest ethical practices.
  6. We foster a culture of respect, trust and inquiry.
  7. We engage in exceptional financial stewardship.

ILCHF Healthy Children 2025

To enable every child in Illinois to grow up healthy, ILCHF, in collaboration with committed partners, will work to implement the following components of a comprehensive, holistic system of children’s health care:


Universal access to evidence-based primary, oral, and mental healthcare for children with an emphasis on fully integrated care.


The alleviation of children’s healthcare disparities.


Life-cycle health & wellness education for all children and caregivers.


Cross-disciplinary education of all healthcare providers.

ILCHF History

ILCHF was created in December 2002 through an action of then Attorney General Jim Ryan and an Illinois insurance carrier. This action and a settlement of approximately $125 million established Illinois’ only private foundation focused solely on the health needs of children across the state.

The Foundation awarded its first grants in December of 2004. Approximately $5.9 million funded 32 programs from throughout the state designed to improve access to pediatric health care; screen children for developmental delays; enhance the quality and accessibility of children’s mental health services; and, improve the oral health of Illinois children. In 2005 and 2006, giving focused primarily on strengthening the safety net system that delivers health care throughout Illinois to mostly underserved populations.

ILCHF announced its first significant initiative in its grant making efforts to more directly target oral health improvement. The Foundation committed to invest in efforts related to three overall oral health strategies: Building the capacity of the safety-net system, increasing the number of oral health professionals caring for underserved children and creating a greater awareness of the role oral health plays in the overall health of a child. To date ILCHF has invested more than $31 million to support its oral health strategies.

In 2009, ILCHF launched its Children’s Mental Health Initiative, Building Systems of Care, Community by Community. Four communities throughout the state of Illinois representing varying models and structures to build systems of care for children continue to provide community-based integrated mental health services for children. Healthy Minds. Healthy Children. Healthy Chicago. (H3) was funded in 2013. ILCHF continued its investment in integrated mental health/primary health services with this new initiative located at two FQHC’s, UIC’s Mile Square Clinic and Erie Family West Town Health Center. The 2016 Children’s Mental Health Access/Expansion Grants represent almost $4 million in two-yeaer grants to 15 organizations across the state who are working to expand children’s mental health services. To date ILCHF has invested more than $30 million in grants to support mental health initiatives.

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