Erikson Institute

aka Erikson   |   Chicago, IL   |


Erikson Institute is the premier independent institution of higher education committed to ensuring that all children have equitable opportunities to realize their potential. Recognized for groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood, we uniquely prepare child development, education, and social work leaders to improve the lives of young children and their families. Our impact and influence are further amplified through our innovative academic programs, applied research, knowledge creation and distribution, direct service, and field-wide advocacy. Because nothing matters more than a child’s early years, Erikson educates, inspires, and promotes leadership to serve the needs of children and families so that all can achieve optimal educational, social, emotional, and physical well-being

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Dr. Geoffrey A. Nagle PhD, MPH, MSW

Main address

451 N. LaSalle Street

Chicago, IL 60654 USA

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NTEE code info

Graduate, Professional(Separate Entities) (B50)

Family Services (P40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Erikson Institute is passionately committed to helping every child reach his or her potential and supporting children and families in every way possible. We believe that we are uniquely qualified as educators, researchers, and citizens to realize this vision. Erikson’s leadership in the field for over 50 years supports children in achieving the highest level of educational, social, emotional and physical well-being. Our principal mission to serve young children, families and communities throughout Chicago and beyond remains of the utmost importance as we deepen our role as an agent for change in the early childhood arena in the years to come.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Graduate Education

We offer the most comprehensive, interdisciplinary understanding of children and families available through classes at our downtown campus and online. Our students come to us with a range of different life experiences and interests. As graduates, they pursue career paths that reflect the diversity of their backgrounds as well as the preparation they receive. From social workers to child development professionals, classroom teachers to child life specialists, Erikson graduates find a professional niche, making an impact on the lives of children and families everywhere.

Master's Degree Programs:
• Child Development
• Child Development/Policy & Law
• Early Childhood Education
• Online Early Childhood Education
• Online Child Development
• Social Work

Ph.D. Program:
• PhD in Child Development

Graduate Certificates:
• Child Development Certificate
• Early Childhood Bilingual/ESL Certificate
• Early Childhood Education Endorsement
• Early Childhood Language & Literacy Certificate
• Early Childhood Leadership & Advocacy Certificate
• Early Childhood Social & Emotional Learning Certificate
• Early Childhood Special Education Certificate
• Early Childhood STEM Certificate
• Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate
• Infant Specialist Certificate
• Post-Master’s Early Childhood Education Licensure

Population(s) Served

With our Continuing Education programs, participants can learn from experts in the field and benefit from Erikson’s over 50 years of pioneering work with young children and their families. Through courses, workshops, webinars, learning institutes, and customized on-site staff development, Erikson helps further then education of thousands of working professionals each year. Continuing education programs and consulting are research-based and focus on:

• Early intervention
• Teaching and learning
• Infancy (online courses)
• Social work practice

Population(s) Served

• Early Teaching and Learning Academy (ETLA):
Four years ago, the Illinois State Board of Education began requiring kindergarten teachers in Illinois public schools to observe and report on all children’s readiness to learn in three key developmental areas—language and literacy, math, and social and emotional learning—within the first 40 days of arrival. This tool, known as the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), provides Erikson Institute with a pivotal opportunity to evolve our professional development approaches with a laser focus on the data- driven outcome of improving kindergarten and first-grade readiness by working with teachers in the earliest grades (pre-k and kindergarten). Faculty and staff from Erikson’s literacy, math, and social emotional learning teams have now collaborated to develop a shared organizational structure and systems, called the Early Teaching and Learning Academy, to respond to the emerging professional development needs of teachers, schools, and districts that best support the measures outlined in KIDS. The will draw upon 30 years of applied research, integrate expertise across learning domains (e.g., language and literacy, math, and social emotional learning), and expand capacity for program evaluation and continuous improvement. The Academy also will serve as a hub for supporting innovation in professional development, identifying effective models and interventions, and sharing best practices. One of the first strategies for promotion of the Academy’s mission was the Big Ideas in Early Learning summer institute. After its third year, the Bid Ideas summer institute has provided high-quality early childhood professional development to over 300 educators from across the nation.
Early Teaching and Learning Academy program offerings:

o Language and Literacy Partners (LLP): LLP supports teachers and administrators in adopting and refining instructional practices that cultivate young children’s literacy skills. Our Balanced Literacy Framework is specifically designed to support PreK – 3rd grade teams through an in-depth study of literacy practices that supports:
-Listening and speaking
-Reading and writing
-Home language and dialect and the academic language of school
-Skill learning and high-level thinking
-Whole group and small group instruction with individual conferring and conversation
-School and home partnerships

o Early Math Collaborative (EMC): The Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute expands access to math for young children by reaching child care providers, early childhood teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and other stakeholders through professional development, research, publications, conference presentations, and a robust online presence. EMC’s work is rooted in a set of foundational math concepts that called “Big Ideas.” These concepts are fundamental to a young child’s understanding of mathematics and can be incorporated into any early childhood curriculum. EMC’s work helps to reduce anxiety around the teaching of math in the early years. When educators are comfortable teaching math, they can instill a positive mindset for a lifetime of mathematical learning and thinking.

o Social Emotional Learning Initiative (SELI): Through the guiding philosophy of ‘love causes learning’, the SELI at Erikson Institute provides professional development for teachers and school staff, direct service with children and parents, and conducts research to help schools become more compassionate and productive places, from top to bottom. SELI specializes in using whole-child development principles, brain science, and culturally-responsive and trauma-sensitive lenses to infuse social emotional learning and mindfulness strategies as a natural part of the school day rather than an “add-on.”

• Facilitating Attuned Interactions (FAN): Erikson trains and consults with organizations that want to learn our approach to building better relationships with parents. This approach is called Facilitating Attuned Interactions. FAN’s ultimate goal is strengthening the provider-parent relationship, resulting in parents who are attuned to their children and ready to try new ways of relating to them. Although created for Erikson’s Fussy Baby Network, FAN can be applied beyond issues of infancy and can be thought of as both a conceptual framework and a practical tool for building relationships in a wide range of settings.

• Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center: Erikson Institute’s innovative TEC Center is a trusted source for digital-age educators and parents seeking information about the intersection of child development, early learning, and children’s media for children up to age 8. Through carefully selected resources and real-world examples, the TEC Center strengthen educators’ digital literacy and their ability to intentionally select, use, integrate, and evaluate technology in the classroom and other early childhood settings. TEC’s thought leadership augments our mission, with expertise in social-emotional learning, early literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, family engagement, media mentorship, and teacher preparation.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Beyond our groundbreaking education and professional development programs, we deepen our impact by providing service and support to children and families on our campus, in homes, and in community-based settings. All of our services are rooted in the latest scientific research and our staff’s extensive knowledge of how children grow and develop within a family, community, and culture, ensuring that all the families we serve benefit from Erikson’s expertise.

Erikson’s Clinical and Community Services:

Center for Children and Families (CCF)
At Erikson Institute’s Center for Children and Families, our team of psychologists, social workers, developmental and behavioral pediatricians, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and other licensed mental health professionals offer emotional and behavioral treatment options and are deeply dedicated to helping parents and important caregivers better understand their child’s struggles. At our main clinic site in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, as well as our satellite sites in Little Village, Austin, and Humboldt Park, CCF’s team works with families to find positive ways to support his or her lasting growth.

CCF service offerings:
• Pediatric Mental Health Services
CCF provides pediatric mental health services for families with young children, with an exclusive focus on pre-natal to 5 years old and their parents.
• Neurodevelopmental Diagnostic Services from an Interdisciplinary Team
CCF offers neurodevelopmental diagnostic evaluations for children from age 3 through age 8. This time in a child’s life is one of unparalleled physical, social, and emotional development — it is the foundation for long-term well-being and success.
• Interdisciplinary Assessments
Our team will evaluate your child’s development in all domains: physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and sensory/motor. This distinctive, interdisciplinary approach is at the heart of what we do at the Center for Children and Families. It is what separates us from other behavioral and mental health clinical services in the Chicago area. We provide:
-Child-Parent Psychotherapy with parent and developmental guidance
-Comprehensive assessments
-Neurodevelopmental diagnostic evaluations
-Early intervention medical diagnostic services for 0-3 year olds

Fussy Baby Network (FBN)
While infant crying is a part of normal infant development, around 20% of infants cry excessively. Excessive and persistent crying which lasts past 5 months places infants at risk for abusive head trauma, parent/child relationship distress, and behavioral and learning problems. Mothers and fathers are also at greater risk for depression, anxiety, and lower self-confidence as parents. FBN was founded in 2003 as a child abuse prevention program to reduce stress and risk around infant crying and promote infant and family well-being. FBN provides telephone assistance to families through the "Warmline", available Monday-Friday, in both English and Spanish. Home visiting is offered within a week of initial Warmline in person or virtually. Furthermore, FBN has expanded services beyond FBN families by offering virtual parent groups to any family in need of support. A weekly drop-in group, Caregiver Corner is conducted via Facebook and offers informal time for families to gather and offer mutual support to one another.

Early Childhood Project
Our Early Childhood Project, a collaboration with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, provides clinical assessments, consultations, and other services to vulnerable young children involved with the child welfare system. In Illinois, most of the children served by DCFS are younger than 5 and have experienced abuse and neglect. Our work focuses on offering children and their parents support by interrupting patterns of abuse to create positive outcomes for children and families. Our developmental specialists are experts who understand the needs of young children who have experienced significant trauma and support DCFS in making critical decisions that affect the lives of young children and their families.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Erikson’s research focuses on many different areas of the early childhood field, including early childhood care, early childhood education, and family support. Specifically, our community initiatives with children and families or the professionals who work with them are a key element of our research. We partner with schools, social service agencies, hospitals, and more to generate new knowledge, invigorate our academic courses, and improve life for children and families in Chicago and throughout the nation.

• Herr Research Center
The Herr Research Center at Erikson Institute helps bring our research projects to fruition by fostering collaboration among our expert faculty and staff; identifying funding sources; and assisting with research design, data analysis, and the sharing of results. Our faculty and researchers have extensive experience in applied research, which seeks practical solutions to issues that affect young children and families. The Herr Research Center also helps share the results of our research with individuals who influence early childhood policy and create programs for children and families, including government officials, program administrators, advocates, and grant foundation officers.

Our studies have led to new community initiatives, such as a satellite clinic of Erikson’s Center for Children and Families on Chicago’s West Side, and we have provided guidance to public agencies, including the Illinois State Board of Education, our partner in our Birth to 3 Prevention Initiative Monitoring project.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Erikson Institute’s Policy and Leadership Lab aims to ensure all children receive equitable opportunities to achieve their full potential. As an accredited institution of higher education, Erikson is home to faculty and staff with vast knowledge in the fields of child development, social work, and early childhood education. Their expertise informs Erikson’s advocacy efforts, and they are considered credible sources for the education and medical fields, government, research organizations, and professionals who work with young children.

How we drive change:

• Early Childhood Leadership Academy
Our Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ECLA) provides leaders with dynamic and collective learning experiences to enhance their capacity to influence early childhood policy leading to positive outcomes for young children and their families.

We offer unique programs that equip decision-makers and influencers with the resources, skills, and deep knowledge about early childhood development that will support their efforts to make lasting change. Participants include leaders from the field of early childhood as well as elected officials, judges, heads of state agencies, members of law enforcement, board members, and community leaders. Our three leadership initiatives include:

1. Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows
Through this program, named after one of Erikson’s founders, we provide professionals, influencers, and service providers with evidence-based information, tools, and networking opportunities to enhance their ability to influence policy. This program builds a pipeline for future policy leaders from a pool of diverse practitioners who look like the people in the communities they serve, so that policy decisions are informed from the ground up and not made in silos or from positions of privilege.

2. McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows
This program is designed to provide highly influential leaders from multiple sectors with a credible, up-to-date, and research-based understanding of child development. Equipped with this information, leaders can make the most informed decisions about policy setting and resource allocation in their respective fields. Our Executive Fellows include: Local and State Officials, Judges, Senior Leaders of State Agencies, High-ranking Law Enforcement Officials, Civic and Business Leaders, Faith Leaders, and Superintendents and School Board Members

• Early Development Instrument (EDI)
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) Project is a neighborhood-level population measure that gauges the development of young children within the context of their community. This project, the first of its kind in Illinois, extends our commitment to improving the lives of young children by illuminating opportunities for community-driven policy recommendations.

Data derived from the EDI can be used to look back on how programs, services, and systems can be better coordinated based on strengths and needs. The data can also be used to identify trends and plan for children moving through the elementary school years. Erikson has completed the pilot phase and this groundbreaking tool is now available for communities.

EDI Locations:

Year I:
Greater East St. Louis, Illinois
City of Kankakee
Village of Bradley
Village of Bourbonnais

Year 2:
Village of Oak Park

Year 3:
Central Skokie/Morton Grove Neighborhoods
City of Rockford

• Risk and Reach Report
The Illinois Risk and Reach Report developed by Erikson is a set of data tools that includes a comprehensive early childhood focused report and interactive website compiling an analysis of child well-being indicators in relation to state investments in three domains: Family Stability, Health, and Early Care and Education. The Report informs governmental and nongovernmental early childhood stakeholders who make policy and funding decisions. Data are visualized through tables and maps in three categories:

RISK — An analysis of 15 indicators representing risk factors that affect child well-being and development;
REACH — An assessment of the availability and distribution of 17 publicly funded programs and services by geography;
FISCAL SCAN — An analysis of public investments for families with young children comparing the most recent fiscal years

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools - 10 Year Accreditation 2019

Council on Social Work Education 2016

Affiliations & memberships

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) 1966

Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) 1970

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of projects philanthropically funded per year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Number of participants that have completed the Early Childhood Leadership Academy per year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Policy and Leadership

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Graduate degrees conferred per year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Graduate Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Percentage of students that receive scholarships per year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Related Program

Graduate Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of pro-bono treatment and assessment service hours provided to underserved, low income children and families through our Center for Children and Families

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Infants and toddlers, Families

Related Program

Clinical and Community Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

By bringing the newest scientific knowledge and theories of children’s development and learning into graduate education, professional training, community programs, and policymaking, our goal is to improve the lives of children and families.

Erikson Institute was one of the first institutions in the country to recognize the importance of a child’s early years. Today, our groundbreaking work continues to define us as pioneers in the field of early childhood and leaders in the essential work to make a positive difference for children, families, and communities.

With an exclusive focus on educating, serving, and leading in the early childhood field, our work to improve the lives of young children and their families is supported by four pillars:

-Innovative academic programs

We are the premier graduate school in child development and a leader in continuing education for professionals who work with young children and their families. On our downtown Chicago campus and through distance learning, we uniquely prepare adults to become informed leaders and practitioners. We offer a range of advanced degrees and certificate programs in child development, early childhood education, and social work.

-Direct service in the community

Our students, faculty, and staff provide a wide range of direct services to children and families in Illinois. More than 7,000 families have been served by our Fussy Baby Network, Center for Children and Families, and Early Childhood Project, a partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Each year, our students put in more than 35,000 hours of field service at 61 agencies serving 1,500 children and their families.

-Applied research

Erikson's current research projects respond directly to the needs of young children and the people who serve them by focusing on what works and how and on models that can be replicated. Our groundbreaking research includes several studies that are the first of their kind in the field on topics including home visiting, mindfulness interventions in the classroom, and home-based child care.

-Field-wide policy advocacy and influence

Our Policy and Leadership team works collaboratively with communities and their leaders to inform policy and systems change that ensures all children receive equitable opportunities to achieve their full potential. We do this through three initiatives:
Early Childhood Leadership Academy
Early Development Instrument (EDI) Project
Risk and Reach Report

Erikson is guided by strong leadership to meet its objectives. Erikson's Board of Trustees demonstrates a deep commitment to preserving and enhancing the Institute. For over 50 years, trustees have skillfully guided Erikson through its metamorphosis from a small, local, and unaccredited institution to a highly respected national leader in the field, with a strong endowment, national student body, and innovative, accredited academic programs. In addition to their strong financial support, trustees play a critical role in building greater awareness of Erikson's activities and impact in the Chicago community and beyond, helping to identify and attract new sources of support. For more than 10 years, the board has participated vigorously in several large initiatives that have contributed significantly to the preservation and enhancement of the Institute.

Erikson's president, Dr. Geoffrey Nagle, is an internationally recognized leader in the early childhood field. Under his leadership, Erikson has successfully launched a Master of Social Work degree program, the first in the nation to integrate a child development perspective into a social work curriculum. He has also deepened Erikson's advocacy efforts and relationships at the community level, and he created a new Early Childhood Leadership Academy to provide advocates and lawmakers with an informed understanding of how policy shapes programs and practices in early childhood.

Erikson's senior management team works in partnership with the president to set policy, discuss organizational issues from the leadership perspective, and problem-solving. This group is comprised of the Chief Financial Officer, Chief External Affairs Officer, Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs, and Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Planning. With over 200 full-time employees and over 50 years since our founding, Erikson has the workforce and experience to achieve its goals and objectives.

Some of Erikson Institute's recent accomplishments include:

-Enrollment in Erikson’s academic programs has seen significant increases over the past several years. The class entering in the Fall 2019 was our largest ever with 168 new students enrolled (12 % growth over the previous year). Our new class brings the total number of Erikson students to an all-time high of 438.

-This past year, our Center for Children and Families provided mental health services to over 600 patients and over 1,540 pro-bono treatment hours across all clinic sites. At our satellite site in Little Village, we provided 650 hours of assessment and mental health treatment. Here, clinicians support between 20-25 families and the same number of children during 40-45 weekly sessions.

-Erikson has recently launched the Early Teaching and Learning Academy, an intellectual and educational hub that integrates resources and expertise at Erikson to focus services, research, and advocacy on teaching and learning from birth through age eight.

-In January 2020, Erikson partnered with Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton to provide a customized childhood trauma-focused session of the MFEF program for 23 cross-sector leaders working directly with Governor Pritzker’s Justice, Equity and Opportunity (JEO) Initiative.


Erikson Institute

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Erikson Institute

Board of directors
as of 1/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Elenne Song

Michelle Collins

Ashley Netzky

Ed Loeb

Catherine Adduci

Eric Adelstein

Barbara Bowman

Ikram Goldman

Sabrina Gracias

Steve Gradman

Sheryl Bellick

Lewis Ingall

Mitchell Lederer

Shirley Madigan

Richard Chesley

Judy McCaskey

Diane Meagher

Kate Neisser

Kathy Pick

John Hines

Cari Sacks

Joy Segal

Sara Star

Sandy Killion

Sandra Sterling

Eve Tyree

A Mack

Adrienne White-Faines

Brian Parsonnet

Marjorie Poulos

Lori Laser

Jenni Sorenson

Susan Stone

Dianne Wasieleski

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/27/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/27/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.