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



Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning PhD

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 a mission to educate, inspire, and promote leadership that supports children and their families in reaching their fullest potential. By offering education, family services, research, and leadership, we strive to help all children achieve optimal educational, social, emotional, and physical well-being.

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.

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

Erikson Institute provides professional development and continuing education to organizations, groups, and individuals. These offerings include:

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Center for Children and Families (CCF)
CCF's team of psychologists, social workers, developmental and behavioral pediatricians, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and other licensed mental health professionals provide pediatric mental health & diagnostic services for children ages 0-8, as well as their families and important caregivers. CCF's main clinic site is located in Chicago's River North neighborhood, and includes satellite sites in the Little Village, Austin, and Humboldt Park.

Early Childhood Project
In collaboration with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, our team provides clinical assessments, consultations, and other services to young children involved with the child welfare system. 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. 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.

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 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

• Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ECLA)
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 families.

• Early Development Instrument (EDI)
The 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.

• 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.

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.

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

Holding steady

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.

Erikson Institute’s work is guided by a five-year strategic plan (2019-2023) which proposes to increase our impact through growth and collaboration: scaling up to reach a balance where Erikson, while still relatively small and focused, can extend our influence so that Chicago, and the nation at large, can gain a greater and more holistic appreciation for a child’s earliest years. Our organizational growth means more Erikson graduates in the field, more children and families directly served, more opportunities to disseminate expert knowledge and research, greater influence on policy, and more partnerships and pipelines for students through connectivity in and out of Erikson.

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 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 55 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 fifth president, Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning, began her leadership role at the Institute in September 2021. Prior to joining Erikson, Dr. Souto-Manning was the Professor of Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Erikson's senior management team works in partnership with the new 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, and Interim Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs. With over 200 full-time employees and 55 years since our founding, Erikson has the workforce and experience to achieve its goals and objectives.

Some of Erikson Institute's recent accomplishments include:

-Erikson has experienced five years of unprecedented enrollment growth, increasing its student body by an astounding 75% and enrolling over 500 students last academic year. As of fall 2021, our enrollment stands strong at 468 students, with little attrition resulting from the pandemic.

-Erikson’s Center for Children and Families’ (CCF) has remained a constant source of mental health support for the youngest children in communities throughout Chicago during the global health crisis. To provide a continuum of care during the pandemic, CCF adopted a HIPAA compliant video conferencing platform. From July 2020 to June 2021, a total of 319 families were supported by the early childhood mental health and diagnostic services provided by CCF. Over 4,300 service hours were provided to these families sitewide (in Chicago’s River North, Little Village, Humboldt Park, and Austin neighborhoods), 1,031 of which were offered pro-bono.

-Erikson has recently launched the Early Teaching and Learning Academy (the 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 partnership with Illinois State Board of Education’s Department of Early Childhood, the Academy is currently delivering a multi-dimensional professional development system of support to improve kindergarten readiness and bridge pre-k and kindergarten learning in Illinois over the next three years. The professional development will teach corollary practices, routines, and play-based activities that map to the state-mandated Kindergarten Individual Assessment Survey (KIDS) and help the State measure improvement over time.

-Erikson’s Policy and Leadership Department released the second edition of the Risk and Reach Report in July 2021, which features mostly 2019 data that provide a comprehensive, county-by-county analysis of Risk factors that undermine optimal child development for the 916,880 children aged 5 and under in Illinois (7.32% of the state’s population) and compares them to the Reach of publicly funded programs and services that support early childhood well-being


Erikson Institute

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


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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 2/21/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Elenne Song

Ashley Netzky

Catherine Adduci

Eric Adelstein

Barbara Bowman

Ikram Goldman

Sabrina Gracias

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

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 02/17/2022

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
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

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.