Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago, Inc.

The Place Where Awesome Lives

aka Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago   |   Glenview, IL   |  www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org

Mission

Kohl Children’s Museum has been a place for children, families, educators, and caregivers to learn through play while engaging in enriching, STEAM-based activities to encourage children’s imagination and curiosity since 1985. The mission of the Museum is to be a place that provides experiences and memories to build a foundation for a lifetime of learning. To spark these experiences, the Museum’s 17 interactive indoor exhibits and two acres of outdoor park provide the backdrop for children between birth and eight years of age to learn and grow through self-directed play. Each area of the Museum is designed for play with a purpose and encourage linguistic, cognitive, motor, and social skills for children.

Ruling year info

1994

President and CEO

Mr. Mike Delfini

Main address

2100 Patriot

Glenview, IL 60026 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-3706878

NTEE code info

Children's Museums (A52)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Play in the early years of a child's life is essential to brain development. Research shows that 80% of a child's brain capacity is developed by three years of age. The ability to play in informal environments, like a children's museum, allows for the connections of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago focuses on early childhood and the critically important time from birth to age eight when patterns for lifelong learning are set and fundamental building blocks of knowledge, such as language, basic math, and socio-emotional skills, are developed.
Research also shows that a school-readiness gap between higher and lower income children develops well before children begin kindergarten and that students who begin school behind have a tendency to remain behind for the rest of their academic careers. As a place that is specially designed for children to learn and grow through play, Kohl Children's Museum helps close the gap.

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?

Early Childhood Connections

The Museum's flagship outreach program works with childcare providers and educators from underserved communities in Cook and Lake Counties to improve teacher quality and ensure that the expertise in early learning that the Museum provides reaches those who need it most. The Early Childhood Connections program highlights the use of the Project Approach, a proven educational methodology that mirrors the interactive atmosphere of the Museum. Teachers integrate hands-on activities into the learning process and select umbrella projects in which their eager young students express interest.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

"Everyone at Play” allows children with special needs to explore the Museum’s exhibits and two acres of outdoor exploration space, during hours set aside just for them and their families, free of charge while the Museum is closed to the general public.

Everyone at Play events occur on six Sunday afternoons per year and provide the opportunity for safe, stimulating play designed to encourage linguistic, cognitive, motor, and social skills, in an environment of inclusion and acceptance. The Museum and its exhibits are specifically designed to be inclusive of children with all levels of ability, using principles of Universal Design, which go beyond mere accessibility. The exhibits employ multi-sensory experiences as educational tools, allowing children with any level of physical, visual, auditory, and cognitive ability to fully experience and enjoy the Museum. Staff trained in best practices in early childhood education enhance the self-directed play experience.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Children and youth

As part of our commitment to ensuring that every child and family has access to high-quality learning experiences right in their communities,  Kohl Children’s Museum launched the Mobile Learning Lab (MLL) in the summer of 2021. The MLL serves children and families in Lake County by bringing our programs to them directly, inspiring future generations in their own neighborhoods. The MLL visits locations in Waukegan, Round Lake Beach, Zion, and North Chicago.

Activities include: Design & Build – Explore the process of being an engineer through hands-on discoveries of circuits and elements of design and construction in building gadgets that move

Bug City – Be inspired by entomologist to become an insect expert as we make insect homes, observe caterpillars and ladybugs and explore coding bee robots

Exploration of Light – How does light pass through some material and not others, children explore translucent, transparent, and opaque with flashlights, sun catchers and shadow puppets

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Caregivers
Families
People with disabilities

Where we work

Accreditations

US Green Building Council--Silver-level LEED Certification 2005

Awards

10 Best Children’s Museums in the US 2020

USA Today

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Total number of paid admissions

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes daily visitors, members, corporate members, paid field trips, facility rentals. Numbers are by Fiscal Year

Total number of works exhibited

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The Museum features 17 interactive exhibits, including two acres of bounded outdoor space, all based on best research and practices of how children learn and grow through self-directed play.

Number of teachers completing Early Childhood Connections Training

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

Early Childhood Connections

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of free or discounted admissions.

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes individuals attending through the "Museums for All" initiative, the Museum's free outreach program events, and free field trips. Numbers are by Fiscal Year

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.

Goal 1: Establish Kohl Children's Museum's expertise in early childhood education by driving innovative programs and exhibits grounded in its core values.
Goal 2: Maximize and nurture current resources to strengthen the Museum's position for the future.
Goal 3: Communicate the fundamental role of the Museum impacting the holistic development of a child.

Goal 1 (Establish Kohl Children's Museum's expertise in early childhood education by driving innovative programs and exhibits):
• Create exhibits and programs responsive to educational, social/emotional, and cultural
needs of young children and families in the greater Chicago area
• Be a partner in learning for parents and families with children ages birth to eight
• Develop internal resources to ensure the Museum is self-sustaining in its capacities to
provide high-level professional development
Goal 2 (Maximize and nurture current resources to strengthen the Museum's position for the future):
• Maximize the number of high-engagement volunteers and recognize top performers
• Set and achieve fundraising goals
• Diversify recruitment efforts (of board and staff)
Goal 3 (Communicate the fundamental role of the Museum impacting the holistic development of a child):
• Identify key audiences and develop appropriate messaging and communication avenues
• Build awareness through social media and word of mouth and build a stronger network of
families, both present and alumni
• Become the place of choice for quality educational and family time for families with young
children in Cook and Lake counties, with an emphasis on reaching underrepresented
communities

Every day since its founding in 1985, children have been learning and discovering the power of play at Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago. During its 35-year history, Kohl Children's Museum has witnessed dramatic growth. The Museum and its educational programs for young children were in such demand that the Museum moved from its original Wilmette, IL, facility, where attendance was 47,000 in 1985, to its current location in Glenview, IL, where attendance averaged 300,000 prior to the pandemic. The move in 2005 was essential to secure the Museum's future, fulfill its mission, expand its outreach to underserved children, and transform the institution.
The Museum provides a world-class venue where all children, regardless of any challenges they face, can play, explore, and learn in an environment built specifically for them. Since its inception, the Museum has been at the forefront of early childhood education, and it has remained a thought leader and innovator because of its commitment to evaluation and improvement. Built to the principles of Universal Design–which exceed ADA requirements–and consistently updated, the Museum has established itself as a welcoming and inclusive environment. The Museum serves as a crossroads for children and families, teachers, students, and caregivers from diverse backgrounds who come together to experience enrichment activities based on children's love of play, unlimited imagination, and unbounded curiosity.

During the last year, it became clear that our community heavily relies on KCM to deliver sound early childhood education. Thanks to the support of our community and ingenuity of our staff and volunteers, our team developed creative programming to engage thousands of families during these unprecedented times.

Launched at the end of 2020, KCM's Very Important Play (VIP) program, allowed small groups of ten or less in one “COVID family” to secure private rentals of sections of the Museum. More than 6,800 visitors were able to visit the Museum through this program. These sessions ended in May 2021, when after more than a year, we safely re-opened to the public.

In order to help more families feel comfortable attending Museum events, we created SummerBurst, an interactive STEAM-focused outdoor experience. SummerBurst featured five separate open-air activity stations and was applauded by the community as a COVID-safe and engaging activity for children. More than 9,400 guests attended SummerBurst.

The Museum team also created the only area holiday light show designed specifically for young children, Kohlights. The interactive light installation outdoor trail featured mesmerizing light displays and educational STEAM activities in KCM's two-acre Habitat Park. More than 6,000 visitors attended Kohlights in November and December 2021.

During this time, Museum educators were committed to safely continue outreach in underserved communities. Launched in the summer of 2021 as a way to continue to engage communities previously served by the Pop-Up Museum,  the Mobile Learning Lab  brings STEAM-based programs directly to Lake County families in their own neighborhood.   Activities included: Snap Circuits, Imagination Playground, Insect Investigations and Musical Instruments. The MLL ensures that those whose circumstances preclude in-person Museum visitation can still have access to quality educational programming for young children. Throughout the summer, the MLL engaged with more than 900 children and families and has a goal of engaging 3,000 people over the year.

The Museum's flagship outreach program, Early Childhood Connections (ECC) continued throughout the pandemic and moved to a virtual format. ECC is an academic year-long professional development program designed for teachers and childcare providers in how to adapt The Project Approach to learning in the classroom. The Project Approach is a child-centered teaching strategy in which children conduct an in-depth study of a particular topic. It allows students to choose their project and control their own learning, while educators teach critical concepts and reach core curriculum goals. The ECC program focuses on increasing the use of The Project Approach in classrooms and in childcare settings serving children most at risk of academic failure. During the 2020-2021 school year, 46 teachers completed ECC, improving the learning experiences of more than the lives of more than 400 students.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago, Inc.
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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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

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/04/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Kimberly Bors

Dover Corporation

Term: 2021 - 2023

Mike Delfini

Kohl Children's Museum

John Ball, Jr.

Morgan Stanley

Erin Butler

William Blair & Co.

Lori Carlson

Civic Leader

Shannon Carstens

KPMG LLP

Abhi Agrawal

Dover Digital Printing

Merri Dee

MD Communications

Michael Farrell

Advocate Children's Hospital

Nancy Firfer

Metropolitan Planning Council

Matthew Gibbons

CIBC US Construction & Engineering Group

Yulia Gurman

Packaging Corp of America

Tim Hannahs

Fifth Third Private Bank

Stephen Kohl

Stephen Kohl Art Foundation

Anthony Licata

Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Rusty Magner

TrueNorth Co.

Bryan Malis

Altair Advisers LLC

Dawn Marks

Civic Leader, former Anixter Executive

Dawn Meiners

Civic Leader

Paul Melville

Grant Thornton LLP

Brandon Rolek

Northern Trust Corporation

Carl Rutstein

Visa Performance Solutions

Brian Schuster

Great Lakes Advisors

Maggie Searle

Workday

Erinn Siegel

Wintrust Corp.

Greta Suss

Health Care Service Corp/Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas

Paul Sutenbach

ASYST Technologies LLC

Claudia Temple

Mondelez International Inc. (retired)

Nilofer Umar

Sidley Austin LLP

Rachel Winer

Marketing Expert

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 1/28/2022

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/21/2021

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

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
Policies and processes
  • 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.