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 of Greater Chicago is a place that provides experiences and memories to build a foundation for a lifetime of learning. The Museum offers 17 hands-on interactive exhibits designed to promote learning through play for children ages birth to 8. At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Museum began transitioning to providing online resources and tools for families to use int heir own homes. The Museum now maintains a robust video library of STEAM-based activities and experiments families can do using common household items, as well as a Story Time playlist of 3 dozen children's favorites read by Museum educators and staff, including many in Spanish.

Ruling year info

1994

President and CEO

Mr. Mike Delfini

Main address

2100 Patriot

Glenview, IL 60026 USA

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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

"Everyone at Play” allows children with special needs, from birth to age eight, to explore the Museum’s 17 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, which is of particular benefit to children with special needs who too often are marginalized. 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

Through the Play Attention program, the Museum works collaboratively with community organizations serving veterans and active duty military personnel, such as Thresholds Veterans Project, Great Lakes Naval Base Child Development Centers, USO, The Road Home, Illinois Joining Forces, and Easter Seals Veterans Community OneSource, to invite military veterans, active duty military personnel, and their families to the Museum to explore and play in the exhibits, free of charge, while the Museum is closed to the general public.

These events occur three Sunday afternoons per year and provide a safe, non-threatening environment for veterans and active duty military families to enjoy quality family time. During the event families have access to all exhibits. Museum staff and volunteers are available for play support and guidance. Additional activities and resources specifically for military and veteran families are provided.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes daily visitors, members, corporate members, and reciprocal museum members.

Total number of works exhibited

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

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The Museum features 17 permanent 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 receiving professional development training

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Early Childhood Connections

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes both free and fee-based professional development.

Number of free or discounted admissions.

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

No target populations selected

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.

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.

Briefly describe your organization's goals here:
In its 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, the Museum laid out three primary goals.
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
• Build resources and expand physical capacity to sustain long-term durability and a facility
that is forever new
• 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 33-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 was 315,000 in the most recent fiscal year. 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.

In FY 17, the Museum welcomed over 315,000 visitors, 7,300 member families, 1,600 school groups, and served over 16,000 children, educators, and caregivers from underserved communities. The Museum provided programming for children with special needs, veteran and military families, and parents and babies. It also provided extensive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programming, as well as arts, theater, storytelling, and outdoor programming, all on an annual budget of $5 million.
The Museum is committed to the Museums for All initiative, launched in 2016, which reduces admission rates by 75 percent for low-income families. The Museum initiated this effort to reach underserved children, and since May 2016, nearly 3,000 individuals have used it to visit Kohl Children's Museum.
The Museum's newest outreach initiative—the Kohl Children's Pop Up Museum—is taking the Museum directly into high-need communities. The initiative targets communities/neighborhoods at least 15 miles from the Museum's Glenview, IL, location—a distance that makes it challenging for schools and families to easily access the Museum. The pilot month-long Museum experience occurred in Feb. 2018 in Waukegan, IL, approximately 25 miles from Glenview and was extremely well received. With three events planned per year, each lasting one full month, Pop Up Museum events provide children, families, and educators with hands-on learning experiences right in their home communities. Additional Pop Up Museum events are planned in and around Chicago, as well as in Lake County.

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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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Kohl Childrens Museum of Greater Chicago, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 7/22/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Jack Ball, Jr.

Morgan Stanley

Term: 2017 -

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