Historical Milestones

1963: Foundation is established; property purchased on Loomis Street in Chicago for $30,000.


1965: Midtown Center for boys is formally launched; programs include auto repair, boxing, photography, film making, wood shop, band, and a football team (the Midtown Bears).

1976: The Polk Bros. Foundation supports MEF with a generous grant, beginning a 38-year relationship which continues to this day.  

1985: Metro Achievement Center for girls is launched with a $50,000 grant from unspent contributions to President Ronald Reagan's inaugural events, which were rained out. 

1989: Walgreens One-on-One Program, a tutoring initiative, is launched.

Liz Thompson with Metro's Parent Program Director, Petra Jaime

Liz Thompson with Metro's Parent Program Director, Petra Jaime

1990: Midtown Center and Metro Achievement Center launch the College Orientation Program (COP) for High School students.

1990: Metro and Midtown launch comprehensive parenting programs, providing seminars, support groups, and individual counseling to help parents in their role as the primary educators of their children. 

1992: The first Annual Reach for Excellence Awards Dinner is held and Charles Walgreen III is the honoree.

1992: The University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children publishes highly favorable results of its independent evaluation of the Walgreens One-on-One Program at Midtown & Metro, titled "I Want to be an Engineer...Like You!"

1994: 310 S. Peoria Street building is purchased for new Metro Site; renovations begin.

1995:  The Walgreens One-on-One Program is selected as one of 44 programs (out of more than 2,000 applicants worldwide) to join YouthNet, an initiative of the International Youth Foundation. The new Metro Achievement Center building dedication ceremonies are held with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Mrs. Daley in attendance. 

1996: The National Science Foundation chooses MEF as a site for exploring the integration of technology into education. The Kresge Foundation makes a $250,000 grant that brings MEF's Capital Campaign (launched in 1992) to a successful close.

Chad Tischer,  2009-2012 Auxiliary Board Co-Chair, is recognized in Times Square

Chad Tischer, 2009-2012 Auxiliary Board Co-Chair, is recognized in Times Square

1996: The Junior Board of Directors and Metro Advancement Council are established to recruit volunteers for the Walgreens One-on-One Programs and promote the development of the girls' center, respectively.  

1997: MEF is featured as one of fifty model programs in the nation at the April President's Summit on Volunteerism.  

1998: MEF is profiled by the BBC in a segment of Earth Report, focusing on children's issues of global scope and broadcast internationally. 

2002: MEF is listed in the Guide to Effective Compassion, which recognizes "the nation's most compassionate and effective human service initiatives." The Metro Achievement Center completes a renovation that expands its physical space by one-third and includes a Parent Center, a second computer lab and a chapel.

2003: MEF hosts A Celebration of Sports and Character at the Four Seasons Hotel, honoring Connie Payton (Chicago Bears), Brian Sutter (Chicago Blackhawks), Minnie Minoso (Chicago White Sox), David Sarachan (Chicago Fire), Billy Williams (Chicago Cubs), and John Paxson (Chicago Bulls). The event cements friendships with Chicago's sporting community. 

2007: Joe Major, the organizations first employee, retires after nearly forty years at the Midtown Center.

2007: Midtown establishes the first paid summer apprenticeships for high school boys in architecture and business. The apprenticeships have since been expanded to cover careers in engineering, law, and journalism/public relations. 

2010: Metro celebrates 25 years of serving Chicago's youth with a "birthday party" field day for the students. Metro honors 25 Women of Character at the MAC Luncheon in May and produces a 25th Anniversary video for the event.

2010: Unilever and Walgreens' Partnership for Tomorrow's Leaders work together to revamp Metro, revealing a new Activity and Life Skills Center for the girls. The recreation area's renovations were unveiled in a surprise ceremony for the students; NBC5 covered the event.

2012: MEF joins the Program Leadership Council of the Illinois Mentoring Partnership, with a goal of ensuring quality youth mentoring. 

2013: Metro adds summer apprenticeships in business and engineering. 

2014: ESQUIRE Magazine launches a national mentoring project, featuring Midtown Center as a top youth development organization in Chicago. 

2015: Metro adds Hospitality Management to the College Orientation Program's apprenticeships.