Midtown History

Early years, Midtown kids & staff

Early years, Midtown kids & staff

1965 was a memorable year in Chicago.  The University of Illinois Circle Campus opened on the Near West Side. Gale Sayers earned “Rookie of the Year” honors playing for the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. And the Beatles performed before 50,000 “incessantly screaming fans” at Comiskey Park. 

Just a few miles away from these historic locations, a small group of Catholic Chicago businessmen recognized the need to help at-risk boys escape the problems of the inner city. With no money and no staff, they established the Midtown Center for boys at the corner of Loomis & Lexington in “Little Italy.” They did it without fanfare – just a fervent desire to help kids flourish in school and later in life.

What began as a summer sports and skills program for twelve boys has since grown over the past fifty years to a year-round after-school and summertime program that serves more than 1,000 boys and girls (Metro Achievement Center) annually with rigorous academics, engaging character education, and extracurricular enrichment in sports, the arts and career readiness. 

Our Logo

The Hand represents our volunteers—truly helping hands, 
essential to student, program and organizational strength.

The Spiral represents our kids, looking both inward and outward 
as they acquire the skills and values that lead to lifelong success.

The Key represents our parents, the primary educators of their 
own children, who work with MEF to help their kids reach full 

The Star represents our donors, whose generosity makes the 
work of MEF possible.

Behind the scenes is the MEF staff, an energetic, well-educated and 
committed group of people who work each day to unlock dreams 
for Chicago’s at-risk kids.