MEF receives grant from William Blair & Company

Two-year Partnership Will Support College Orientation Program for At-Risk Youth

Isabel Hernandez, one of 153 high school students currently participating in the College Orientation Program sponsored by Chicago's Midtown Educational Foundation, examines a new Kindle eReader donated by investment banking firm William Blair & Company. Molly Barz, a William Blair employee and volunteer tutor at MEF's Metro Achievement Center for girls, joined several colleagues at an event heralding the start of a new two-year partnership that will help close the academic achievement gap for Chicago's urban youth and put them on a path toward college. 

A Valentine's Gift that will Keep on Giving

Chicago — Midtown Educational Foundation (MEF) today announced a major gift from William Blair & Company, a global investment banking and assets management firm, that will help close the achievement gap for 300 Chicago high school students and prepare them for college and career. 

The two-year philanthropic partnership, which extends through December 2015, will provide multiple levels of support, including new computer labs at the Metro Achievement Center for girls and Midtown Center for boys, a professional apprenticeship in finance, mentoring relationships and numerous additional volunteer opportunities for William Blair associates. 

"William Blair's decision to fund MEF's College Orientation Program represents a significant investment in the future of Chicago urban youth, enabling success in high school, college and beyond," said Glenn Wilke, MEF's executive director. "The firm's commitment of time and resources will greatly enhance a program that is already producing positive results-100 percent high school graduation and college enrollment for the past 14 consecutive years." 

John R. Ettelson, president and chief executive officer of William Blair & Company, added that there is no better time than now to invest in the future of Chicago's at-risk high school students. "Chicago's success-our success-is dependent on a highly educated and motivated work force. The philanthropic partnership with Midtown Educational Foundation will give students the tools, advice and exposure they need to bridge the achievement gap and envision the world of opportunities that lies ahead." 

To launch the new partnership, William Blair executives and employees presented 75 new Kindle eReaders to high school students at Metro and Midtown. 

Other key elements of the William Blair Bridge Program include college prep academics, technology upgrades, curriculum enhancements, college visits, and cultural tours and performances.


About Midtown Educational Foundation

MEF, through its Midtown Center for boys in Bucktown and Metro Achievement Center for girls in the West Loop, helps close the achievement gap for Chicago's urban youth ages eight through eighteen. The College Orientation Program helps high school students prepare for college entrance exams and explore college options. Students also engage in enrichment activities including cultural field trips, extracurricular clubs in fields such as business and architecture, and service projects. 

About William Blair & Company

William Blair & Company is a global investment banking and asset management firm based in Chicago, with office locations in 12 cities including London, New York, Shanghai, and Zurich. A core value is the firm's commitment to making a difference in the communities where its associates live and work. Philanthropy has always been an important part of its heritage. 

More Information: 
Jody Madler, MEF, (312) 738-8302
Maria Gemskie, William Blair, (312) 236-1600 

SOURCE Midtown Educational Foundation 

Jon Zindel, chief financial officer at William Blair & Company, presents Kindle eReaders to Angel Roman, a senior at Northridge Prep in Niles, and Nayelin Avila, a sophomore at Trinity High School in River Forest. The investment banking firm donated 75 eReaders to Metro and Midtown to kick off its two-year partnership with MEF in support of the College Orientation Programs at Midtown and Metro. 

Representatives from William Blair & Company joined four high school sophomores from Metro, four high school seniors from Midtown, and members of MEF's staff at an informal event on Wednesday, February 13 commencing the start of a two-year partnership.