Chicago Urban League Receives Property Donation and $25,000 Grant from MB Financial
Former Bank Branch at 51st and Damen will Allow for Expansion of Youth Programming
CHICAGO (Dec. 20, 2018) – The Chicago Urban League and MB Financial Bank, N.A., have closed on a transaction in which MB Financial donated a former bank branch to the organization, along with $25,000 to help retrofit the building for the League’s use.
Barbara Lumpkin, the League’s Interim President and CEO, said the donation will enable the League to expand its youth development programs, which served 827 young people in fiscal 2018.
“We are extremely grateful to MB Financial for this generous donation and for its investment in the future of the Chicago Urban League and the youth in our communities,” said Lumpkin. “In addition to a larger, more flexible space, MB Financial’s commitment to an ongoing partnership opens up new opportunities for programming, as well as for increasing the number of youth we can serve.”
MB Financial has committed to partnering with the League to support programs and services to youth in the surrounding communities, which include South Side neighborhoods such as West Englewood, Back of the Yards, Roseland, Auburn Gresham, Woodlawn and Englewood.
Vicky Arroyo, president of the MB Community Development Corporation said, “MB Financial has been part of the Back of the Yards community for almost 20 years. We are pleased to continue to give back to this wonderful community by providing this facility to the Chicago Urban League, an organization with a proven track record of helping people find jobs, affordable housing, educational opportunities, and resources to grow their businesses.”
The donated property, at 5100 S. Damen Avenue in Chicago, is a 16,408-square-foot site that includes a 5,300-square-foot former bank branch and 26 parking spaces. The building, which includes a bank vault, will need to be renovated before the League’s youth programs can move in. The programs serve youth ages 13 to 18 and focus on reducing youth involvement with the criminal justice system, decreasing school absences, and improving academic performance and socioemotional development.
“The League depends on strong partnerships to carry out its mission of strengthening communities,” said Eric S. Smith, Chairman of the League’s Board of Directors and Regional President of Fifth Third Bank in Chicago. “On behalf of the Board of Directors of the League, we are excited about this opportunity to expand our services to youth and deepen our impact in the community.”
The new space is located less than four miles from the Chicago Urban League’s headquarters at 4510 S. Michigan Avenue. The League currently leases a separate space for much of its youth programming.
Lumpkin added that, in addition to providing a convenient and larger space for youth programming, the donation will ultimately reduce expenses for the League and reactivate a commercial corner.
The League’s Board of Directors approved a resolution to accept the donation on December 14, and MB Financial closed on the transaction Tuesday, December 18. Over the next few months, the organization will develop plans for renovations and finalize a timeline for moving into the space.