Youth Center to be Named After Chicago Architect and Philanthropist

The late Sydney Epstein (Courtesy of Chicago Youth Centers)

The late Sydney Epstein (Courtesy of Chicago Youth Centers)

One of the most well-known named in Chicago architecture will be honored posthumously today.

Sidney Epstein died this past February, leaving behind a built legacy that includes the Chicago Federal Center and the Harold Washington Library.

But perhaps the way he most affected people was through helping found the Chicago Youth Centers. Today, the organization’s building in North Lawndale will be renamed in his honor.

Unlike many modern philanthropists, Mr. Epstein didn’t discover compassion late in life. He founded the C.Y.C. 60 years ago, when he was still in his 30’s.

For more on this week’s event, see the press release below.

Sydney Epstein Youth Center (Courtesy of Chicago Youth Centers)

Sydney Epstein Youth Center (Courtesy of Chicago Youth Centers)

Chicago’s Largest Independent Youth Organization to Dedicate Center to co-founder Sidney Epstein with Generous Gift from the Polk Bros. Foundation

Chicago Youth Centers’ (CYC) ABC Polk Bros. Youth Center in North Lawndale will be dedicated to CYC’s co-founder, Sidney Epstein, Chicago architect and philanthropist

CHICAGO — On November 3, Chicago Youth Centers (CYC) will dedicate the CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center (formerly the CYC-ABC Polk Bros. Youth Center) to commemorate the life and legacy of CYC’s co-founder, the prominent architect, engineer and philanthropist Sidney Epstein. The Polk Bros. Foundation made the dedication possible. Community leaders will join the Polk Bros. Foundation, CYC, and friends and family of Sidney Epstein to celebrate the occasion. The Center, located at 3415 W. 13th Place, serves children and families in North Lawndale.

“Sidney Epstein was a valued and committed civic leader in Chicago,” said Sandra P. Guthman, President and CEO of the Polk Bros. Foundation, where Epstein also served as a Board member for more than 27 years. “His passion for the city’s youth was evident in everything he touched – his life with his family, his work with the Polk Bros. Foundation, and, indelibly, in his co-founding of Chicago Youth Centers. We are so pleased that generations to come will know his legacy as they pass through the doors of CYC’s Sidney Epstein Youth Center.”

Epstein was an accomplished architect, whose firm, A. Epstein and Sons, International, transformed city skylines around the world, including Chicago’s. He co-founded Chicago Youth Centers in 1956 to transform the lives of vulnerable children. “He believed that there is no work more important than creating a pathway to success for our most underserved children,” said Dixie Adams, CYC’s Board chair. “He proved his commitment to that belief in 1956, when he fought to save a youth club in North Lawndale that was on the brink of closing. We are very proud that today, that same Center he saved will be the CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center.”

The dedication of CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center will honor Epstein’s legacy and celebrate his transformative accomplishments. “I know that Sid would be incredibly proud to see this Center today, which is thriving and vibrant,” said Sidney Epstein’s wife, Sondra Berman Epstein. “The CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center will empower these children to realize their full potential and achieve their dreams. That is Sid’s greatest ambition come true.”

Location: 3415 West 13th Place, North Lawndale

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

Share This Post On