Woodstock recognizes three local economic justice leaders at 25th Community Investment Reception

For community investment advocates, it’s been a year of successes as well as challenges. A bill to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) passed the House and is under negotiations in the Senate. Communities came together to creatively address the foreclosure crisis. Illinois Senate Bill 655 is on the path to create meaningful consumer protections for small consumer loans. However, foreclosure filings continue to rise and badly-needed credit for homeowners and small businesses continues to be scarce. The strength and independence of the CFPA is being challenged in the Senate and industry opponents are working eliminate the reasonable rates proposed in SB 655. The annual Woodstock Institute Community Investment Reception gave more than 100 advocates and leaders a chance to celebrate our accomplishments and prepare for the hard work yet to come.

In particular, three leaders were recognized with the 2010 Community Investment Award for their exceptional contributions to Chicago-area communities. Rob Breymaier, Executive Director of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, was honored for achievements including work with Fannie Mae to ensure that all communities would be fairly served by their lending, continuous national and local advocacy for fair housing, and active leadership in the Illinois Community Investment Coalition for over five years.

Deborah Harrington, former president of the Woods Fund of Chicago, was honored for her unflagging support of organizations working to invest in Chicago-area communities and create opportunities for low-wealth persons. Harrington’s support has been invaluable to the success of many organizations’ initiatives, including Woodstock Institute, and her deep understanding of the importance of connecting public policy decisions to community needs has resulted in stronger policies and more effective advocacy. While Deborah could not attend the reception because she is out of the country, she did accept via video (see below).

Chicago Public Radio was recognized for exposing the effects of the foreclosure crisis on individual communities and families through their series Facing the Mortgage Crisis. Their stories told powerful tales of those who lost their homes as well as those still living in communities hard hit with high numbers of vacant properties. Their dedication to this complex story raised awareness of the crisis to a broad audience. Managing Editor of Public Affairs Sally Eisele and housing reporter Ashley Gross accepted the award on behalf of the station.

Please click on a photo below to see community investment advocates honoring the accomplishments of these leaders.

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