2024 Honorees

Angela Clay, Legacy Leader

The Legacy Leader Award is presented to an Uptown icon–someone who has worked for decades with verve and creativity to make our community a more just one. Past winners included staff, resident director and board leaders Yittayih Zelalem, Marlene Barton and Maurice Hamp.

This year’s Legacy Leader Award winner is the indomitable Angela Clay who serves as the alderperson of the 46th Ward, elected in April of last year.

Angela is deeply rooted in the 46th Ward as a born and raised Voice of the People tenant. Her family has lived in the ward for over 80 years and she grew up in a multi-racial, multi-generational family on Hazel and Sunnyside. A student leader from the get-go, Angela and her peers at Uplift Community High School in “Voices for Youth” proposed policy and programmatic improvements to Chicago Public Schools that are still in place today.

After earning a degree in public policy from DePaul University, Angela became the youngest-ever Board President of Voice of the People. She was 22 years old and served with distinction during a time when her leadership was needed to address challenges for the organization and community.  She has worked as a community organizer for various issues and groups, including with Northside Action for Justice, an advocate partner of Voice of the People.  As the first-ever elected black alderperson in the 46th Ward, Angela has assumed an important role as a spokesperson and role model for affordable housing residents.

Angela has a track record of creative problem-solving, collaborative approaches to community development, and a deep understanding of diverse communities across this ward and city.  With this award, Voice of the People publicly thanks her for this commitment. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Ed Jacob, Mover & Shaker

The Mover and Shaker Award recognizes people who have made a significant impact in affordable housing and community development in general: people who through their feisty actions, spirited innovation, out-of-this world determination, achieve great things and inspire others to new thinking in community development, social and financial opportunity services.  Past Mover and Shaker Award recipients included Larry Pusateri, Tom Lenz and Chicago’s dynamic affordable housing couple, Peter and Jackie Holsten.

This year’s award winner is Ed Jacob–a powerful leader in the movement for affordable housing and social, economic and racial equity.

Jacob has deep roots in our movement and indeed with Voice of the People: he began his career in Chicago as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, working at Voice of the People from 1981 to 1984 as a Development Director.

Ed Jacob leveraged his experience at Voice for a career that embodied the organization’s tagline priorities — affordable housing and collaborative services. Locally, he served in positions at Uptown Center Hull House and as Manager of the North Side Community Federal Credit Union, where he opened up personalized banking services to the lowest income and lent to small business start-ups. He was a banking leader and grants maker in community development and supported grassroots housing organizations citywide.  Ed served as Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Chicago, the City’s most substantial residential services non-profit, and Franciscan Outreach, one of our town’s legacy providers of services to the homeless.

He has served on the board of directors of many Chicago organizations, as vice-president of The Chicago Rehab Network and the Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations (CANDO) and as president/chair of Lakefront Supportive Housing Corporation, The Woodstock Institute, and the Illinois Credit Union Foundation.

Peter Levavi, History Maker

The History Maker Award is presented to someone whose life and work has altered the course of history in our community and in Chicago. The inaugural History Maker Award winner was Doug Dobmeyer, with Calvin Holmes and Helen Shiller later honored in our celebrations of Sweet Home Uptown.    

This year’s History Maker award winner is Peter Levavi – an attorney, professor, community development trainer, and Executive Vice President at Brinshore Development – one of the nation’s private sector leaders in affordable housing.

For decades, Peter has been working in communities on affordable housing initiatives, including with Peoples Housing in Rogers Park, and training dozens of non-profit professionals in the groundbreaking Urban Developers Program at Spertus College. He brings his qualifications within several disciplines with extraordinary aplomb, creativity, resilience and devotion to the cause of housing as a right, not a privilege.

At Brinshore Development since 2000, Peter routinely makes things happen, leveraging his technical knowledge of Low Income Housing Tax Credit project financing and lived experience addressing challenges of property management and resident services.                

Peter has been responsible for family housing, supportive housing and senior developments, and is currently innovating in public housing partnerships on over 20 projects nationwide. Brinshore has their fingerprints on dozens of affordable housing developments in the Midwest region, including recent ones in Uptown in support of Sarah’s Circle and the Lakeview Towers Residents Association.

He has a unique perspective on the historical narrative and current innovative practices, particularly in the public housing arena, and applies these lessons to today’s challenges. Peter contributes his expertise on financing strategies and community land trusts as a volunteer advisor to Voice of the People, including for the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust, and gives back as mentor to the next generation of activists and community developers.

835 West Wilson Avenue, a pending development in Uptown by Brinshore Development and the Lakeview Towers Residents Association