Contacts: Suzanne Gunther, Communications Director, NACEDA, [email protected], 240-274-5457
Kristin Ginger, Manager of Communications & Development, Housing Action Illinois, [email protected] or 312-854-3333

ATLANTA, GA – Housing and community development association leaders from across the country presented their top leadership award to Sharon Legenza, Executive Director of Housing Action Illinois. The award was presented at the closing session of the NACEDA Summit on October 25 in Atlanta, Georgia. Legenza has led Housing Action Illinois for 15 years, mobilizing organizations across the state to work together to end homelessness, address the shortage of affordable rental housing, and expand homeownership opportunities.

“Housing organizations are on the frontlines of the housing crisis, being called upon time and time again over the past few years, to do everything from providing services and shelter to the unhoused, to addressing access to affordable housing issues,” said Paige Carlson-Heim, Director of Office of Charitable and Community Giving at TD Bank. “Our support, through the TD Charitable Foundation, continues to help ensure that these organizations have the capabilities and assistance required to deliver these services to some of the most vulnerable members of the communities we serve. A warm and big congratulations to Sharon for her many accomplishments, years of dedication to these initiatives, and commitment to service to communities throughout Illinois.”

Paige Carlson-Heim, Director of Office of Charitable and Community Giving at TD Bank (left), presenting the award to Sharon Legenza, Executive Director at Housing Action Illinois (right)

Carlson-Heim also serves on the NACEDA Board of Directors. She noted that Legenza has led Housing Action Illinois to become a HUD Housing Counseling Intermediary with 35 affiliate housing counseling agencies, start up an AmeriCorps network that will be placing 42 members around the state this year, and tackle a variety of special projects, such as a funder and community-based organization matchmaking initiative, and Census 2020 educational outreach.

Frank Woodruff, Executive Director of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), stated, “Sharon’s leadership and impact are felt far beyond Illinois. What has struck me the last 15 years about her leadership is her authenticity and empathy. Every community could greatly benefit from Sharon’s passion, creativity and skill. He added, “Under Sharon’s leadership, Housing Action Illinois played an integral role in the passage of an Illinois Community Reinvestment Act, a statewide plan with robust funding to end homelessness, and passing omnibus state legislation to create and preserve affordable rental homes across Illinois.”

When accepting the award, Legenza stated, “I’m honored and humbled to receive this award because it comes from peers throughout the nation – all of whom understand the challenges and joys of working to advance equity and resilient communities. No one of us does this work alone, so this recognition from my colleagues is especially appreciated.”

About Housing Action Illinois
Housing Action Illinois is a statewide coalition that has been leading the movement to protect and expand the availability of quality, affordable housing in Illinois for more than 35 years. Our 160+ member organizations include housing counseling agencies, homeless service providers, developers of affordable housing, and policymakers. We bring everyone together to work toward our vision of an Illinois where everyone has a stable, good home.

About the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Association (NACEDA)
NACEDA is a network of 38 state and regional community development associations in 25 states and the District of Columbia, including Housing Action Illinois. Our mission is to lead the community development field and its partners in shaping and influencing strategies that advance community prosperity. NACEDA works to build the community development field, connecting with some 6,000 community-based development organizations across the country.

About the TD Charitable Foundation
The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing over 9.8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,100 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. Since its inception in 2002, the Foundation has distributed over $305 million through donations to local nonprofits from Maine to Florida.