Honoring community and political leaders, CCH presents John Donahue and Les Brown awards

CCH hosted an Oct. 20 victory celebration to honor more than 40 community and political leaders who worked with the coalition to enact policies and legislation that betters the lives of people who are homeless.

CCH presented the John “Juancho” Donahue Award to Unity Parenting and Counseling Center for its longtime organizing leadership on the CCH Homeless Youth Committee. Accepting the award for Unity were Executive Director Flora Koppel — a member of the Youth Committee since it started in 1983 — Program Director Anne Holcomb, and youth leader Kayla Evans.

The Les Brown Award was given to Tracy Baim for extensive advocacy on behalf of homeless youth. The publisher and executive editor of Windy City Times, Tracy’s efforts include mobilizing a Homeless Youth Summit, a sleepout event that raised $42,000 for homeless youth providers, and piloting the youth locker storage initiative. Tracy was invited to join the CCH Board of Directors this fall. 

“The first thing we learned about Tracy Baim is never underestimate Tracy Baim,” Associate Legal Director Beth Malik said in presenting the award.

Michael Negron with CCH Policy Director Julie Dworkin
Michael Negron with CCH Policy Director Julie Dworkin

Other honorees included Michael Negron, the mayor’s chief of policy, for his work with CCH in enacting a strong homeless education policy in the Chicago Public Schools and on housing programs, including a pilot to house people camped under Uptown viaducts.

CCH also honored State Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Westchester) for his leadership on state budget issues impacting housing and homeless programs. In accepting his award, Rep. Welch said he sees CCH’s policy staff and leaders “in Springfield almost as much as I’m there.”

During the event at St. Leonard’s Ministries Michael Barlow Center, CCH also cited State Reps. Camille Lilly and Kelly Cassidy (both D-Chicago) for their leadership on four job-access bills advocated by our Reentry Project and the RROCI coalition.

Also honored were homeless leaders who work on the HomeWorks

Parent leaders on the CCH Education Committee were honored
Parent leaders on the CCH Education Committee were honored

campaign, reentry issues, advocate for homeless people camped in Uptown,

and organized on state budget issues through CCH’s Statewide Network.

Development Director Michael Nameche also commended a group of Niles high school students who ran a dance marathon in May that raised more than $93,000 for CCH.

– Anne Bowhay, Media