National Housing Conference Receives Worldwide MacArthur Award for Non-Profits

 By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–The National Housing Conference (NHC) and its research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, have jointly received the “2009 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions,” receiving a total of $650,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. As co-recipients of the award, NHC and the Center are among only a handful of organizations worldwide selected to receive the honor, which is part of the Foundation’s tradition of encouraging creativity and building effective institutions in order to help address some of the world’s most challenging problems. According to the Foundation, both organizations were chosen because, together, they make a case for coherent, cost-effective housing policy and legislation that are interlinked with other important investments in transportation, schools, healthcare and the environment. “This is a recognition of the fact that we are on the right track,” Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center, tells MHN. “This award also goes to show that the MacArthur Foundation values the cause of affordable housing. They could have given an award to non-profits working in any number of areas. Thirdly, I think both NHC and we could use the prize money.”Ronald Terwilliger Chair for Housing, says, “This award will enable NHC and the Center to expand our effectiveness and sustainability through in-depth strategic and business planning and targeted investments in technology that will strengthen our overall policy, research and communications capacity.” NHC and the Center will use the MacArthur award to chart a course for enhanced sustainability through targeted investments in infrastructure. “For example, the funding will be used to take recent internal business and strategic planning processes to the next level by developing formal plans for both organizations, as well as developing related plans for specific business and fundraising functions. “The organizations will also invest in new technology, including expanding their database systems, enhancing their Web outreach and capabilities, and covering the costs associated with moving to new office space when their current lease expires,” says Lubell. Ultimately, it is projected that these and other planned investments will result in an expansion of the base of support for the organizations’ work at the local, state and national levels, enhancing their ability to meet the needs of NHC members and the broader field.