Moving Forward Together: Building Healthy Communities

Moving Forward Together 2023: Building Healthy Communities was held on September 27 in downtown Chicago and featured an enlightening fireside chat between author Dr. Eve L. Ewing and Mercy Housing Lakefront board member Desiré Hunter. Dr. Ewing shared her personal experiences, explained why social determinants of health are important when building healthy communities, and challenged us to do something each day to help build the kind of world we’d all like to live in.

Following the fireside chat, event attendees watched a powerful video featuring Melissa, a grandmother who previously struggled to find an affordable home for her and her two granddaughters. Thankfully, they moved into their affordable home at Batavia Apartments where they have benefitted from and contributed to a healthy and vibrant community. We were honored that Melissa and her granddaughters attended Moving Forward Together in person.

We were also thrilled to honor longtime Mercy Housing Lakefront supporter and philanthropist, Denis Pierce, with the Spirit of Mercy award for his lifetime achievement of helping to create a more humane world.

Kimberly Evans of Northern Trust presented Robert A.J. Patton with the Northern Trust Inspiring Hope Award. A.J. grew up in affordable housing as a child and his mother, who worked full time, often struggled to pay their utility bills. A.J. is the founder and president of 548 Enterprise (named after the affordable housing development where his family lived), which brings renewable and sustainable technologies to low income communities.

Casandra Slade of Wintrust presented Designs for Dignity, an organization that transforms nonprofit environments through pro bono design services and in-kind contributions, with the Wintrust Partners in Innovation Award. Designs for Dignity was honored for its leadership in the creation of the Activity Center at Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Lofts on Arthington, a multi-family apartment community in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.

In Milwaukee, U.S. Bank hosted a watch party at one of their bank branches, where attendees enjoyed refreshments and tours of neighboring Greenwich Park Apartments. Edgar Flagg, Vice President of Real Estate Development, also shared upcoming affordable housing development plans in Milwaukee. We also had many people watch the event virtually, including a gathering of supporters in Indianapolis.

Nearly 300 people participated in this year’s event, which raised critical funding in support of Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Resident Services and housing development efforts.