Dorothy Richardson Awards for Resident Leadership

Celebrating resident leadership

For more than 20 years, the Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership has been bestowed annually in recognition of outstanding contributions by dedicated community leaders. Awardees have invested their energies and talents to bring about specific change that positively impacts their neighborhoods and communities. Each of their stories and photos represents an important piece of our NeighborWorks history and serves as an example of what each of us can do for our community.
I believe people get their roots down when they own their houses...take pride in them. That, in turn, is good for a whole city. Why should a neighborhood be a slum when it can be a place of good, liveable homes?
- Dorothy Richardson

Origins of the award

The award is named in honor of Dorothy Richardson, a pioneer in the community-based development movement who was the driving force behind the establishment of Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. in Pittsburgh, the forerunner of today's NeighborWorks America network.

Richardson and her neighbors banded together in the 1960s to save their declining Pittsburgh neighborhood from demolition. They recruited partners in local government and the business community. Together, they not only helped revitalize their community, but also set a precedent that changed the nation's approach to urban redevelopment and spawned the new field of community-based development.

2014 Winners

Jason Amboo: the unlikely leader at the end of the block
Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP)

Most adolescents are all about video games, sports and how to get out of chores. Not Jason Amboo. At 14, the Maryland resident is the youngest recipient of a Dorothy Richarson Award from NeighborWorks America, for demonstrating environmental stewardship, mobilizing his community to come together over common goals and mentoring other youth. Read more.

Sharon Bagley: triumph in the face of tragedy
HANDS (Housing and Neighborhood Development Services, Inc)

Sharon could have been forgiven if she had withdrawn into a cocoon, or lashed out in anger, after her 19-year-old son Malcolm – a scholarship football player home from his freshman year of college – was caught in the crossfire of a gang fight in their New Jersey neighborhood. Instead, she turned her grief into a cause and put all of her energies into making it happen: a safe neighborhood where young people can thrive. Read more.

Ken Grubbs: the barrier bulldozer
Nuestra Comunidad Development Corp.

With the strife in Ferguson fresh in the news, the relationship between the police and local communities is a top concern in many neighborhoods. But in Boston’s Roxbury, Kenneth (“Kenny”) Grubbs figured out how to change that dynamic from distrust to engagement a long time ago. He lives in the community he polices, combining leadership on issues such as gangs and prostitution with ice cream and karaoke. “I lead by example: If you live in a community, you have to take ownership and responsibility." Read more.

Marcy Tanger: the weatherization warrior
NeighborWorks of Western Vermont

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont attributes much of its success in championing home energy efficiency in Rutland County to “the Marcy Tanger effect.” You won’t find it in any textbooks, but it’s real. She is a one-woman “weatherization warrior,” recruiting others to the cause, saving her community thousands of dollars and doing her part to protect the environment. “That’s what I love about this work. I love to see people after they have weatherized, because they are ecstatic.” Read more.
Fred Fife: the relentless hometown ‘kid’
NeighborWorks Salt Lake

Combine a civil engineer’s laser focus on “getting the job done” with a love for one’s community that will never allow a permanent move away, and what do you get? A volunteer who is the dream of every NeighborWorks organization. There are few limits to what Utah resident Fred will do to “get it done” – ranging from running for state office, to bringing together unlikely partners, to getting his hands dirty while beautifying bike paths and “eyesore” properties. Read more.
Chip Rogalinski: pioneer of inclusive redevelopment
New Directions Housing Corp.

Three years ago, Louisville’s Shelby Park was perceived as a small, depressed pocket among some of the best neighborhoods of Louisville. It was marred by crime, trash and vacant or dilapidated properties. Today, however, crime is down, young professionals are moving in and Insider Louisville recently wrote, “…People with passion can accomplish a great deal, and those Shelby Park leaders have incredible passion.” Much of that success is due to Chip, president of the Shelby Park Neighborhood Assn. What sets Chip apart is his inclusive approach to revitalization – he considers everyone his “neighbors,” no matter how down and out. Read more.
Paul Bertha: connection in the leading role
La Casa, Inc.

Paul was hesitant about speaking up at first when his local, Indiana city council debated whether to demolish a historic local school. But then he realized it was his “duty”: If he didn’t speak up about the potential alternative uses for the school’s grand stage, who else would? He did, and the rest is history. Today, the summer academy now held in the school, including drama class led by Paul, has completed its sixth year serving underprivileged children and youth. Read more.
Gloria Zamudio: the champion fighter
Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley

It’s easy to be an armchair critic, waiting for a leader to step forward to solve local problems. But as Gloria proves, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands – and can be remarkably effective. When her California neighborhood was traumatized by drug-dealing tenants, Gloria sought the training she needed to marshal all of the community’s resources and convince the absentee landlord to replace them with residents who would put down roots, not trash it. Read more.

2013 Winners
2012 Winners
2011 Winners
2010 Winners