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2008 Housing Awards

Each year at our Annual Conference, the NC Housing Coalition recognizes those individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to advocate for affordable housing. The award categories are listed below.


Sister Barbara Sullivan Award (Volunteer of the Year)

Sister Barbara Sullivan Award (Volunteer of the Year) is given for devotion and commitment to finding viable solutions and improving housing conditions for low-income families through personal commitment and sacrifice as a volunteer.

This year the Sister Barbara Sullivan Award for Housing Volunteer of the Year goes to Eric Hoyle.

Eric has served on the Partners for Homeownership in Winston-Salem for six years and as Chair of the Board since 2005.  Eric is a businessman who understands the importance of leadership, financial accountability and giving back to the community.

Jane Milner, Director of the Partners for Homeownership writes that Eric is a Board Member of our organization because he believes that enabling homeownership for families and their children vastly expands their opportunities for improves health, education achievement and economic success.

For Eric’s commitment to affordable housing and Partner for Homeownership, we present him with the Sister Barbara Sullivan Award as Volunteer of the Year.


Steven Whitesell Award (Professional of the Year)

Steven Whitesell Award (Professional of the Year) is given for making a significant impact on affordable housing through professional involvement by demonstrating efforts above and beyond normal role or duties as a housing Professional.

The 2008 Steven Whitesell Award for Housing Professional of the Year goes to Frankie Pendergraph.

In addition to being a committed high quality affordable housing developer, Frankie and her employees at the Pendergraph Companies have devoted many hours to promoting affordable housing and the issues that affect our industry. 

Frankie and her employees were instrumental in getting the State Housing Tax Credit improved to refundable credit it is today and took a leadership role in securing legislation on property taxes related to LIHTC properties as well attending every meeting in this past session on storm water rules, fighting for changes so these new rules would not hurt affordable housing.

As a company they truly work for what is best for affordable housing not just what is best for them.  For this commitment and their work in advocacy and public policy, we recognize Frankie Pendergraph and the Pendergraph Companies with our 2008 Steve Whitesell Professional of the Year Award.


Service to Affordable Housing Award

Every once in a while, we also recognize the work of individuals who have made significant contributions to affordable housing over their career or portion of their career.  As you all know, working in affordable housing can be very difficult in the best of times.

This year, Rich Lee retired after nine years as Executive Director of the Durham Affordable Housing Coalition.  In his 16 years with the Coalition, Rich raised more than $18 million for other groups to build affordable housing.  He was known around the office as the "Million Dollar Man".

In 1993, Rich heard about the first grant he wrote for Durham Affordable Housing Coalition for the Supportive Housing Program.  He told then Executive Director Peter Skillern there was good news and bad news.  Peter asked: "What's the good news?"  Rich said: "We got the grant!"   "What's the bad news?"  "We got the grant!"

Actually, the Supportive Housing Program was very successful in helping homeless families find and stay in their own homes.  One woman and her two children fled an abusive home and came to the office for help.  Later, she came back to thank Angela Coleman for the program that "saved her life."

Rich has dedicated himself to create supportive housing and services for people who are homeless.  As well as writing grants, he wrote the HIV/AIDS Housing Plan for Durham County, the first such plan in North Carolina.  Rich brought people together to form the Council to End Homelessness in Durham and nurtured the 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in Durham to get it going.

Now, Rich is working with the NC Housing Finance Agency on foreclosure prevention.  But, he has not lost his passion for directly helping those in need.  Just last month, he was out in Durham helping homeless people find housing at Durham Homeless Connect, an effort to gather the homeless population in one location to connect them to the services and resources they need by having them all in one place..

Most of you would never know this about Rich because he never seeks recognition for himself.  You are more likely to hear him talk passionately about Duke basketball or the Durham Blues Festival.  However, when you talk with other people about Rich, you hear about his humility, faith in people, and hard work serving people in need of housing.  Rich truly exemplifies the "servant leader".

In recognition of his passion, commitment, and service, we present Rich Lee with this Service to Affordable Housing Award.

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