The Eck Family and AbbVie Receive Chicagoland Habitat Hero Awards

Virtual event raises record amount to create a better life for families across the region

2021 Habitat Hero Awards: Rise to the Challenge

CHICAGO (June 18, 2021) – Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity honored The Eck Family (Bob, Kim, Chris and Connor) and AbbVie on June 16 during a virtual celebration of Habitat Hero Day, recognizing decades of leadership and commitment in their roles working with Habitat for Humanity in the Chicago area and beyond.

Since 2016, the Habitat Hero Awards have been held in June to come together and honor “Heroes” who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the Habitat for Humanity mission. Even though the celebration pivoted to online due to the pandemic, hundreds of guests still joined the event virtually to celebrate the homeowners and heroes that help Habitat for Humanity build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

The theme for this year’s event was Rise to the Challenge – and the last fifteen months were definitely a very challenging time for Habitat in the region and across the country. Affiliates had to fully or partially close their build sites to volunteers, which meant both building delays and fundraising losses. During the virtual event, a group of affiliate leaders shared how they rose to the challenge despite the pandemic.

“Just being able to keep the doors open through 2020 was an accomplishment,” said Jerry Monica, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County. “We were able to keep building despite closing all our build sites to volunteers for nine months.”

“Historically, we have had our build sites filled up three days a week all year long,” added Barb Beckman, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley. “This year, we had zero corporate teams on our build sites. I never thought that would happen.”

Nicole Murray, Executive Director, Will County Habitat for Humanity, noted that the organization had to cancel a year’s worth of events, at a net loss of $450,000.  “That's a loss of three homes to our affiliate,” she said. “Not only are these events a revenue source, but they're used to bring the community together to showcase the work we do in Will County.”

For 37 years, Habitat for Humanity has had a local presence in the Chicago area, serving as a catalyst that mobilizes people to build homes, neighborhoods, and community. Chicagoland Habitat works by multiplying the impact these the eight affiliates in the region to help even more people find safety and stability, in many cases for the first time in their lives.

“I want to recognize the incredible work done by Habitat affiliates – partner families, volunteers and staff – to continue to move our mission forward in spite of obstacles and constraints on almost every front,” said Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity’s Board Chair and Habitat Hero Award Co-Chair, Ted Dosch. “And by volunteering with your local Habitat for Humanity as they return to building this year, you can be a part of the change you want to see in your community.”

In addition to hearing from affiliates virtually, other videos honored the individual and corporate Habitat Hero Award recipients, highlighted the Veterans Build program, and concluded with a Habitat homeowner family moving into their new home days before lockdown. The event was capped off by a virtual paddle raise that raised over $125,000 to support more families in the region and generously matched by John and Fran Edwardson.

Sponsors include The Eck Family Foundation (Presenting Sponsor); Edwardson Family Foundation and WESCO | Anixter (Region Builders); Ann and Ted Dosch, USG, and Wintrust (Community Builders); Deloitte, Elkay, Carmela and Chris Griffin, McKinsey & Company, Rev. Dr. Marta Poling Schmitt, Ryder Charitable Foundation, and Zell Family Foundation (Neighborhood Builders); Aon, BHHS Chicago, Lord James Blythe, Justin and Karen Choi, Stephen and Cindy Cruise, EY, Mary and Paul Finnegan, Bill and Kim Galvin, Bill and Anne Marie Geary, ITW, JP Morgan, Jamie Moffitt, Scott Peppet, Kathleen and Ric Phillips, Scott and Angel Ramsbottom, Irving Rotter, Stuart Sloan, Rod and Denise Smith, and Chuck Swoboda (Home Builders); and Nancy and J.C Anderson, Karin and Tony Gambell, Jill Garling and Tom Wilson, Tom Kaplan, KPMG, Don McClellan and Martina Keller, Northern Trust, Julie and Brian Simmons, Bill and Carol Standish, and Sarah Brachle Wagner and Chris Wagner. (Family Builders).