Schneider Electric, Chris Griffin, Julie Donovan Receive Chicagoland Habitat Hero Awards

Event raises $1.1 Million to support Habitat for Humanity in Chicago region.

2019 Habitat Hero Award Dinner: Every One

CHICAGO (June 12, 2019) – Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity honored Schneider Electric, Chris Griffin, CEO, USG Corporation, and Julie Donovan, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Lake County last night at its fourth Habitat Hero Award Dinner, recognizing decades of leadership and commitment in their roles working with Habitat in the Chicago area and beyond.

Over 400 guests toasted the honorees at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and helped celebrate the homeowners and heroes that help Habitat for Humanity build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. WGN anchor Micah Materre was master of ceremonies for the event. “Here in Chicago, Habitat is active across the region and needs to be. Safe, decent and affordable housing is critical if we want our neighbors to succeed  – not just now but for future generations.”

“Housing provides more than a roof over someone’s head," said Gloria Materre, Principal Attorney, Materre & Associates. “The opportunities that come with home ownership – security, health and education – should be available to everybody." Gloria served as co-chair of the event along with Steve Cruise, Managing Director, Greenhill & Co., LLC.

For 34 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. Since their beginning in the Chicago region, the eight Habitat for Humanity affiliates collectively have served over to 5,250 individuals in the area.

“We share in Habitat for Humanity's commitment to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action,” said Marty Hanna, Vice President, Analyst and Influencer Relations, Schneider Electric. “Habitat's mission also supports our Vision by building homes that are energy-efficient to reduce the impact on our common planet.”

Julie Donovan, who co-founded Lake County Habitat for Humanity with her husband Jim in 1989, said “I especially treasure the Habitat families. They share their faith, their fears, their hopes, their finances – it's a huge trust and I feel so honored that I’ve been allowed into their lives in so many deep ways.” Donovan is retiring after 30 years as Executive Director and a legacy fund was announced in her honor.

“The thousands of families that are served year after year by Habitat,” said honoree Chris Griffin, “that accept a hand up, not a hand out who pay their mortgages at a rate better than the average American under circumstances that most of us can barely imagine – they are Habitat heroes.”

The evening included a video tribute to Julie Donovan, an onstage interview of a Habitat homeowner family, a paddle auction that raised over $150,000 to support more families in the region, and special guest Jim Belushi closing the event with a rousing rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago.”

Sponsors include Anixter International Inc. and Knauf Insulation/USG Corporation (Region Builders); Baker McKenzie, Steve and Cindy Cruise, and Ann and Ted Dosch (Community Builders); Deloitte, Bob and Kim Eck/The Eck Family Foundation, Edwardson Family Foundation, Exelon, Carmela and Chris Griffin, Schneider Electric, and Wintrust (Neighborhood Builders); Aon, Best Portion Foundation, CBRE, Clayco, Elkay, EY, Mary and Paul Finnegan, Kim and Bill Galvin, Goldman Sachs, Hilti, ITW, Jones Day, JPMorgan Chase & Co., KPMG, McKinsey & Company, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, UL LLC, Wells Fargo, and Donald R. Wilson, Jr. (Home Builders); and Chicago Cubs, Constellation Brands, Chas Edelstein and Steven Koch, Mona and Aaron Erter, Jill Garling and Tom Wilson, Ann and Doug Grissom, Elaine and Matthew Moy Johnson, Todd Kaplan, Martina Keller and Don McLellan, Barbara Malott Kizziah and Keith Kizziah, Nicole and Michael Murray, Northern Trust, Kathleen and Ric Phillips, Pritzker Traubert Foundation, Sidley, Julie and Brian Simmons, Marilyn Fatt Vitale & David Vitale, and The Williams Capital Group (Family Builders). Crain’s Chicago Business served as Media Sponsor.

About Habitat for Humanity in Chicagoland

Habitat’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat in Chicagoland is committed to creating opportunities for individuals and families to thrive; to revitalizing neighborhoods and building communities; and to helping transform families through home ownership. We do this by making housing affordable to hardworking people without access to conventional financing and offer individuals a hand up, fueled by our belief in dignity, self-sufficiency, collaboration, and hope. To learn more, visit


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