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Dorothy Richardson Award 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. Honorees 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.

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 network.
Dorothy Mae Richardson: A Visionary
Watch the story, impact and vision behind Dorothy Mae Richardson, the founder of the national model that's become NeighborWorks America.
"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."   - Dorothy Richardson

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.

Learn more about the nomination process and selection criteria.

2018 Honoree Profiles

2018 honorees
A black woman wearing sunglasses and a black blazer stands in front of a grey wallJ'Tanya Adams, Charlotte, North Carolina, nominated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership: Undaunted by challenges such as her duties as a single mother, unemployment and care for a terminally ill father, Adams has become a powerful and effective force for change in her neighborhood. Among her achievements is the development in her community of a dynamic center that includes student housing, community conference space and the first neighborhood café and only non-fast food dining establishment within two miles. Likewise, she spearheaded the founding of Historic West End Partners, a nonprofit that promotes and preserves the cultural identity of the neighborhood. Under Adams' direction, youth are brought in for cultural activities, offering a safe and positive "escape" for neighborhood children. Read J'Tanya's story.

A Hispanic woman wearing a colorful tie-dye shirt stands outsideGloria Cartagena, Philadelphia, nominated by the North Kensington Community Development Corp.: Cartegena has become the "voice" of her neighborhood, securing resources and support for even the most marginalized. She has led a resident group, Somerset Neighbors for Better Living," into becomoing a powerful force for positive change—most recently by negotiating with city officials to respond proactively to a crisis in homelessness and abuse of drugs such as opioids. Read Gloria's story.

Johnny Carter wearing a blue plaid shirt, seated outside on the porchJohnny Carter, Moorhead, Mississippi, nominated by Hope Enterprise Corp.: The Eastmoor neighborhood of the town, like many Mississippi Delta communities, suffers from an inheritance of economic, social and infrastructural inequities. However, Carter organized his fellow residents and "spoke truth to power." Led by Carter, the residents filed a federal lawsuit and forced the county, city and property owner to pave the streets, fix the sewage system and force enforcement of local codes. Today, homes are being rehabiltated and the residents' association is thriving. Read Johnny's story.

A woman with long brown hair wearing a white shirtMichelle Overstreet, Wasilla, Alaska, nominated by NeighborWorks Alaska: Overstreet is a powerhouse who has tackled the challenge of a growing number of suicides, drug abuse and homeless youth in her community in southcentral Alaska. With a passion for life coaching and helping young people grow into their best selves, she confronted this crisis after seeing a forced to sleep in his car, with no safe alternative at home. The centerpiece of her efforts is a nonprofit called MyHouse, which provides housing opportunities, employment training and access to food and other basic needs to homeless and other youth facing challenges. Read Michelle's story.

A black woman wearing a t-shirt smiles at the cameraAudrey Stubbs, Cleveland, nominated by the Famicos Foundation: Her passion is to work with youth to help them develop into community leaders who can make change. Acknowledging that many barriers can stand in their way, Stubbs has broadened her focus to the whole family, targeting issues such as violence and self-esteem. Read Audrey's story.

A Polynesian man wearing a blue button down and a wooden necklace smiles at the cameraAlama Uluave, Salt Lake City, nominated by NeighborWorks Salt Lake: The dropout rate among minority populations in the west side of the city was above 38 percent—an unacceptable fact that inspired Uluave to run as the first Polynesian in the state to serve on the school board. He served two terms and he achieved his vision to build new schools realign districts for more west side representation, giving residents a voice they never had before. Read Alame's story.

Resident Leadership Honoree Archives

2017 honorees
2016 honorees
2015 honorees
2014 honorees
2013 honorees
2012 honorees
2011 honorees
2010 honorees