The Civic Federation is pleased to announce that Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) GRACE B. HOU is the recipient of the 30th Annual Motorola Solutions Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award, presented and administered by the Civic Federation.
The Excellence in Public Service Award is an annual recognition of a non-elected government official who has had an extraordinary impact on the quality of state or local government services in Illinois.
This year's hybrid event will be held December 9, 2021. Proof of COVID vaccination will be required for all in-person attendees. Masks will be required when not eating or drinking. Unvaccinated or immunocompromised guests are encouraged to attend the event via concurrent livestream.
Update (December 9, 2021): WATCH THE FULL 2021 EVENT HERE!
Healthcare workers, first responders and government employees receive complimentary registration.
Grace B. Hou has served under Governor JB Pritzker as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) since March 2019. The mission of IDHS is to strengthen Illinois by building up lives and communities which is achieved through an integrated network of mental health, substance use prevention and recovery, rehabilitation, developmental disabilities and family and community services. IDHS operates seven psychiatric hospitals, seven developmental centers, one treatment and detention facility for sexually violent persons, 76 local offices and four schools.
Grace also previously served as the Assistant Secretary at IDHS from 2003 to 2012, and, during that time, she was an architect of Illinois’ Immigrant Integration New American’s Gubernatorial Executive Order which was nationally recognized.
Grace has dedicated her career to advancing social justice by working in the non-profit and public sectors systems for change improvement through public policy development and implementation, social services provision, community organizing and engagement, and philanthropy. Grace most recently served as the President of Woods Fund Chicago from February 2012 to March 2019. Woods Fund Chicago is a bold grantmaking foundation that finds–and funds–projects that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism.
Early in her career, she was the Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA) and has been a vocal advocate for immigrants’ rights. Grace is a child of immigrants from Taiwan and has lived and worked in Illinois since she was eight years old. She studied at the University of Illinois and has two teenage sons. She is the board chair of the Healthy Communities Foundation, a 2001 Leadership Greater Chicago fellow, a member of The Chicago Network and The Commercial Club, and a German Marshall fellow.
- 8:00 a.m. - Coffee Reception
- 8:30 a.m. - Opening remarks and welcome
- Salutation address by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker
- Special remarks and presentation of the award by Cynthia Yazdi, Motorola Solutions
- Video tribute to Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services Grace B. Hou followed by Secretary Hou's remarks
- 9:00 a.m. - Closing remarks and plated breakfast service
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNER SPONSORS!
ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND HONORARY CO-CHAIRS:
Daniel E. Leary
Donovan W. Pepper
Margaret Houlihan Smith
Hon. JB Pritzker
Hon. Lori E. Lightfoot
Hon. Toni Preckwinkle
Rosemarie S. Andolino
Dr. Allison Arwady
Dorval R. Carter, Jr.
Hon. Judy Erwin
Dr. Ngozi Ezike
Hon. Julie Hamos
Karin M. Norington-Reaves
2012 Julie Hamos, Director, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
2011 Margaret C. Daley, Former First Lady, City of Chicago
2010 James R. Reilly, Trustee, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
2009 Judy Erwin, Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education
2008 Arne Duncan, CEO, Chicago Public Schools
2007 Ron Huberman, President, Chicago Transit Authority
2006 Lori Healey, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Planning and Development
2005 Shirley Madigan, Chair, Illinois Arts Council
2004 Terry Peterson, CEO, Chicago Housing Authority
2003 James Joyce, Commissioner, Chicago Fire Department
2002 Pam McDonough, Director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs
2001 William Holland, Auditor General, State of Illinois
2000 Mary Dempsey, Commissioner, Chicago Public Library
Audrey McCrimon, Assistant to Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services
1999 Lois Weisberg, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
1998 Paul Vallas, CEO, Chicago Public Schools
1997 Jess McDonald, Director, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
1996 Richard Wagner, Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education
1995 Robert Belcaster, Chairman, Chicago Transit Authority
1994 Ruth Rothstein, Director, Cook County Hospital
1993 Mary Decker Laraia, Director, Cook County Capital Planning
1992 Sister Sheila Lyne, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Health