2014 ULI J.C. Nichols Prize Winner—Dr. Judith Rodin
Dr. Judith Rodin has been named the 2014 ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development winner.
October 16, 2014
Dr. Rodin to be honored October 23 during ULI’s Fall Meeting in New York City
For more information, contact Trisha Riggs at 202/624-7086
WASHINGTON (October 16, 2014) – Dr. Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development, which is the institute’s highest honor. Dr. Rodin will be honored at a celebratory luncheon October 23 during ULI’s Fall Meeting in New York City.
The ULI J.C. Nichols Prize recognizes a person or a person representing an institution who has demonstrated a longtime commitment to the creation of communities that prosper by providing a high quality of life for all citizens, and which reflect the highest standards of design and development. The prize honors the legacy of Kansas City, Missouri, developer J.C. Nichols, a founding ULI member considered to be one of America’s most creative entrepreneurs in land use during the first half of the 1900s.
This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Nichols Prize, which was first awarded in 2000 to Charleston, S.C. Mayor Joseph Riley. Dr. Rodin, a psychologist, is the fifteenth recipient of the prestigious honor. She is being recognized for her leadership in the revival of the neighborhood surrounding the University of Pennsylvania while serving as the university’s president, and for her current leadership of The Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts to create healthy, thriving communities worldwide.
“Through the Nichols Prize, we have sought to recognize visionaries who have made a contribution to community building — to making a positive change — over a substantial amount of time,” says 2014 prize jury chairman James D. Klingbeil, chairman and chief executive officer of Klingbeil Capital Management, Ltd. in San Francisco. “Dr. Rodin is a true leader in community building, and her work epitomizes what the prize is all about.”
Dr. Rodin, whose career has spanned more than four decades, is widely recognized as a visionary and an innovator in neighborhood redevelopment and in the creation of thriving, vibrant communities. Her work at The Rockefeller Foundation is rooted in the West Philadelphia Initiatives, an extraordinary neighborhood revitalization program she led while serving as the president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2004. Under Dr. Rodin’s leadership, Penn became more integrated into the community through a strategy designed as an interlocking series of programs to address the area’s security, education, housing and economic development needs, with the university taking the lead role as developer and facilitator. The West Philadelphia Initiatives received a ULI Award for Excellence in 2003.
“My vision is a more resilient society, one where greater opportunity is shared by more people,” Dr. Rodin says. “Throughout my life and career, it has always mattered to me that people feel empowered to participate in decision making – in outcomes that affect their lives. My work enables that vision to be actualized.”
Dr. Rodin’s steadfast commitment to create positive change transformed Penn’s relationship with the community, and it guides her current work at The Rockefeller Foundation. Since she assumed the presidency in 2005, the amount awarded by the foundation annually has risen to approximately $200 million in grants, which have leveraged more than $1 billion during that time in additional funds from partners. Applying the same pioneering approach she used at Penn, Dr. Rodin has overseen a structural shift at the foundation that has resulted in a portfolio of interconnected initiatives. Each initiative addresses multiple focus areas, all aimed at meeting four equally important goals – revalue ecosystems, advance health, secure livelihoods, and transform cities. Specifically, the initiatives are aimed at creating new job opportunities for youth in Africa and the United States; bringing clean electrification to rural villages in India; developing the fields of impact investing and innovative finance; advancing access to universal health coverage in developing countries; and building more-resilient communities.
All of the focus areas are part of an overarching effort to reinforce the resilience of communities to environmental, economic and social changes — enabling them to realize what the foundation refers to as the “resilience dividend.”
The term, which is the title of a new book by Dr. Rodin, is one she often uses to describe the benefits of proactive investments in resilience building. “Resilience is about planning, it’s about investing in ways that are protective,” she explains. “We are beginning to understand that there is a dividend associated with investing in resilience. It provides more economic opportunities, and better social cohesion. We believe strongly that building resilience can reduce the likelihood that every disruption becomes a disaster.”
In May 2013, The Rockefeller Foundation announced the “100 Resilient Cities Challenge,” a $100 million commitment to build resilience in cities around the world. The foundation defines resilience as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.” Through the program, grants are being awarded to 100 cities to support the hiring of a chief resilience officer, as well as to assist with the creation and implementation of a resilience strategy.
In December 2013, 32 cities ranging from Byblos, Lebanon to New Orleans were selected from the first funding round as grant recipients; an additional 33 recipients from the second round will be announced within the next few months. The two funding rounds collectively drew more than 700 applications, which Dr. Rodin proudly points to as an indicator that cities worldwide are “thinking about resilience is a very deliberative way.”
The Rockefeller Foundation is also the lead supporter of Rebuild by Design, a program created by the federal government in response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastation in 2012 of communities in the Northeast region of the U.S. Rebuild by Design is dedicated to creating innovative community- and policy-based solutions to protect the nation’s cities that are most vulnerable to increasingly intense weather events and future uncertainties. Initiated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, Rebuild by Design involves a design competition through which winning teams of researchers and designers work with local businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders on redeveloping their communities to be environmentally and economically sound. While the program to date has focused on areas affected by Sandy, it is being expanded to communities across the United States.
Through Rodin’s leadership, the foundation is further expanding its focus on resilience with a new program aimed at helping the most vulnerable areas of the world recoup more of the funds spent on disaster recovery and leverage more funds for development. Together with the United States Agency for International Development and other partners, the foundation is supporting initiatives in the Sahel and Horn regions of Africa and the region between South and Southeast Asia to enable humanitarian relief agencies to invest more in building capacity prior to emergencies.
“Resilience applies to how you organize leadership and governance, and to the kind of social fabric and social cohesion that exists, as well as physical infrastructure, land use planning, and design,” Dr. Rodin says. “Resilience is often referred to as an inborn quality, but we are learning that resilience is a learnable characteristic for people, institutions, and cities.”
In addition to James D. Klingbeil, other 2014 Nichols Prize jury members were: John Bucksbaum, founder, Bucksbaum Retail Properties, Chicago; Mark Johnson, president, Civitas, Denver; Sir Stuart Lipton, 2007 ULI J.C. Nichols laureate and founder, Lipton Rogers Developments LLP, London; and former ULI Chairman Marilyn J. Taylor, Dean of the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
“Dr. Rodin is one of the great leaders in this country. The mark she is continuing to make at The Rockefeller Foundation is going to benefit society as a whole,” Bucksbaum said.
NOTE TO REPORTERS, EDITORS AND PHOTO EDITORS: To arrange interviews with Dr. Rodin that are related to the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize, or to interview Nichols Prize jury members, contact Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086 or email: [email protected] . Additionally, a tribute video highlighting Dr. Rodin’s work in community building and philanthropy is now available for media use.
About the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development
The ULI J.C. Nichols Prize is funded by an endowment from the family of J.C. Nichols to the ULI Foundation. A management committee including ULI representatives and members of the Nichols family directs the prize program. More information on the prize program is available at www.nicholsprize.org.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has nearly 33,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.
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