Longtime ULI Leader and Internationally Renowned Housing Expert J. Ronald Terwilliger Named 2013 Recipient of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries In Urban Development

Urban Land Institute

For more information, contact Trisha Riggs 202/624-7086; email: priggs@uli.org

WASHINGTON (September 10, 2013) – The importance of appealing affordable housing as a vital component of thriving communities is being recognized with this year’s Urban Land Institute (ULI) J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Internationally recognized housing expert and former ULI Chairman J. Ronald Terwilliger has been chosen as the 2013 recipient of the prize, which is the institute’s highest honor. Terwilliger, founder of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing and chairman emeritus of Trammell Crow Residential, is being honored tomorrow evening at a celebratory dinner in Washington.  

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 $100,000 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.

Terwilliger is being recognized for his extraordinary civic and philanthropic efforts to raise awareness of decent housing as a basic human need, with a particular emphasis on  increasing the supply of  housing that is both affordable to the workforce and close to transit and employment centers. His advocacy work in the housing affordability arena has built momentum over the past two decades, evolving into a fulltime commitment in the latter 2000’s, as he wound down his highly successful career as Trammell Crow Residential’s top executive.  As ULI chairman from 1999-2001, he regularly spoke and wrote about the need for affordable and mixed-income housing, and at the conclusion of his term, he provided ULI with an endowment to support a senior resident fellow position focused on housing.

In 2007, Terwilliger committed $5 million – the largest individual gift ever contributed to ULI at the time – to establish the ULI J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Housing, which engages in a multifaceted program of work to further the development of mixed-income, mixed-use communities with a full spectrum of housing. That same year, he contributed $5 million to Enterprise Community Partners, where he currently serves as chairman of the board, to support affordable housing development through the Enterprise Terwilliger Fund. In 2009, he announced a $100 million legacy gift to Habitat for Humanity International – the largest donation the organization has ever received from an individual -- which will help an estimated 60,000 low-income families around the world improve their housing. A member of Habitat’s board of directors since 2000, he has served as the board chairman for the organization and is the global chair for its “A World of Hope: It Starts at Home” fundraising campaign.  

“In my professional life, I’ve seen housing strengthen health, education, families, communities and economies,” Terwilliger said. “In my philanthropic life, I’ve tried to demonstrate my belief that hope begins with access to a decent, affordable home. I want to help ensure a leveraged, sustained impact beyond my lifetime and inspire others to make the commitment to support affordable housing.”

Terwilliger’s interest in moderate-income housing is rooted in a combination of experiences -- his modest upbringing in Arlington, Va.; working as a young professional for Charles Fraser at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C. in the early 1970s; and 23 years as the chief executive of Trammell Crow Residential, which, under his leadership, became the nation’s largest developer of multifamily housing. Each of these, in different ways, reinforced his decision to champion housing – specifically mixed-income housing – as a way to increase the availability of attractive affordable housing.

“I know how important it is to give people a chance. And that chance starts with a decent house the family can afford in a suitable neighborhood…If the first half of your business life is for success, the second half should be for significance. I’m in my second half, and I’m hoping to make a difference,” Terwilliger said.  

“What separates Ron from a great many people is that not only does he contribute financial resources to what he’s involved in, and what he feels is important, but the fact that he is willing to give his time, his knowledge, and his experience,” said Nichols Prize Jury Chairman John Bucksbaum, chief executive officer of Bucksbaum Properties. “Very few people do this. It’s a testament to the type of person Ron is.”

In addition to Bucksbaum, other 2013 Nichols Prize jury members were: Ronald A. Altoon, founder and partner, Altoon Partners, LLP, Los Angeles; F. Barton Harvey, board member, Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C.; former ULI Chairman and ULI Foundation Chairman James D. Klingbeil, chairman and chief executive officer, Klingbeil Capital Management, San Francisco, Calif.; and former ULI Chairman Marilyn J. Taylor, Dean and Paley Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia.

Two years ago, Terwilliger was asked to serve on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission, created following the housing industry collapse to help reform the nation’s housing policy and address near-term and long-term challenges facing the housing sector. Earlier this year, the commission issued recommendations to the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress on scaling back the government’s role in the nation’s housing finance system, and revising housing assistance programs to better meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable households. Jury member Taylor serves on the Housing Commission with Terwilliger. “Ron is one of the most effective and influential advocates of forward-looking housing policies I’ve ever known,” she said. “He is showing public leaders how private (sector) investment in housing can achieve the long-standing elusive goal of decent housing and a suitable living environment for every American.”

Since the creation of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing, ULI has published several publications related to housing affordability, including a series that documented the transportation and housing cost burden of workers in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Boston; last year, ULI published the award-winning Housing America’s Workforce, which showcases best practices in workforce and mixed-income housing development. The case studies in the book are recipients of the center’s Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Models of Excellence Awards, named in remembrance of the former U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, who served on the Terwilliger Center’s advisory board. Earlier this year, the center released America in 2013, the first in an annual series of research reports examining consumer preferences in housing, transportation and communities. In addition, the center regularly convenes housing experts from the private, public, and non-profit sector to examine a range of housing issues and trends, and discuss how best to catalyze development of mixed-income housing.

“Ron’s example of giving back is extraordinary. Together, his industry expertise and passion for housing make him an incredibly effective advocate for a cause that is critical to improving the quality of life for people worldwide,” said ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “He is a doer who is absolutely committed to making a measurable difference. Our institute, our industry, and our communities have been made all the better for his leadership.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS, EDITORS AND PHOTO EDITORS: To arrange interviews with J. Ronald Terwilliger related to the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize or interview Nichols Prize jury members, contact Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086 or email: priggs@uli.org .   Images of Terwilliger are provided by ULI for use by legitimate members of the press and media only. available for download and press use. http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanlandinstitute/sets/72157635469273010/

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 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

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September 10, 2013 - 9:21am
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