Woody Widrow, NHI board member and former Shelterforce editor, was the recipient of one of the New Jersey Tenants Organization (NJTO) Ronald Atlas Tenant Leadership Awards last June. These awards honor the memory of Ronald Atlas, co-founder of NJTO and legal architect of tenant advocacy in New Jersey. US Representative William Pascrell of New Jersey delivered the award to Woody at the Annual Ronald Atlas Awards Breakfast during NJTO’s 28th Anniversary celebration. This year’s other recipients were activists Athena Ross and Helen Meissner.
As an organizer with the Newark Tenants Organization, Woody helped win passage of Newark’s rent control law in 1973. He remained active in tenant organizing as a founding member of the Shelterforce Collective in 1975 and served as editor of Shelterforce until 1990. After leaving Shelterforce, he worked first as Senior Program Consultant for the National Congress for Community Economic Development and then as Vice-President of National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Woody is currently assistant director of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders and continues to write about tenant issues and housing development.
Woody’s acceptance speech brought back fond memories of the tenants’ movement in the 70s and 80s, and he delivered a moving tribute to Ron Atlas, of whom “a piece lives on” in all the tenant and housing justice activists Ron influenced.
Board member Bob Zdenek has been designing an Individual Development Account for New Community Corporation and several other CDCs that will have the potential of serving up to 500 people. He has been a speaker at the National Business Incubation Association and The Points of Light Foundation as well as managing several Comprehensive Community Development conferences for Annie E. Casey and Tiger Foundation grantees. Bob has also been chairing an economic development task force for the New Jersey Affordable Housing Network, focusing on capacity building and strategic initiatives, including business improvement districts and sectoral strategies.
In “Reviewing Evaluation: A Critical Look at the State-of-the-Art,” published in NFG Reports, Spring 1997, board member Debbie Visser discusses the changing ways that community-based organizations are evaluating the successes and effects of their work and how foundations help them develop appropriate measurements.