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ULI’s Ron Terwilliger named true visionary

The importance of appealing affordable housing as a vital component of thriving communities has been 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 was 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, was honored at a celebratory dinner in Washington last week.

Terwilliger was recognized for his 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 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.

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.

“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.”

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