Wednesday April 4, 2007

Serving the City

Two veteran community leaders, including a University of Dayton alumna, were honored April 3 at the CityLinks Neighborhood Conference for nearly 20 years of service providing affordable housing to low-income residents in the Dayton area.

Sr. Rose Wildenhaus and Richard J. McBride received the annual Mattie Davis/Joseph Kanak Community Builders Award for their work through the St. Mary's Development Corp. at the annual conference sponsored by the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community at the University of Dayton.

In saluting the award winners, Dayton City Commissioner Dean Lovelace, who is also director of the Dayton Civic Scholars at the Fitz Center, noted their long term commitment to community development and to providing high quality housing to low-income residents.

"Sister Rose and Dick have been major impact players in providing not only affordable housing but good looking housing to Dayton's most vulnerable population," Lovelace said.

Wildenhaus, a 1965 UD graduate and Sister of the Precious Blood, co-founded the development corporation with McBride in 1989. Targeting the Twin Towers neighborhood that surrounds St. Mary's Catholic Church on Xenia Avenue in East Dayton, SMDC became a highly effective, nonprofit provider of affordable housing to low-income seniors and families.

Since then, the corporation has been involved in 28 projects providing quality housing opportunities to more than 2,000 households. Projects include: Twin Towers Place, Huffman Place, Grand Place, Hoover Place and Wright Place.

The two award-winners are known for constructing quality facilities, as well as for on-going operations that provide residents with a high quality of life through strong management and support services.

The development corporation also sponsors the Home Ownership Center of Greater Dayton, which has helped thousands of people achieve the dream of owning their own homes.

The CityLinks award is given in memory of Mattie Davis, a long-time community activist from the Edgemont neighborhood, who was a trusted partner of the University of Dayton through neighborhood projects such as the Edgemont Neighborhood Coalition and Edgemont Solar Garden.

A life-long resident and leader of Old North Dayton, Kanak was chair of the Northeast Priority Board and active in the Old North Dayton Development Corporation. Kanak received the award in 2000. When he passed away two years later, his name was added to the award.

CityLinks is sponsored by UD's Fitz Center for Leadership in Community with support from the Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area and the Dayton Power and Light Co.

For more information on CityLinks, contact Dean Lovelace at 937-229-4643. For more on the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community, contact Executive Director Dick Ferguson at 937-229-5400 or go to