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ULI AUSTIN ANNOUNCES PHYLLIS SNODGRASS, CEO OF AUSTIN HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, AS RECIPIENT OF 2022 VISION AWARD
Vision Award to be presented at ULI Austin’s 2022 Impact Awards event on Wednesday, August 31 at The Topfer Theater at ZACH
AUSTIN, Texas – June 22, 2022 – The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Austin, an education, research and resource organization focused on shaping the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide, today announced that Phyllis Snodgrass, Chief Executive Officer of Austin Habitat for Humanity, has been named the recipient of its prestigious annual Vision Award.
The ULI Austin Vision Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in his or her lifetime within the Austin region. Winners are selected annually by the ULI Austin Governance Committee and represent a diverse range of sectors, including real estate, finance, public service, not-for-profit and education. Previous recipients of the award include Walter Moreau of Foundation Communities (2021); Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette of Huston-Tillotson University (2019); Gary Farmer of Heritage Title (2018); Senator Kirk Watson (2017); Alan Graham of Mobile Loaves & Fishes (2016); and Tom Stacy of CapRidge Partners (2015).
Snodgrass has been a leader in community engagement across Central Texas for over two decades and has been firmly committed to positive change for families and communities in Austin and throughout Texas. For the past six years at Austin Habitat, she has turned her talents to one of the most critical issues facing the Austin area: affordable housing. Snodgrass has led the organization to ongoing growth, allowing Austin Habitat to continue supporting more families in need despite challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and escalating homebuilding costs. Under her leadership, Austin Habitat has expanded into a five-county area. It has increased the provision of high-quality, affordable new homes, critical home repairs for seniors and other homeowners struggling to remain independent, and HUD-certified housing counseling that empowers community members to become successful homeowners and reach other life goals.
Snodgrass’s leadership has increased awareness and positive perception of the already-strong Habitat for Humanity brand in Central Texas when the organization’s mission to produce affordable homes and raise hope in the community is more needed than ever. During her tenure, Austin Habitat has faced enormous pressures in an increasingly cost-burdened market. As a result, Snodgrass and her leadership team have focused on ensuring sustainable, diversified funding streams to support Austin Habitat’s growth in Austin and expansion throughout the region.
Austin Habitat has built over 500 homes during its 37-year history and plans to build 500 more in the next five years through the traditional Habitat volunteer-built housing model and more innovative housing models and partnerships. Snodgrass has taken the lead in ensuring this expansion, partly by working with organizational leadership and outside partners to develop denser housing models for the Habitat program, including row homes, townhomes, and condominiums. She has also overseen the expansion of the organization’s HomeBase subsidiary, which works with private developers who wish to provide affordable housing but do not have the infrastructure to recruit and qualify low- and moderate-income families. In addition, she has expanded its relationships with local homebuilders to support additional housing growth in the area.
Snodgrass and her team at Austin Habitat have long recognized that soaring land and construction costs and stagnant local land-use policies inhibit the ability for any developer, nonprofit or private, to produce affordable homes in this area. Her team at Austin Habitat has worked hard to create innovative solutions to these problems, realizing that policy-level work is critical to creating systems change that provides a positive impact beyond the Habitat partner families. Austin Habitat has significantly advanced its community advocacy under Snodgrass’s leadership, working to ensure better housing policies to provide more high-quality homes for all community members. In addition, Austin Habitat has supported increased public funding support for affordable development and advocated strongly for land-use reforms to remove outdated barriers to affordable housing creation.
Snodgrass has been the face of the organization’s advocacy, appearing in numerous local media outlets, testifying at various levels of government to advocate for better policy, and working with internal and external stakeholders to emphasize the importance of systematic change around affordable housing in Central Texas. Austin Habitat also has advanced solutions like deed restrictions that ensure long-term affordability on all homes sold through the Habitat program.
Snodgrass’s leadership has helped Austin Habitat significantly expand its ReStore program to support affiliate growth by providing unrestricted funding and benefiting the community and the environment. Austin Habitat now operates three ReStores in Central Texas, including the flagship store at Ben White and South 1st, the #1 U.S. ReStore for gross receipts for the past four years. The team also introduced a contactless e-commerce store during the pandemic that continues to generate substantial revenues. Austin Habitat has recently secured a site for a 4th ReStore location in Pflugerville as part of a planned expansion to five stores.
Snodgrass firmly believes that affordable housing can change lives and even change the world. In addition to her work leading Austin Habitat, she represents the Austin affiliate on the U.S. Council of Habitat for Humanity International and several committees. In 2018, Snodgrass participated in a Global Village Build in Vietnam with Habitat for Humanity International, which gave her an enormous appreciation for the work of the Habitat for Humanity network around the world.
“We are privileged to recognize Phyllis as the recipient of the 2022 Vision Award, the highest honor one can receive from ULI Austin,” said Paulette Gibbins, Executive Director of ULI Austin. “She passionately executes the power of advocacy to impact overall affordable housing production and creates collaborative partnerships to further the Austin Habitat for Humanity’s impact on affordable homeownership.”
Prior to joining Austin Habitat for Humanity, Snodgrass supported the state’s thriving business culture in leadership roles at multiple Chambers of Commerce. As Chief Operating Officer for the Austin Chamber of Commerce. She oversaw multiple departments and a large team; created innovative membership development models that powered membership growth and increased the Chamber’s public profile and volunteer involvement; and created internal and external messaging for the organization.
Before joining the Austin Chamber, Snodgrass was the President/Chief Executive Officer of Chambers of Commerce in San Marcos, Victoria and Athens, Texas. In addition, she served in a leadership role for the Texas Association of Businesses. Snodgrass has extensive experience in finance and accounting, having worked as an accountant and financial controller for several businesses before joining the nonprofit world. She also ran her own accounting business, showing an entrepreneurial aptitude that has served her well as a leader.
In addition to her work with Austin Habitat for Humanity, Snodgrass is a Certified Chamber of Commerce Executive and graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management. In addition, she is a member of the Austin Area Research Organization and the Women’s Housing Leadership Group. Snodgrass also participates in a C-12 Business Forum and plans to continue this work after she leaves Austin Habitat in late 2022.
Snodgrass has won several awards for her leadership and innovation. She was named CEO of the Year by the Austin Business Journal in 2019 and was recognized in the 2018 Austin Business Journal Profiles in Power to Central Texas Women of Influence. In addition, Snodgrass received the Executive Leadership Award from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2018. She has also received numerous awards from her decades of leadership at the helm of local Chambers of Commerce across Texas.
The Vision Award will be presented to Snodgrass at ULI Austin’s 2022 Impact Awards event, to be held on Wednesday, August 31 at The Topfer Theater at ZACH. Recipients of other competitive built project and individual award categories will also be recognized. For more information regarding sponsorship, registration and award entry and nomination, visit https://austin.uli.org/events/uli-austin-awards/.
About ULI Austin:
The Austin District Council of the Urban Land Institute was founded in 1994. Today, the Austin District Council includes more than 1,000 Austin-area professionals in the planning, architecture, design, engineering, investor, landscape, lender, legal, construction, communication and government industries, involved in every sector of real estate development, from residential and retail to commercial and hospitality. ULI Austin is known for its topical monthly breakfasts, which feature local and international experts on topics important to the community’s growth and prosperity. For more information, visit Austin.ULI.org.
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