Lifetime Achievement

Gary Squier

Gary’s was a career of improving lives and communities. It spanned both public, nonprofit and private sectors, where he made local, state and national impacts on housing policy, preservation and production.  From his start as a VISTA Volunteer with LA Community Design Center, he went on to co-found Skid Row Development Corporation and become the first Executive Director of Community Corporation of Santa Monica. Both became national models for nonprofit housing and community development. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley selected Gary to staff his Blue Ribbon Committee for Affordable Housing which initiated new housing programs and policies, including the formation of the City’s first Housing Department, for which Gary served as the first General Manager. He directed the City’s housing efforts through the challenges of civil unrest in 1992 and the Northridge Earthquake. The earthquake response resulted in the reconstruction of 14,000 units.

Gary’s interest in housing preservation and a request from HUD Secretary Cisneros took him to Washington to work with HUD to develop national initiatives to preserve “at-risk” affordable housing. Always developer at heart, Gary’s Squier Properties’ produced and preserved of over 2,000 units. And it was most often the toughest of development challenges that Gary tackled. Gary’s lifetime achievements will improve lives and communities forever.  And he will be remembered as much for the person he was as for these achievements.

Wilfred N. Cooper, Sr.,

Will is the founder and Chairman of WNC. He is a recognized leader in affordable housing, having testified before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives regarding affordable housing. He is a Senior Life Director of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a National Trustee for NAHB’s Political Action Committee, a past Chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Council, and, in 2012, NAHB honored him with the Robert J. Corletta award for Affordable Housing. Mr. Cooper was elected a Life Trustee in 2006 of the National Housing Conference (NHC).  In 2011 he was inducted into Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s Affordable Housing Hall of Fame.


Non-profit Sector

Matt Schwartz

As President & CEO of the California Housing Partnership, Matt assists local government and nonprofit organizations with the preservation and creation of affordable housing through policy advocacy, technical assistance and training.  Matt has worked in the development, planning and financing of affordable housing for more than 20 years in both the private and public sectors and has extensive experience with most government funding programs.  Matt also plays a leadership role in California in shaping housing-related legislation and regulations to expand the resources available to preserve and create affordable housing for the state’s lowest income residents. Under Matt’s leadership, the Partnership formed a statewide coalition of more than 2,000 nonprofit and local government housing agencies and tenant advocates in 2008.  The coalition succeeded in getting California’s priorities for funding and legislation in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Acts of 2009.



The San Francisco Foundation

The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) is the community foundation serving the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $800 million over the past ten years. Through the generosity and vision of our donors, both past and present, TSFF granted $89 million in fiscal year 2012. TSFF brings together donors and builds on community assets through grantmaking, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development to make a greater impact in our community. By focusing on people, organizations, neighborhoods, and policy, advocacy and organizing, the Foundation addresses community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment. In response to the economic downturn, TSFF is also focusing funding on safety net partners, job creation and training, and mortgage foreclosure relief and neighborhood preservation. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.


Private Sector

Patrick R. Sabelhaus

Pat practices law in the Sacramento area and specializes in state and federal low-income housing tax credit law, tax-exempt bond financing, real property law and syndication. His clients include both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Mr. Sabelhaus secured one of the first low-income housing tax credit allocation in California in 1987 and has served as the attorney of record to some 375 entities involved in the development of 18,000 low-income housing tax credit units in California, Nevada and New Mexico.


Public Sector

Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins

Assemblymember Toni Atkins was first elected to the California State Assembly in November 2010 to represent the 76th Assembly District.  In 2012, she was re-elected to represent the newly redrawn 78th Assembly District which includes the coastal San Diego communities from Imperial Beach, along the Mexican border, north to Solana Beach, as well as most of central San Diego. She has also been appointed by the Assembly Speaker as the Assembly Majority Leader, an important leadership position and the Assembly Redevelopment Working Group. Assemblymember Atkins has battled for affordable housing throughout her public career, leading the charge to enact the nation’s first Housing State of Emergency in San Diego. She also worked to create the first inclusionary housing policy and secured $55 million in housing funds for the construction of new affordable housing units throughout San Diego.