NH&RA’s Vision Awards: A Larger Purpose

3 min read

Providing housing and its resultant community benefits not just as an occupation, but as the means to sustaining the American dream, was the theme that ran throughout the emotional ceremony honoring Andrea Daskalakis and David Abromowitz as winners of NH&RA’s 2014 Affordable Housing Vision Awards for Career Achievement.

“I am blessed to be a part of the NHRA family of affordable housing providers, an industry full of people who look at what has to be done to improve the world and do it,” said Abromowitz, Partner/Director and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Practice at the Boston law firm Goulston & Storrs, upon accepting his award from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (via video) and Kate Racer of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

“I am fortunate to work on high impact products that help transform blight into hope and opportunity, that have extraordinary outcomes in indigent communities,” said Daskalakis, who, according to presenter Joe Flatley, recently closed her 100th project for Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation where she serves as Chief Investment Officer, representing $547 million in financing for 3,774 units and 1.6 million square feet of commercial space.

“I am thankful that I can work in pursuit of social justice issues,” Daskalakis continued, “and give people the same opportunity to pursue the same American dream that was pursued by my own parents so many years ago.” The presentation brought tears to the standing-room-only crowd, including her husband Emmanuel and two grandchildren, that packed the Bank of America Auditorium in Boston’s Financial District on the afternoon of October 6th.

Daskalakis and Abromowitz join a distinguished list of 21 past recipients that includes former Boston mayor Thomas Menino, former Congressman Barney Frank, industry founder Jack Manning of Boston Capital, Tax Credit Advisor columnist David Smith of Recap Advisors, and presenter Kate Racer.

“Clear thinker, sharp eyed, knows where he is going, deep foresight, and with a significant commitment to the life of the community,” Racer said of Abromowitz. “Boston affordable housing is a nuclear community and these people (Abromowitz and Daskalakis) are at its center.”

“Each of us has a chance to contribute something greater than ourselves, but not all of us do,” said Governor Patrick. “Afford-able housing helps generate jobs, create opportunities and improve communities.”

“Affordable housing is as much about the men and women and children who live in the buildings as about the tax credits,” Abromowitz commented. “While craft is important, your contribution is more important. A great deal is one that makes a difference in a larger community.”

“My career satisfaction has derived from my work, truly one deal at a time,” said Daskalakis, who has focused on development via New Markets Tax Credits since the implementation of that program. “Culturally specific therapies for indigent communities, community health centers in low income neighborhoods, early learning centers to break the cycle of poverty, a parent learning lab to provide new skills and training.”

Expressing his appreciation for the work of NH&RA, Abromowitz characterized the organization as “always at the forefront, a step ahead in promoting policies to better the life of the less fortunate.”

“We have many coming challenges,” he continued. “We have an aging population and many do not know what is going to come next. But NH&RA can lead the way.”

And Andrea Daskalakis did not leave the podium without exhorting the crowd, “Contact your Congressman on making the New Markets Tax Credit permanent,” which drew a loud and determined cheer.