Support our Work  Member Login

Official Event-Day Page: The 30th Annual Excellence in Public Service Award Ceremony

Welcome to the 30th Annual Motorola Solutions Foundation Excellence in Public Service Awards, presented by the Civic Federation!

Video of the full December 9 program appears below. After you watch, sign our digital guestbook and scroll down to learn more about our current and past honorees, our independent advisory committee and our partner sponsors.

View this program in full-screen: once the video is playing, click the square in the bottom, right-hand corner of the video screen.



  • 8:00 a.m. - Coffee reception for in-person guests
  • 8:30 a.m. - Opening remarks and welcome
    • Salutation address by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker
    • Special remarks and presentation of the award by Cynthia Yazdi, Motorola Solutions
    • Video tribute to Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services Grace B. Hou followed by Secretary Hou's remarks
  • 9:00 a.m. - Closing remarks and plated breakfast service for in-person guests


Grace B. Hou has served under Governor JB Pritzker as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) since March 2019. The mission of IDHS is to strengthen Illinois by building up lives and communities which is achieved through an integrated network of mental health, substance use prevention and recovery, rehabilitation, developmental disabilities and family and community services. IDHS operates seven psychiatric hospitals, seven developmental centers, one treatment and detention facility for sexually violent persons, 76 local offices and four schools.

Grace also previously served as the Assistant Secretary at IDHS from 2003 to 2012, and, during that time, she was an architect of Illinois’ Immigrant Integration New American’s Gubernatorial Executive Order which was nationally recognized.

Grace has dedicated her career to advancing social justice by working in the non-profit and public sectors systems for change improvement through public policy development and implementation, social services provision, community organizing and engagement, and philanthropy. Grace most recently served as the President of Woods Fund Chicago from February 2012 to March 2019. Woods Fund Chicago is a bold grantmaking foundation that finds–and funds–projects that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism.

Early in her career, she was the Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA) and has been a vocal advocate for immigrants’ rights. Grace is a child of immigrants from Taiwan and has lived and worked in Illinois since she was eight years old. She studied at the University of Illinois and has two teenage sons. She is the board chair of the Healthy Communities Foundation, a 2001 Leadership Greater Chicago fellow, a member of The Chicago Network and The Commercial Club, and a German Marshall fellow.



Past Honorees

Advisory Committee

Honorary Co-Chairs

2020-  Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director, Illinois Department of Public Health and Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health

2019 - Dorval Carter, President, Chicago Transit Authority

2018 - Jamie Rhee, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation

2017 - Arnold Randall, General Superintendent, Cook County Forest Preserve District

2016 - Karin M. Norington-Reaves, CEO, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership

2015 - Karen Tamley, Commissioner, Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

2014 - Rocco Claps, Director, Illinois Department of Human Rights

2013 - Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation

Click here for the full list.

    Lori Healey

    Daniel E. Leary

    Thomas Livingston

    Pam McDonough

    Eileen Mitchell

    Ashli Nelson

    Donovan W. Pepper

    Margaret Houlihan Smith

   Hon. JB Pritzker

   Hon. Lori E. Lightfoot

   Hon. Toni Preckwinkle

   Rosemarie S. Andolino

   Dr. Allison Arwady 

   Dorval R. Carter, Jr.

   Rocco Claps

   Arne Duncan

   Hon. Judy Erwin

   Dr. Ngozi Ezike

   Hon. Julie Hamos

   Lori Healey

   William Holland

   Ron Huberman

   Shirley Madigan

   Jess McDonald

   Pam McDonough

   Karin M. Norington-Reaves

   Arnold Randall

   Karen Tamley





Click here to see all guestbook messages.