Established in 1985 to honor IS founding chair John W. Gardner, the annual award recognizes an individual whose leadership in the nonprofit community has been transformative; who has mobilized people, institutions, or a cause that improves the lives of others; and who exemplifies the leadership and ideals of the award's namesake.
Through Community Solutions, Haggerty has helped communities across America combat chronic homelessness through the use of data analytics, quality-improvement strategies, and design thinking. A 2001 MacArthur Fellow, Haggerty has worked to end homelessness since 1990, when she began Common Ground, now known as Breaking Ground, New York City's largest provider of supportive housing. According to IS, Haggerty's work at Common Ground stood out because of the strategies it employed, including asking homeless individuals directly what they saw as the barriers to ending homelessness — an approach that helped Common Ground reduce homelessness in a twenty-block area around Times Square by 87 percent over four years.
Founded in 2011, Community Solutions works with the charitable, business, and government sectors to identify the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals in communities across the country and finds holistic solutions to their homelessness. The organization's 100,000 Homes Campaign, which ended in July 2014, helped communities across the country find homes for 105,580 homeless Americans in the four years that it was operational.
"We are honored to recognize Rosanne Haggerty's leadership and work," said Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation and chair of the 2017 John W. Gardner Leadership Award Committee at Independent Sector. "She has humbly and effectively led organizations to combat homelessness not just to improve lives for those individuals but get at the very heart of what is causing the problem. We are all lucky to have her passion and tenacity working to strengthen our communities."