12/22/21 - Congratulations Secretary Hou!

Dear colleagues,

As the year draws to a close, I want to share another update that reminds us that there is so much to be proud of at IDHS.

You may know that our Secretary Grace Hou earned the 2021 Civic Federation Annual Excellence in Public Service Award on December 9. Last year's co-recipients were IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike and Chicago Department of Public Health Director Dr. Allison Arwady.

This prestigious honor reflects positively on every member of the IDHS team and on our partners, who bring essential services and resources to families in need.

At the ceremony, Governor Pritzker introduced Secretary Hou to an audience that included her family, along with many current and former colleagues, and community partners.

[To watch the award presentation, click here: https://www.civicfed.org/PublicServiceEvent2021]

During his speech, the Governor said of Secretary Hou:

  • "Grace manages a budget of $11 billion and a staff of more than 13,000 people - the largest agency in State government…
  • …I asked Grace Hou to return to State government to lead the Department of Human Services in my administration, because I knew that when it comes to fighting for immigrants and refugees, to caring for seniors and the developmentally disabled, to helping working families secure quality early childhood services, to advancing the independence and dignity of people with disabilities, and making sure no family goes hungry, or without basic medical care - there is no one better.
  • … the best public servants know how to move heaven and earth to get the job done. But they do so with a gentle empathy that only comes from years dedicated in service to the most vulnerable among us. It only comes from being willing to care. And if you want to know what that looks like, there's no better instructor than Secretary Grace Hou."

Governor Pritzker got it exactly right. Secretary Hou has spent her entire career in service to others, in not-for-profit organizations, State government, and private philanthropy.

Throughout the pandemic, she guided our team with strength and humility. Those who have the privilege to work closely with her see her tenacity, creativity, and courage on display, every single day.

Please join me in congratulating our Secretary on earning this special recognition - a high honor she richly deserves.

On behalf of the IDHS leadership team, sincere thanks to every person who, like Grace, shows up each day dedicated to the public interest and the common good. Happy holidays.

All the best,

Ryan Croke

Chief of Staff, IDHS