Believers in Being & Building Green
Margot and Harold Schiff P'90 & P'95 help change the lives of the disadvantaged with a green development project in Chicago.
Margot and Haorld Schiff, parents of Pitzer College graduates David and Emily Anne, believe in being green and supporting sustainable initiatives that positively affect the lives of others. This strong commitment as well as their financial support resulted in the construction of the Margot and Harold Schiff Residences, an amazing ninety-six-unit single-room occupancy building for very low-income residents in the Near North neighborhood of Chicago.
The project was completed in conjunction with Mercy Housing Lakefront, a nonprofit organization that responds to the need for affordable housing for economically poor individuals. “Harold and I are proud of the building. Green building can be affordable without taking anything away from its quality,” Margot said. Mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley gave the land for the building to Mercy Housing for development.
The building received the first multi-family Silver LEED rating by the U.S. Green Building Council in the city of Chicago for its lower or non-toxic building materials, solar panels, roof wind turbines, sustainable landscaping, and rain water and grey water systems. The residences are adjacent to an organic city garden. Green cleaning workshops are given to the building residents.
The Margot and Harold Schiff Residences earned special recognition at the Fifty-Second Annual Design Excellence Awards from the American Institute of Architects in Chicago. The project was also named the Best Special-Needs Project by Affordable Housing Finance readers. Helmut Jahn, coined “the undisputed crown prince of Chicago” and known for his bold designs, served as the project's architect.
Special feature articles on this green residence appeared in The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
“Mercy Housing Lakefront constructs residential living that is healthy—physically, mentally and emotionally— to strengthen the lives of its residents,” Michelle Friedman, annual giving manager of Mercy Housing Lakefront, said. “The Schiffs are setting a great example for others to follow.”