She was presented with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Citizenship Award Sunday evening at this year’s 32nd Annual MLK Memorial Banquet and Awards Presentation. The banquet was hosted by the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation and UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
The MLK Corporation is a non-profit organization that raises scholarship money for high school and UNC students who work in Orange County. They present the Citizenship Award to someone dedicated to local service.
Levy grew up in Massachusetts, but moved to Durham in 1978 to work as a community organizer. She dealt with landlord-tenant and housing issues.
“It’s just been an area that I’ve been interested and involved with my whole career,” she said. “I’ve seen over the years what a difference it makes for folks to be able to have a place they could afford in a decent neighborhood.”
In December 1992, Levy started working with Orange County Habitat for Humanity. As executive director, she is responsible for working with the board of directors and ensuring that the organization accomplishes their goals.
“I was looking to continue the work I had been doing in affordable housing, and Habitat has a wonderful reputation,” Levy said. “I really liked the home-ownership model and the model of engaging the persons who will be owning the home in the construction.”
Levy said Habitat provides good, budget-friendly houses for Orange County residents while creating unlikely friendships among people who volunteer to construct the houses.
“People who get involved in Habitat really bring the full range of political and economic and social beliefs,” she said. “They’re able to come together around a common goal and get to know each other as people. I love that aspect.”