City of Chicago announces return of the Kathy Osterman Awards

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced the return of the Kathy Osterman Awards, which will recognize City Employees across various departments who exceeded expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award luncheon, the first since 2014, will honor employees who demonstrated integrity, innovation, leadership, teamwork, mentorship, and compassion during the city’s response to COVID-19. Ten winners and 20 finalists will be selected and announced during the awards ceremony luncheon on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. The Kathy Osterman Awards are made possible through the work of the One Chicago Fund with generous support from Motorola Solutions.

“As the year comes to an end, the City of Chicago is ready to move forward, but not without acknowledging all the arduous work City employees have devoted to our communities and serving our City, with respect and care, regardless of the pandemic,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “This year, we are pleased to announce the return of the Kathy Osterman Award luncheon to honor City employees who have demonstrated their hard work and compassion during COVID-19. Together we can continue to be a part of a recovery for all Chicagoans and rebuild and improve Chicago.”

Kathy Osterman was considered a dynamic Aldermanic figure who was fully invested in communities across Chicago. She fiercely advocated for the passage of Chicago’s Human Rights Ordinance in 1988. After two years as an Alderman, she retired and was subsequently appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. In that role, she administered an agency that brought millions of dollars into the local economy each year and had responsibility for the city’s major music festivals, neighborhood festivals, and the Taste of Chicago, the second-largest tourist attraction in Illinois.

“As a community activist, Alderman and Director of Special Events, my mother Kathy was deeply committed to bringing people together to help and support her fellow Chicagoans,” said Alderman Harry Osterman. “The last 19 months have seen incredible sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance by City employees supporting Chicagoans during these challenging times. It is an important time to reinstate the Kathy Osterman Superior Public Service Awards to recognize those local government employees that have provided distinguished service during this time in our city’s history. My family and I are grateful and honored to join with Mayor Lightfoot in recognizing Chicago’s outstanding public servants.”

“Through her tireless work, passion and dedication, Kathy Osterman helped make Chicago a vibrant city for Chicagoans and visitors alike,” said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions. “These awards in her namesake are emblematic — now more than ever — of our city’s unsung heroes who show up and serve our communities each and every day. It’s an honor to support the One Chicago Fund and play a role in providing this well-deserved recognition.”

An ebullient, optimistic, dynamic individual, Kathy Osterman died of cancer in 1992 but left a legacy of commitment to public service and human rights advocacy. The City’s public service awards were renamed for her in honor of her legacy.

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