William W. Towns
Assistant Vice President, Neighborhood Initiatives
William W. Towns is an Assistant Vice President within the Office of Civic Engagement and leads the department’s Neighborhood Initiatives team. In this role he is charged with developing a set of policies and strategies that leverage the strengths of a premier academic and research institution to revitalize communities by influencing economic growth, improving health outcomes, and advancing campus developments that contribute to the vibrancy and sustainability of the community.
Prior to his current position, William was the Regional Vice President of Mercy Portfolio Services (MPS), a subsidiary of Mercy Housing Inc., and was responsible for the overall implementation of a $169 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act under the City of Chicago’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The goal of the program was to help stabilize communities through the purchase, rehab and re-occupying of foreclosed and vacant real estate owned (REO) properties in 27 neighborhoods in the City of Chicago, which created 1,700 jobs and more than 1,000 units of housing.
William is an alumnus of Harvard University’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business, University of Wisconsin’s Madison Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, and Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business.
In 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed William to the City of Chicago’s Community Land Trust Board. He also serves on the Cook County Economic Development Advisory Committee, PNC Bank’s Community Development Advisory Board and the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Chicago FBI Citizens’ Academy Alumni Board. In June 2014, William received the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business Alumni Service Award for his dedication to improving Chicago neighborhoods.