Kilgannon honored with 2023 Marvin Mottet Leadership Award

Leslie Kilgannon stands with family members after receiving the 2023 Marvin Mottet Leadership Award Oct. 8 in Bettendorf.

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Quad Cities Interfaith honored Leslie Kilgannon, a champion for housing opportunities that promote economic and community development, with the 2023 Marvin Mottet leadership Award.

Kilgannon, executive director of Quad Cities Housing Council and former executive director of Quad Cities Interfaith (QCI), received the award Oct. 8 during the social justice organization’s banquet fundraiser “Unmasking Injustice: What’s Behind the Mask?” The event took place at the Rhythm City Casino in Bettendorf.

“Leslie was chosen due to her long history with Quad Cities Interfaith and her commitment to working toward justice during and after her time at QCI. During her time at QCI, she worked toward implementing the Scott County Mental Health Court and the 100 Ready Worker Program,” said Mayra Hernandez, QCI’s acting director.


“Her work continues now with the Quad Cities Housing Council in ensuring that the housing organizations have the financial resources to serve the community.”

Kilgannon was serving as director of QCI when the organization created the award in honor of Msgr. Marvin Mottet, a priest of the Davenport Diocese who was a champion of social justice his entire priesthood, until his death in 2016. He served as the diocese’s first Social Action director and later as executive director of what is now the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) from 1978-1985.

“I was delighted and humbled” to receive the award, Kilgannon told The Catholic Messenger. “It’s an incredible honor. Monsignor was a mentor to me and when I visited him a few days before he died (she was QCI’s executive director then), he asked me to keep the work going. I hope I can live up to his expectations!”

Receiving the award is “encouragement to keep going,” Kilgannon said. “I think, like many folks, I have been feeling overwhelmed with all the injustices and suffering and feeling a bit hopeless. Maybe this is Monsignor’s nudge to keep going, to keep working with others to bend the arc of the universe more towards justice.”

She worked for QCI from 2006-2017 before accepting her current position with the Quad Cities Housing Council. She also served as QCI’s board chair from 2019-2022. “QCI and Gamaliel (National Net­work) taught me about building relationships and building power. We need to work together to achieve systemic change, to eradicate poverty, racism, injustice. We can all do our part as individuals but by building power, we can create real change,” Kilgannon said.

Her work with the Quad Cities Housing Council (QCHC) promotes the coordination and builds the capacity of housing development throughout the Quad Cities by focusing funders’ resources, coordinating funding requests, marketing housing agencies to larger foundations and maximizing housing dollars coming into the area.

The housing council serves as the resource and development arm for the Quad Cities Housing Cluster, whose members collaborate to address the overall housing needs and opportunities of the Quad-Cities’ communities.

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