A lifelong resident of South Holland, Illinois, Don A. De Graff, has served the Village for more than 28 years. He was elected Village Trustee in 1993 and become mayor in 1994.
Mayor De Graff serves as a member of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation. He is Chairman of the Little Calumet River Watershed Planning Council, and he is the longest-standing director on the Metra Board of Directors, having served for 10 years. Mayor De Graff recognizes the importance of regional cooperation to promote infrastructure improvements and transportation accessibility. These initiatives include the Southland Water Agency, the South Suburban Airport, the Illiana Expressway, the Metra Electric District Line, a proposed Metra Southeast Service Line.
In addition to his mayoral responsibilities, Mayor De Graff served 50 years in banking—30 years at First Savings and Loan of South Holland, finishing there as its president, and 20 years at MB Financial, which later became Fifth Third Bank.
Mayor De Graff is a graduate of Illiana Christian High School, earned a B.A. in Business Economics from Calvin College, and received an M.B.A. in Finance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
He serves on the Elder Board of First Reformed Church, and is on the Board of Governors for Providence Life Services, Inc. He has also served in the capacity of Board President for Illiana High School and Calvin Christian School, and was a director on the Board as well as Treasurer of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. Mayor De Graff played a major role in the origination of Chicagoland Prison Outreach and is the initial founder of Unity Christian Academy.
Mayor De Graff’s passion for youth engagement and community involvement is evidenced in the many places and programs he has initiated. It was his vision to establish the South Holland Community Center and the rebuild of Veterans Memorial Park as places for kids and community members to come together. He was also instrumental in establishing the South Holland Youth Commission and creating the former Faith Family Future Center for hosting youth activities.
Mayor De Graff has authored three major strategic plans for the Village of South Holland—the Balanced Approach to Housing in the 1990s, the Model Community Initiative in the early 2000s, and Vision 2022 in 2013. His purpose behind these plans was to provide for the highest quality of essential public services with a high priority of embracing diversity through the process.
A well-respected leader in the region, Mayor De Graff has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Municipal Leader Award from the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Leadership Award from the Chicago Southland Alliance, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Diversity, Inc., a Leadership Award of Excellence from the South/Southwest Association of Realtors, a Community Leadership Award from Christ Community Church of South Holland, an Appreciation Award for Christian Leadership from the South Holland Ministerial Association, and the Outstanding Municipality Award from the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor De Graff and is wife, Nyla, are the parents of four children—Cari, Chad, Curt, and Cristi—and have 16 grandchildren, their most cherished awards.
Welcome to the Village of South Holland!
It is our intention to make your experience in South Holland secure, convenient and rewarding.
Our Village was founded by early Dutch settlers in 1847. Our rich history has included a heritage of faith in God with an important emphasis on unity in the family. This heritage has outlined and defined who we are as a community. As we have grown into a diverse community we have retained and nurtured this traditional value system, which continues to provide a strong foundation for us as a Village.
Our mission as a Board and Administration is to create an atmosphere where each resident feels the acceptance of their neighbor and community. We desire to increase communication and to build strong new relationships with each other. We want to progressively move toward the goal of becoming a “Model Community” that will set the standard to which all cities, towns and villages will aspire. We will work side by side with our churches, businesses, schools, service organizations and residential leadership to accomplish this goal.
I am confident that you will find our Village to be a great place to live, work, and raise a family. If I, the Village Board or Administration can be of any assistance to you, please let us know.
Don A. De Graff, Village President