National Civic League is proud to announce the All-America City spotlight for 2015: engaging and supporting vulnerable boys and young men. NCL takes a broad and inclusive view of vulnerable boys and young men and includes populations that are African American, Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, economically challenged, disabled, LGBTQI, religious and other at-risk or under-served identities.

Around the country, communities are adopting approaches to help provide the opportunity for boys and young men to create a path to success and we hope to uplift those programs to be used as replicable models for other communities on key issues such as education, health, access to housing, jobs, racial healing, empowerment, income inequality, and achievement, among others.

NCL values gender equality and is using this spotlight to highlight the targeted successful approaches for vulnerable boys and young men recognizing that these initiatives are a contributing piece of the work it takes to create healthy and prosperous community for all residents. This spotlight builds on NCL’s 20 years of work on diversity, inclusiveness, and racial equity in communities across the country.

The National Civic League recognizes ten communities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments. To win, each community must demonstrate innovation, impact, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration by describing three successful efforts to address pressing local challenges. Applicants are asked to feature in their application at least one program in which they are engaging and supporting vulnerable boys and men.

We hope to also hear about how you are engaging and support vulnerable girls and young women and projects that target all genders. We encourage other programs that address the unique needs of your community; examples in the past include downtown and neighborhood revitalization; arts and culture; and environmental sustainability.

To read examples of past projects please see 2014 All-America Cities Summaries. The award program culminates in a three-day event where finalist community delegations tell their stories of successful change to a national jury of business, nonprofit, and local government experts. To view past presentations examples see Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The All-America City Award program has assisted communities since 1949 and is considered the “Nobel Prize for Constructive Citizenship.”

All-America Cities benefit by increasing community pride, networking with civic activists from across the country and gaining national recognition. These communities are exposed to new ideas, especially around the spotlighted topic, and take on these new challenges back home by bolstering current programs and creating new ones to fill the existing gaps. The AAC designation has also helped communities win grants and new resources and attract new employers.

November 2014 (date TBD) prospective communities will submit a letter of intent to apply.  The application is due in March (date TBD).  The finalists are named in early April.  The finalist communities are invited to bring a delegation of people to tell their story and compete at AAC 2015 in June in Denver (date TBD).  All applicants and others interested in knowing more about the spotlight or AAC are also invited to attend the June event.  The 2015 application is being finalized and will be available soon.  It has the same criteria (cross sector collaboration, community engagement, inclusiveness/diversity, innovation and impact) and will follow the same written format as the 2014 application. The only change will be to the spotlighted theme.  To be placed on the list to receive the 2015 application once it is available link here.