Apply for the 2016 All-America City Award

The 2016 All-America City Award will recognize community efforts to ensure that all children are healthy and supported in school and life.

Our goal with this spotlight is to raise up local examples of innovative and effective community problem-solving that recognizes all the factors that influence the success of children and uses all sectors to address those factors.  Potential efforts could include:

  • School attendance
  • Child/family health (including targeted community health efforts)
  • Positive discipline interventions
  • Transportation (particularly focused on enabling children and their parents to access key services, employment or school)
  • Poverty/housing
  • Healthy food access
  • Job opportunities/skill development
  • Creating safe neighborhoods
  • Creating healthy natural environments that support young people's learning, activity or health.

These examples are intended to give a sense of the range of programs which fit with this year's theme, they are not exhaustive.  NCL is particularly committed to identifying and recognizing efforts which support and engage vulnerable young people.

If you are wondering whether you should apply - feel free to contact Sarah Lipscomb, All-America City Coordinator to discuss your projects and the application process. Email Sarah at:

Scroll down for more information on key dates, resources and ongoing support to help you apply for the All-America City Award. 

Request an All-America City Application

Thank you for your interest in the All-America City Award. The 2017 All-America City Award will be slightly different from the 2016 Award. With its focus on grade-level reading the 2017 Awards will use a different application. The Awards in 2018, however, will return to the more standard approach. For more information on the 2017 All-America City Awards visit: Please fill out the information below and we will send you a link to download a pdf of the 2016 application and ensure that you receive updates about the process for the 2018 Awards. This application will give you a good sense of what the 2018 application will include.

Details About the 2016 Application Process

How to Apply

  • Gather a group of diverse community leaders (collaboration from nonprofits, local government, chamber of commerce, libraries, schools, community organizations, and neighborhood associations) to explore the successes your community has accomplished together in the past 5 – 10 years.
  • One great tool for sparking a conversation about the progress made and challenges faced is the National Civic League Civic Index.
  • Choose 3 outstanding projects that display civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, innovation and impact. We strongly encourage, though do not require, at least one of these projects to be focused on the 2016 theme of ensuring that all children are healthy and supported in school and life. Applicants are welcome to include multiple projects focused on the theme.
  • Complete the written application with your community's story and the details of your 3 projects to be submitted to the National Civic League by March 9, 2016. Application fee is $200, unless you submit a Letter of Intent before November 4, 2015!
  • Finalists will be announced early April 2016.
  • The All-America City Award Event will be June 17-19 in Denver, Colorado

If your community is chosen you will travel to Denver in June to present to a jury of civic experts to compete to be named one of the ten All-America Cities. All applicants are invited to participate in the June workshops and networking opportunities.

Key Dates in the Application Process

  • September 14th, Oct – TBD, Nov 12, Dec 10th, Jan TBD -- Support Calls
    Phone calls with previous winners to get tips for applying, insights into the process, and learn about their award-winning projects. Click here to register for the calls
  • November 4, 2015 --  Submit Letter of Intent to Apply
    While a Letter of Intent is not required, you will save $100 on your application fee when you submit a Letter of Intent by November 4, 2015! Click here to download a Letter of Intent template
  • March 9, 2016 -- Submit Application
    Submit your application along with $200 fee (unless you submitted a Letter of Intent before November 5)
  • April 2016 -- Finalists Announced
    Finalists will be announced in early April.  And Finalists community delegations will be invited to Denver to compete to win the All-America City Award.  Teams from each Finalist community will travel to Denver to present the story of their work and community to one another and to a jury of national civic experts.
  • June 17-19 2016 -- All-America City Award Event
    The All-America City Award event is a multi-day celebration of community, innovation, and excellence.  The event includes peer-learning workshops,  presentations from each of the Finalists, panel discussions, and cultural showcases.  The Awards Event takes place in Denver, Colorado.

Resources for Applicants

New Image (800x592)Publications and Websites

With help from our partners we have compiled a set of resource materials for communities interested in applying for the 2016 All-America City Award. These publications and websites contain great information about ways to develop, improve, measure and sustain your efforts.  They also suggest new ways of approaching work around ensuring that all children are healthy and supported.

Yakima-10Watch Finalists' Presentations

All-America City Finalists have the opportunity to present the story of their community and its projects to teams from other Finalist communities as well as a jury of national civic experts. Watch presentations from previous All-America City Finalists


Monthly Conference Calls

Learn from 2015 All-America City winners. Hear why they applied, tips about the process and presentation, learn about their innovative projects, and how they've leveraged the award. Get practical advice on applying for AAC and benefits of winning. Go to the AAC Conference Call Archive to listen to previous calls and download the powerpoint presentations.


Phone Support

Schedule a call with the All-America City Coordinator about your community and the application process. Get your specific questions answered and learn more about how to apply. Schedule a call by emailing  or call us at 303-571-4343.

NCL's Partners and Allies in this Work

Attendance works logo

Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance. Attendance Works promotes tracking chronic absence (missing so much school for any reason including excused and unexcused absences) beginning in kindergarten, or ideally earlier, and partnering with families and community agencies to intervene when poor attendance is a problem for students or schools.


The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.


Healthy Schools Campaign has developed an effective approach that is helping transform the school experience for children in Chicago and across the nation. This means working at multiple levels — with individual schools, throughout Chicago and nationally. The goal is a future in which all students have access to a school environment that provides healthy food, physical activity, nutrition education and health services. This gives students the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills to live healthy lives.