The All-America City Award recognizes communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues.

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The 2022 Award

The 2022 All-America City Awards will be held virtually from July 18-22, 2022 in conjunction with GLR Week. The year’s theme is “Housing as a Platform to Promote Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery.”

During the past 18 months, the closure of schools, early childhood programs and child care centers in response to COVID-19 was a significant setback for all children’s early school success, and disproportionately devastating for children of economically challenged, fragile, and marginalized families. Public housing authorities and affordable housing organizations can serve as focal points that bring together public, corporate and community-level stakeholders to support these children, adults and families using a system of 24/7/365 wraparound services and supports and a two-generation approach.

Areas of Focus Within the 2022 Theme

The 2022 AAC Awards will focus on robust efforts that seek measurable improvement around one or more of the following areas of focus:

  1. Digital equity (internet access, individual devices, technical assistance);
  2. Relational supports (tutors, mentors, coaches);
  3. Afterschool, summer and out-of-school learning opportunities;
  4. Transforming non-school places and spaces into learning-rich environments;
  5. Promoting school readiness, regular attendance and summer learning;
  6. Parents succeeding as essential partners in assuring the healthy development and early school success of their children; and
  7. Parents succeeding in their own journey toward sustainable self-sufficiency.

Important Dates

  • Now: Review Informational Webinar
  • 2022 Applications were due on March 1, 2022.
    • The 2023 application will be released in July.
  • Early May 2022: Finalists Announced
  • May – July 2022:  Competition Preparation
  • July 18-22, 2022:  All-America City Awards Competition and Event (virtual – in conjunction with GLR Week 2022)

Visit the Apply page for additional information on the theme, criteria, guidance, and to download the application.

For those thinking further ahead, the theme for 2023 will involve the well-being of children and youth engagement. More details to come at a later date.

Award History

The National Civic League’s All-America City Award has celebrated the best in American civic innovation since 1949. The Award, bestowed yearly on 10 communities (more than 500 in all), recognizes the work of communities in using inclusive civic engagement to address critical issues and create stronger connections among residents, businesses and nonprofit and government leaders. Cities, counties, tribes and community organizations of all types are invited to apply for the annual designation.

The All-America City Award shines a spotlight on the incredible work taking place in communities across the country. By celebrating the best in local innovation, civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration, the All-America City Awards remind us of the potential within every community to tackle tough issues and create real change.

2021 All-America City Awards

Keynote Speaker, Erika Poethig, Special Assistant to President Biden for Housing and Urban Policy, Domestic Policy Council, The White House.

Re-live 2021 keynote speeches and workshops here or visit the virtual event platform using the code: LEAGUE Friend.

Benefits of winning

  • Economic Stimulus
    All-America City finalists and winners find it easier to attract and retain businesses that generate jobs and a stronger tax base. They also attract and retain residents who want a healthy community.  Finalists and winners also have seen an increase in tourism and grants.

  • Pride and Collaboration
    The award has reinvigorated communities with a new sense of pride, accomplishment and teamwork. People often say they learned more about the great work taking place in their community because of the application process than they ever imagined.

  • National Recognition
    Winning the All-America City Award raises the profile of local efforts and puts communities on a national stage. Winners join an elite network of communities that can proudly call themselves an All-America City. And once a community wins, it’s always an All-America City. We hear regularly about communities that still celebrate and take pride in winning even after 40 years or more.

The Program

The All-America City Award offers the opportunity for both recognition and reflection. When communities apply for recognition, they bring together a diverse cross-sector team to review their strengths, discuss their progress, examine their challenges and tell the story of their community. Communities gain a better understanding of civic excellence during the yearlong process of seeking to become an All-America City.

Every city that participates, whether as an applicant, finalist or winner, walks away with a stronger sense of their community assets, their challenges and ways to move forward together. To support this learning, communities are encouraged to attend our monthly Promising Practices Webinar series to learn from previous winners and other communities about their innovative projects and about the application process. Communities applying for the All-America City Award then are encouraged to access our resources to best understand how to continue their civic engagement efforts and share their successes in a meaningful way.


The All-America City Awards brings together communities from across the country and provides an opportunity for innovative leaders and passionate residents to connect with and learn from their peers. The Award shines a light on communities that are working to tackle tough issues and lifts these places up for national recognition.

Winning ‘helped us land a BIG project in the midst of major economic recession. IBM located their first data center in 10-15 years in downtown Dubuque and created 1,300 new jobs with an annual payroll of $58 million! This is a testament to what the All-America City Award stands for in terms of a community’s can-do spirit’ Cynthia Steinhauser, former Assistant City Manager Dubuque, IA.

The Award validates our community’s quality of life and is used proudly in all of our economic development and corporate recruitment efforts. Shane Homan, Tupelo Chamber of Commerce

Anyone who’s witnessed the annual All-America City competition has seen the evidence of what communities can do to come together, solve their problems and set a strategy for their future. Curtis Johnson, Executive Editor of Citiscope


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About the Event

Teams of residents, including young people, nonprofit, business and government leader from communities across the country meet to represent their communities and share ideas. Throughout the event, these teams connect and share insights with peers, learn from national thought leaders and present the story of their work to a jury of nationally recognized civic leaders. This transformational experience equips, inspires and supports leaders and communities to achieve more than they ever believed possible.

How to Apply
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