2024 Award Theme: Strengthening Democracy through Local Action and Innovation
As the 2024 elections approach, many communities are experiencing some of the same threats to democracy we see at the national and international levels, including polarization, economic inequality, anti-democratic activities, and racial and ethnically motivated violence. We are at a decisive moment in history, and strengthening and improving democracy begins locally. When people have meaningful opportunities to help make decisions and solve problems, they build trust, create a stronger sense of community, and help address important challenges.
The 2024 All-America City Award will recognize communities that are finding innovative ways to equitably engage community members in activities that strengthen democratic processes, like making it easier to vote, engage in community affairs, and serve in leadership roles.
Visit the apply page to learn more.
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 Award remind us of the potential within every community to tackle tough issues and create real change.
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.
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 All-America City Award 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
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