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 2023 Award

The 2023 All-America City Award Event was held in Denver, CO from June 9-11, 2023.  The year’s theme was “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement.”

The 2023 All-America City Award recognized communities that are working to improve the health and well-being of young people, with particular attention to efforts that engage young people in this work. Democracy thrives when all residents are active and engaged in the policies and decisions that shape their lives. The 2024 identified communities that are breaking down barriers to meaningful youth participation and enacting programs that will improve quality of life for youth, and, by extension, all members of the community.

Areas of Focus Within the 2023 Theme

Projects adhering to this year’s theme include, but are not limited to, those that:

  • Build the civic capacity of young people
  • Promote youth participation in voting and policymaking
  • Provide leadership opportunities for youth
  • Enhance civics education
  • Improve police-youth relations and engagement in public safety
  • Reform school discipline and community justice systems
  • Improve mental health and trauma systems for youth
  • Reduce poverty and income inequality, including youth homelessness
  • Increase job readiness and employment opportunities for youth
  • Foster youth-oriented efforts to improve equity and inclusion
  • Create safe and welcoming spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth
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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.

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 Award remind us of the potential within every community to tackle tough issues and create real change.

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 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


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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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