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

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Housing as a Platform for Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery

The National Civic League and our partner and co-convener, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR), invite you to apply for the All-America City Award, the nation’s most prestigious community recognition. This award, now in its 73rd year, offers a moment for:

  • Reflection, as communities come together to assess their strengths, assets and challenges;
  • Celebration, as local coalitions mobilize to display on a national stage the people, organizations and initiatives that make their community a great place to live, work and play; and
  • Recognition of the resilience that communities across the country have shown as people come together to respond to the learning and equity challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.


2022 Theme

The 2022 AAC Awards will recognize communities that have committed to improving the prospects for early school success and equitable learning recovery for the hundreds of thousands of children whose families are served by the nation’s public housing agencies and affordable housing organizations. 

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. The adverse impact has been disproportionately devastating, however, for children of economically challenged, fragile, and marginalized families. Left unattended, learning loss of this scale and magnitude could further compromise the prospects for a generation of children whose future already is at risk.

Public housing and affordable housing programs are high-potential platforms for regaining momentum for early school success and for accelerating equitable learning recovery. Public housing authorities and affordable housing organizations can serve as focal points that bring together public, corporate and community-level stakeholders to support children, adults and families using a system of 24/7/365 wraparound services and supports and a two-generation approach. Click here for statements by CGLR and the National Civic League on equity and early school success.

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.

Complete the form on the right-side of this page for the complete application, including details about the areas of focus and criteria. 

 Award Criteria

Successful applications will include:

  1. The challenge or problem being addressed,
  2. The desired outcomes;
  3. The overall strategy and approach being adopted;
  4. The roles, contributions and connections among the collaborating partners;
  5. Existing and/or planned assurances of timely access to the data needed to set baselines and targets, track progress and promote accountability; and
  6. Assessment of the prospects for replication, scale and sustainability.

The 2022 AAC Awards will accord highest priority to proven, promising and/or innovative programs and initiatives that:

  • Are supported by interagency, cross-sector and broadly inclusive stakeholder coalitions;
  • Engage public housing agencies and/or affordable-housing organizations;
  • Feature interagency agreements for data sharing, the braiding and blending of funding, cross-sector approaches for problem solving and smart decision making, and/or strategic deployment of civic capital (relationships, networks, capacities); and
  • Have an explicit focus on promoting racial equity and/or improving the prospects for children of color and economically challenged, fragile and otherwise marginalized families.

Complete the form on the right-side of this page for the complete application, including details about the areas of focus and criteria. 

Important Dates

Thursday, November 18, 2021: Informational Webinar

Monday, January 10, 2022: Submit Letter of Intent to Apply (optional, discount on application fee)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022: Submit Application

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)

About this Year's Co-Convener

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading seeks to disrupt generational poverty and ensure more hopeful futures for children of economically challenged, fragile and otherwise marginalized communities. We support community-driven initiatives to improve the likelihood that these children will grasp the first rung of the success sequence ladder – graduation from high school. Since its launch in 2012, the GLR Communities Network has grown to include more than 350 communities, representing 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two Canadian provinces — sponsored by 5,200+ local organizations, institutions and agencies and supported by 500+ state and local funders, including 200+ United Ways.

Download the 2022 Application

Webinars, Interviews and Speeches

This page includes webinars, interviews and speeches covering promising practices around the country. The free monthly Promising Practices Webinar series highlights successful projects around the country with speakers from cities implementing creative strategies for civic engagement. These webinars are free and open to anyone who is interested in creating stronger communities. The National Civic League's interview series includes conversations with elected officials, civic engagement experts, figures important to our history and others. Recorded speeches allow you to re-live the keynote addresses of past All-America City awards events and conferences.

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Thank You to Our Key Partners