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

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Enhancing Health and Well-Being Through Civic Engagement

Getting Started

Every year communities from across the country compete for the All-America City Award, telling the story of their community and their work.

  • Download the application (complete the form on the right side of this page). Important dates and detailed instructions can be found in the full application.
  • Gather with others from the community to discuss local efforts and their impact. Communities also explore their challenges and aspirations for the future.
  • Take time to review all of the great resources for All-America City Applicants on our website, including past applications and presentations and the monthly webinars with previous winners to learn more about the benefits of the Award, the application process, and other communities' innovative projects
  • Email rebeccat@ncl.org if you intend to apply for the 2020 Award.
  • Submit application and $250 application fee by February 19, 2020. All applicants receive a complimentary National Civic League membership.
  • Finalists are announced in March and invited to assemble a community team to present at the All-America City Event in Denver.
  • Prepare presentation if chosen as a finalist (review previous presentations to get an idea of the feel of the event)
  • Attend the three day Awards Event and Conference. The 2020 All-America City Award Event has been postponed and will now take place August 17-19, 2020 in Denver. The event includes workshops, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and community presentations to a jury of national experts. Winning community delegations have been as small as 4 and as large as 100 participants; presentations are judged on merit, not delegation size.
  • 10 winners are selected - by the jury - from among the Finalists.
  • Celebrate your success!

The All-America City Award continues to be the most prestigious civic award in the country. Mandy Pitts, Communications Director, City of Hickory, NC

Important Dates

Important dates and detailed instructions can be found in the full application.

  • July 2019-May 2020: 
    All-America City Promising Practices Series
  • Email rebeccat@ncl.org if you intend to apply for the 2020 award. 
  • February 19, 2020:
    Submit Application and application fee
  • March 2020:
    Finalists Announced
  • March-August 2020:
    Competition Preparation
  • August 17-19, 2020:
    All-America City Awards Competition and Event in Denver, CO

The All-America City Award is like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Worcester Telegram Gazette

Application Criteria

  • Civic Engagement:
    comprehensive citizen/resident engagement in decision-making and action planning
  • Inclusiveness and Equity:
    intentional involvement of diverse segments and perspectives (ethnic, racial, socio-economic, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, people with disabilities, and others) in community decision-making
  • Collaboration:
    cross-sector collaboration (business, local government, nonprofits, military, etc.) and regional collaboration
  • Innovation:
    creative use and leveraging of community resources
  • Impact and Future Planning and Visioning:
    demonstrable, significant and measurable achievements from the past 5 years

Guidelines

The 2020 All-America City Award is focused on celebrating examples of civic engagement practices that enhance health and well-being in local communities. We are looking for community-driven projects that demonstrate inclusive decision-making processes to enhance health and well-being for all, and particularly for populations currently experiencing poorer health outcomes.

With the National Civic League’s Co-Title Sponsors, Kaiser Permanente and Well Being Trust, the 2020 Awards reflect the concept that good health for the entire community requires a focus on mental, physical, spiritual, cultural and economic well-being. Addressing disparities and ensuring a thriving environment for all requires work from diverse sectors and stakeholders in a community.

It is with this framing in mind that projects adhering to this year’s theme of health and well-being might include (but are not limited to) projects focusing on:

  • healthy & safe environments
  • opportunities for lifelong learning
  • meaningful and well-paying jobs
  • affordable and humane housing
  • reliable transportation and accessibility
  • environmental health and safety
  • a sense of belonging and inclusion
  • access to mental health care
  • substance-abuse recovery and prevention
  • healthy eating and exercising
  • affordable, accessible health care

View Past Awards Presentations

Community presentations are an essential part of the AAC experience. Finalist communities have 10 minutes to bring their application to life and present the story of their work and their community to a jury of national civic experts.

To the city and to the whole area, it’s like having that five-star rating on a restaurant. Karen Papouchado, Mayor Pro-Tempore, Aiken, SC

Contact AAC@NCL.org with questions.

Download the 2020 All-America City Award 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.

View the Webinar Archive
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