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

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Promoting Equity Through Inclusive 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
  • Submit Application (applications are due February 28, 2018)
  • Finalists are announced in April 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 2018 All-America City Award Event will take place June 22nd - 24th in Denver. The event includes workshops, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and community presentations to a jury of national experts.
  • 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.

  • February 2017 - February 2018:
    All-America City Promising Practices Series
  • October 18, 2017:
    Submit Letter of Intent to Apply (not required to apply)
  • February 28, 2018:
    Submit Application
  • April 2018:
    Finalists Announced
  • April - June 2018:
    Competition Preparation
  • June 22-24, 2018:
    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 measureable achievements from the past 5 years

Guidelines

The 2018 All-America City Awards will focus on on inclusive engagement practices that promote equity and bring all voices to the table to help solve our country’s most pressing and complex issues. With this spotlight, National Civic League hopes to learn more about the inclusive decision-making processes that communities use to solve complex problems and move toward more equitable communities.

With this framing in mind, National Civic League is particularly interested in learning from All-America City applicants about projects that:

  • promote positive community-police relations
  • promote racial healing and dialogues on race
  • expand government and institutional representation and access
  • further educational equity in the community
  • create affordable and safe housing
  • reduce poverty
  • increase job readiness and employment
  • focus on restorative justice
  • seek equitable transportation access
  • promote or ensure access to healthy food and/or to safe and healthy natural environments

The 2018 All-America City Awards coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (more commonly known as the Kerner Commission). The report, published in 1968, concluded with words that unfortunately fit easily within our own times,

It is time to make good the promises of American democracy to all citizens – urban and rural, white, black, Spanish surname, American Indians, and every minority group.

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. The presentations are followed by 10 minutes of Q&A from the jury to learn more about specific projects and initiatives. Communities are free to create performances that best tell their story—including everything from straightforward presentations to skits, from mock TV shows to heartfelt stories, from dancing to spoken-word poetry and rap.

Teams from other finalist communities fill the audience to watch one another present the story of their work. These presentations give other communities a chance to learn from their peers and cheer one another on. Whatever form they take, these presentations are a powerful, inspiring and educational experience.

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 2018 All-America City Award Application

Promising Practices Webinars

This free monthly webinar series highlights successful projects around the country with speakers from cities implementing creative strategies for civic engagement. By equipping individuals, institutions and local governmental bodies through this series with ideas, models and insights that can be adopted/adapted to individual communities National Civic League hopes to accelerate the pace of change in communities across the country. These webinars are free and open to anyone who is interested in creating stronger communities.

View the Webinar Archive
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