The National Civic League announced the winners of the 2018 All-America City Award (AAC) on Sunday. Each of the 10 winning communities demonstrated civic engagement practices that are inspirational, inclusive and promising in their ability to unite members of the community to help solve issues.
Since 1949, the National Civic League has recognized and celebrated the best in American civic innovation with the prestigious All-America City Award. This year, 10 communities showed how a determined local government can tackle tough issues and create real change, according to the National Civic League.
Both Kershaw County, SC and Mount Pleasant, SC made the list of All-American Cities.
The AAC finalists each provided a community presentation to the awards jury on June 23 and 24, which then selected the winners. Community presentations included skits, music, spoken word, dancing and heartfelt stories to bring their projects and communities to life.
Projects highlighted by the communities range from addressing systemic racial trauma through community driven organizations, to meaningfully engaging residents in finding solutions in areas of mental health, education, fiscal sustainability, environmental stewardship and police-community relations.
The winning communities are:
- Springdale, AR – Chosen for creating the Committee for Civic Engagement and Inclusion and initiating work on city-wide initiatives to incorporate people of color and new Americans into civic life, resulting in a revitalized downtown, active youth council and free food pantries for residents in need.
- Stockton, CA – Stockton’s efforts to build a culture of engagement have resulted in community-based programs and systems that are healing decades of trauma for individuals and communities, empowering students who have been historically marginalized, and providing new pathways to higher education.
- Longmont, CO – By recognizing the diversity of its population and bringing more community members to the table, Longmont has been able to identify and address community needs creatively and cooperatively from mental health to disaster relief.
- Decatur, GA – Continuing its commitment to civic engagement, Decatur is actively seeking to build an equitable and inclusive experience for its residents and visitors, focusing on racially-just community policing and building diverse and affordable housing.
- Las Vegas, NV – Las Vegas provides residents, stakeholders, staff and elected officials with a collective vision and plans for a future of income equality and economic mobility, building programs and services that remove barriers and address challenges faced by their most vulnerable youth.
- Charlotte, NC – Following reports showing economic inequity in the city, and a police shooting in late 2016, the City of Charlotte engaged thousands of residents in one-on-one conversations and community meetings. This has resulted in partnerships that have built a more skilled workforce, reduced teen crime and investments in infrastructure in neighborhoods in need.
- Kershaw County , SC – Kershaw County embraces the changing faces of its rapidly growing community, balancing its rural past and suburban future, with its business owners, residents and elected officials reflecting that diversity and building programs to ensure equity in healthcare, education and economic growth.
- Mount Pleasant , SC – Mount Pleasant is employing a balance of outreach from city departments and officials and engagement with community members through partnerships, dialogue and forums, resulting in youth participation in the Reading Patrol Program, streamlined navigation through the planning process and sustainable improvement projects for Shem Creek .
- El Paso, TX – El Paso built upon the City’s 2015 Strategic Plan to conduct a year-long community outreach process that reached more than 70,000 people and has led to an Advanced Leadership Training program, partnerships to increase training and adult education, and creative implementation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program to serve more than 4,000 families.
- San Antonio, TX – The Office of Equity, in partnership with the nonprofit, SA2020, applied data from an Equity Impact Assessment to seven high-impact City initiatives, seeing positive results in higher involvement from Latino residents, an increased number of residents enrolled in health insurance programs, reduced incidents of teen pregnancy and progress in adult education initiatives.
"Congratulations to all winning communities and finalists!" Doug Linkhart, president of National Civic League said. "Each winner leveraged civic engagement, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address challenges facing their communities. These communities serve as examples to others facing similar issues and provide hope that collaboration among community leaders, elected officials and concerned residents will help communities of all sizes tackle complex issues."
The All-America City Awards 2019 theme will be Creating Healthy Communities Through Inclusive Civic Engagement. The application is now available at the National Civic League website.