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All-America City Awards

The National Civic League recognizes ten communities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments. To win, each community must demonstrate innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration by describing successful efforts to address pressing local challenges.

More than 600 communities have won the award, some as many as five times. All-America Cities have shown the ability to innovate in such areas as job creation, neighborhood revitalization, crime reduction, new housing for low income people, improving education, and engaging youth.

The award program was founded in 1949 when a newspaper reporter approached the National Civic League (then known as the National Municipal League) with the idea of naming the 10 best governed cities each year. Instead, the league created a program that recognized cities for civic achievements.

Today the award competition is open to neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and metropolitan regions. In their applications, AAC finalists briefly tell their community stories, list two of their most pressing challenges and three outstanding community projects. The award program culminates in a three-day event where community delegations tell their stories of successful change to a national jury of business, nonprofit, and local government experts. All-America Cities benefit by increasing community pride, networking with civic activists from across the country and gaining national recognition. The AAC designation has helped communities win grants and new resources and attract new employers.

The 2014 All-America City Awards will be held in June in Denver, Colorado.  Contact NCL to request an application or link here.

Applications are due March 18, 2014. Finalists will be announced in April, 2014. We are asking those interested in applying to submit a letter of intent by November 15, 2013.

In the application, you ill be asked to describe your community’s three best projects that have resulted in significant local impact and action planning within the past five years.  Past All-America City Award applicants have highlighted projects to increase third grade reading success for at-risk children, to increase health care for underserved populations, to create new businesses and jobs, to revitalize downtown, to engage youth in identifying and planning services and facilities, to promote cross sector collaborative centers, to increase fiscal sustainability, to develop emergency disaster plans, to recover from a natural disaster, and more.

For 2014, NCL invites, but does not require, one project that spotlights healthy communities efforts.

Link here for a letter of intent to apply for AAC 2014.

Link here for past AAC winners listed by state.

Link here for past winners listed by year.

Sponsors of the 2012 All-America City Awards include:

  • Southwest Airlines (official airline of the All-America City Award)
  • The Piton Foundation
  • PCL Construction Enterprises, Inc.
  • The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation, Inc.
  • FirstBank
  • Colorado Municipal League

Link here to find out about sponsorship opportunities of the All-America City Award.