The National Civic League last month named the ten winners of the 2013 All-America City Awards, an honor given each year to towns, cities, counties, neighborhoods, and metropolitan regions for outstanding civic achievement. Of the ten winners, three are in North Carolina – Dunn, Garner and Thomasville.
Since 1949, the awards program has recognized more than 650 communities for addressing local challenges with innovative, grassroots strategies that promote civic engagement and cooperation between the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Hundreds of civic leaders and community volunteers met in Denver June 14-16 to exchange ideas and present their stories of positive change to a jury of civic experts. Members of each delegation described in detail their community’s response to a range of challenges, everything from joblessness to housing deterioration from the mortgage crisis to providing health care for returning veterans. This year’s awards had a special focus on communities that implemented programs to recognize or assist veterans and military families.
Garner’s presentation highlighted citizen-led efforts to build the Garner Veterans Memorial, to boost the performing arts scene at Garner Performing Arts Center, and to create and sustain Community of Hope’s after-school program, food pantry and other activities.
Dunn’s presentation featured the work of the Dunn Police Athletic League, a profile of Central Harnett Hospital and the revitalization of Dunn’s downtown.
Thomasville highlighted its work with veterans and homeless children and its campaign against childhood obesity.
The All-America City Award recognizes citizen engagement, cross-sector collaboration, innovation and inclusiveness. It showcases grassroots solutions to meeting pressing challenges and critical needs in communities across the country. The prestigious award has been dubbed the “Nobel Prize” for civic accomplishment.