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All-America City Award

Online Water Consumption Application Image   Coordinated Funding Image   Farmers Market Tokens Image

 All-America City 2011 Ann Arbor Logo

The National Civic League (NCL) has named Ann Arbor as one of the finalists for the All-America City Awards, the annual competition for civic activists and community problem-solvers.  

June 21, 2011

Ann Arbor Teen Wins 2011 All-America City Youth Leader Award

Ann Arbor’s collaborative spirit and dedication to serving its community were showcased at the 2011 National Civic League All-America City Awards event in Kansas City, Mo., June 15 – 17 ( A delegation of community members, including residents, students, and representatives from Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, University of Michigan and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, made a 10-minute presentation, along with a question-and-answer session, to help explain to the panel of judges the three innovative projects that earned Ann Arbor a place in the finals, along with 22 other cities nationwide. Ann Arbor was the only city in Michigan to be recognized.

The presentation, which can be viewed online at, highlighted the Ann Arbor community’s unique and collaborative efforts: the online water consumption system which allows residents to track their water usage; the coordinated funding model, in which the city, county, United Way, Community Foundation and others collaborate to provide access to affordable housing, healthcare, childcare, employment and more; and Ann Arbor Farmers Market’s implementation of the state’s Project FRESH and Bridge Card (food stamps) programs. Read more about these initiatives at

Although A2 didn’t win one of the 10 2011 All-America City designations, another distinguished honor was earned on behalf of the local community. Nick Shannon, the 16-year-old founder of the local not-for-profit Ann Arbor Teens for Kids, was selected as the 2011 All-America City Youth Leader Award winner. Shannon’s service-based organization ( provides an outlet for teens to work collaboratively and engage their peers in community service. A senior at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, he is also the youngest appointed Community Foundation trustee in the history of this program and now serves on a board that donates $1.2 million to the Ann Arbor community each year. Shannon is also an active volunteer with the City of Ann Arbor’s Give 365 program (

 2011 All-America City Youth Leader Award Winner Nick Shannon
Nick Shannon

Ann Arbor delegation sponsors included Aclara, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Charles Reinhart Company and First Martin.

The NCL’s annual competition recognizes civic activists and community problem solvers. The 10 All-America City Award winners are Kenai, Alaska; Dublin, Calif.; Lakewood, Colo.; Belleville, Ill.; South Bend, Ind.; Scott City, Kan.; Tupelo, Miss.; Fayetteville and Eden, N.C; and Fort Worth, Texas. Ann Arbor received All-America City designations in 1966 and 1982-83.

June 13, 2011

(Contest closed on June 17, 2011) Go online to cheer for Ann Arbor’s small, but mighty, delegation of community representatives as they compete among 23 other cities at the All-America City Awards. Ann Arbor is the only city in Michigan to be named as a finalist. The delegation consists of Ann Arbor residents, students, representatives from the county, the city, the University of Michigan and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Each city will present an on-stage performance before a panel of judges, and the National Civic League will provide a LIVE Web stream to allow viewers to watch online. The Ann Arbor delegation’s presentation takes place Thursday, June 16 3:30 – 3:50 p.m.  

Then, on Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m., “tune in” again to watch the live award ceremony, and find out if Ann Arbor is selected as an All-America City.

Good luck, Ann Arbor delegation!

* * * * *

Ann Arbor’s application highlights three initiatives: Coordinated Funding; Online Water Consumption Data; and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market: Project FRESH and Bridge Card. These programs represent how collaboration with other organizations and agencies in the area, as well as with residents, result in innovative and quality service to citizens. (Click here to read about these projects from the city’s application. PDF)

“We’re very excited about this year’s participants, a very strong group of contenders with great civic projects to brag about,” said NCL President Gloria Rubio-Cortés. “These communities have tackled everything from tsunami preparedness to environmental sustainability, education, gang violence and economic development.”
The list of 26 finalists includes large urban centers, midsized cities and smaller suburban and rural communities. Listed alphabetically by state are the 2011 finalists: 

Alaska:  Kenai Nebraska:  Dakota County 

California:  Downey, Dublin,
Huntington Park, Torrance
and Yucaipa

North Carolina: Eden and Fayetteville
Colorado:  Lakewood New York:  Buffalo 
Illinois:  Belleville Oregon:  Lakeview and Seaside 
Indiana:  South Bend Texas:  Fort Worth and Taylor Landing 
Iowa:  Marshalltown Utah:  Cottonwood Heights 
Kansas:  Scott City Wisconsin:  Beloit 
Massachusetts: Dedham
Michigan:  Ann Arbor
Mississippi:  Tupelo  

Immediately recognizable for the “stars and bars” shield logo found on water towers and city limits signs across the country, the award is given to 10 winners each year for community-based problem solving, grassroots civic engagement and joint efforts on the part of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. 
To become a finalist, each participant completed an application describing three community projects to address local challenges. At least one community project must focus on the needs of young people. During the three-day competition, a delegation from each community will present its challenges and solutions to a jury of national experts from across the United States.
The All-America City Award is an honor achieved by more than 600 neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities, counties, and regions across the country. Some have won the award multiple times.
“People can’t believe the energy and spirit of this event until they experience it,” noted Hon. Sandra Freedman, who chairs the National Civic League Board of Directors. “It’s a unique combination of local pride and community innovation, and in these very tough times for localities, these communities give us hope and new ideas about how to do more with less.”
Sprint Foundation is underwriter of this year’s All-America City Awards. Sponsors are: the Gay & Lesbian Fund For Colorado; Southwest Airlines (the official Airline of the All-America City Awards); the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Jossey Bass (an imprint of Wiley), which is celebrating the 100th year of the National Civic Review; the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation; J.E. Dunn Construction; LSC Transportation Consultants; the City of Gladstone, Mo.; the City of Barnstable, Mass., and the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Learn more about the award program and follow events leading up to the Kansas City event on our All-America City blog at and the All-America City Awards Facebook page.
NCL is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that strengthens democracy by increasing the capacity of our nation’s people to fully participate in and build healthy and prosperous communities across America. Find out more about the National Civic League at


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