Community of the Year Award
Local people solve local problems best.
What are the Volunteer Community of the Year Awards?
- These awards recognize municipalities - rather than individual volunteers or nonprofits - that seek to address the municipality's greatest needs through the engagement of citizens. They may include Mayor's Youth Councils, citizen committees, utilization of community-wide service initiatives, citizen advisory forums, etc.
- The Arkansas Volunteer Community of the Year Awards is co-sponsored by the Governor's Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism (GACNSV) and the Arkansas Municipal League (AML).
- A panel of judges composed of distinguished citizens from across the state meets to review each nomination and select the award recipients.
What criteria do judges use to select Volunteer Communities of the Year?
The Volunteer Community of the Year Awards (COY) honor communities that demonstrate the ability to address their community's greatest needs through impact-minded civic engagement activities. A sampling of the criteria used to select the winning communities is as follows:
- What community-wide, city-led citizen engagement services and programs address the areas of greatest need within your community?
- Is your community seeing a positive impact (change) from its efforts to fill the gaps in service provision?
- Are your community's civic engagement activities innovative?
- Do the efforts offer long-term service?
- Did the community have to overcome unusual challenges to carry out these activities or achieve impact?
- Does the city regularly provide opportunities for citizen input in developing solutions?
Three ways to boost a Community of the Year Nomination:
- Communities that mobilize citizens to complete an annual community-wide service initiative. Ideally, service initiatives targeting legacy projects that provide long-term support for the community’s infrastructure, operations, and/or quality of life. These community initiatives should seek to impact the areas of greatest need.
- Cities that join the Engaged Cities of Service and create a citywide service plan under the Cities of Service guidelines. Learn more about the Engaged Cities on our website.
- Engaged Cities of Service that continue to carry out city service plans.
How do I nominate a community for the Community of the Year Award?
Nominations are open from August 22 - October 22 each year. We recommend collecting all of the necessary information before filling in the online nomination form. Completed nomination forms may also be mailed to our office. For mailing address, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the nomination guidelines?
- Nomination statements should describe community-wide, city-led citizen engagement initiatives within a 12-month period from September 1 - August 31.
- Supplemental materials such as newspaper clippings, lists of nonprofit service hours, letters of support, etc. will not be considered in the selection process.
- The nomination deadline is October 22.
Does planning a Day of Service project or service initiative seem overwhelming?
Download the free Engage Arkansas Service Project Toolkit, complete with timelines, checklists, sign-in sheets, and sample press releases and liability waivers.
Why should I nominate a community for the COY Award?
- COY communities receive two road signs for the city's borders which designate them as a Volunteer Community of the Year for the specified year. The Arkansas Highway Commission donates the signs annually.
- These signs showcase your community as a healthy network of neighbors helping neighbors. This designation improves the local economy by attracting people to spend time - even live- within the Arkansas Volunteer Communities of the Year.
- COY communities and their citizen engagement programs receive features in City & Town magazine, published by the Arkansas Municipal League.
- The winning communities receive additional recognition and publicity for their civic engagement efforts. Many local newspapers, television and radio stations, and other forms of media feature and honor the winning communities.
What is the history of the award?
Following the 1973 creation of the Arkansas ACTION Program, Arkansas went on to lead the nation in the field of volunteer engagement, creating the first Association of Volunteer Coordinators in 1974, hosting the first statewide volunteer conference, “Volunteer Directions” in April of 1975, and presenting the first Arkansas Community Service Awards in 1978. This award paved the way for the Volunteer Community of the Year Award in 1982. The 2022 award, recognized and celebrated in January 2023, marks the 40th anniversary.
|Bentonville||Fayettevile||All municipalities in the state were recognized for their outstanding response efforts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic||Alma||Fairfield Bay|
|Fayetteville||North Little Rock||Fairfield Bay||Russellville|