League’s Foundation to Award Cities, Towns for Standout Work

NCLM Staff

A new awards program is set to acknowledge the proactive, creative, and resourceful efforts of North Carolina cities and towns.

Coming from the League’s Local Leadership Foundation, winners are to be featured at a luncheon coinciding with the CityVision annual conference in Wilmington in April.

“This awards program will let them (the cities and towns of our state) elevate outstanding achievements throughout the state and share their story—a selfless volunteer story that speaks to the importance of municipal passion,” said Julie Metz, Assistant Director of Business and Membership Development Services at the League.

Back in June, Southern City reported the re-emergence of the Foundation with a newly energized slate, with Duck Mayor Don Kingston chairing its board. Ideas for new initiatives have come pouring out of the group, the awards series being one. The eight categories developed are:

Advocate Award | This award is given to the municipality, or group of municipalities, that has organized an effort to engage and effect change with state legislators. Relationship building and grassroots advocacy efforts often lay the foundation needed to advocate for and maintain local control over revenues, structures, and functions.

Citizen Engagement Award | This award is given to the municipality that successfully led (or was a major partner in) a program or series of projects that engaged their citizenry to elevate their understanding of municipal management and services. The best candidates will show how their campaign showcased the value added to the community.

Advancing Technology Award | This award is given to the town or city that has utilized modern technology to improve their delivery of services, citizen engagement, and/or economic investments. Successful examples of utilizing technology don’t need to be the most “cutting edge” but they should demonstrate a positive outcome, such as an increase in service utilization or engagement by residents.

Collaboration Award | This award recognizes a city or town that proactively partnered with another county, state, or federal agency and/or the private sector to achieve a successful outcome felt at the municipal level. The best examples would include projects that leveraged the strengths of each agency in a mutually beneficial and strategic partnership.

Municipal Connections Award | This award recognizes strategic partnerships between smaller and/or rural communities (population of 50,000 or less) with their larger, more urban neighbors. Successful candidates will demonstrate that such partnerships mutually enhanced prosperity, resources, and impacts.

DIRECT Reflection Award | The town or city has adapted its approach and/or changed its services or practices to address inequity in an area of concern for the community. The best efforts will be ones that are creative, innovative, and have the most hope for a successful outcome.

Rural & Small-Town Innovation Award | The rural small town (populations less than 10,000) that implemented an innovative and successful economic development initiative or project that resulted from a community led effort that leveraged their assets for better economic development opportunities and longer-term sustainability.

Most Entrepreneurial Town Award | Best municipality example, in the face of financial challenges, completed a project or an initiative without the utilization of federal or state dollars, or, where these sources were utilized but only for a minimal portion of the total investment, not to exceed 40%.

AML On-Demand Course Participation Awards | No nominations necessary. Awards will be generated by AML participation data collected.

Award winners will be notified prior to the CityVision annual conference so they may plan to attend the awards luncheon.

“To inspire, develop, and support existing and future North Carolina municipal government elected officials and leaders” became the 2021 revised mission statement of the Foundation, which is overall dedicated to the training and education of North Carolina municipal elected leaders and appointed officials. Through its efforts, leaders who participate in the Foundation’s programs will have enhanced leadership skills that will further advance cities and towns across the state.

Please email Julie Metz at jmetz@nclm.org with any questions related to the awards program and/or nomination process.