2021 nominations for Community of the Year will open on August 16, 2021 and close on October 22.
The 2021 Community of the Year Luncheon is scheduled for January 20, 2022
What are the Volunteer Community of the Year Awards?
These awards are designed to 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 are co-sponsored by the Governor's Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism (GACNSV), and the Arkansas Municipal League.
- 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 directly 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 and/or of long-term service?
- Did the community have to overcome any unusual challenges in order 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 COY Nomination:
Special consideration will be given to communities that mobilize citizens to complete an annual community-wide service initiative. Ideally, service initiatives target legacy projects, which are designed to 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.
Special consideration will be given to cities that join the Cities of Service coalition and, under Cities of Service guidelines, create a citywide service plan. For more information on the Cities of Service coalition, visit https://citiesofservice.org/.
- Special consideration will be given to Cities of Service members who have continued to carry out their city service plan.
Note: Participation in a citywide service initiative and or/ partnership with Cities of Service will be criteria used in selecting Arkansas Volunteer Communities of the Year from this point on.
Does planning a Day of Service project or service initiative seem overwhelming? If so, download the free EngageAR Day of Service Planning Toolkit, complete with timelines, checklists, sign-in sheets, and sample press releases and liability waivers.
Why should I nominate a community for the Volunteer Community of the Year Award?
- COY communities receive signs on two of the city's borders designating them as a Volunteer Community of the Year for the specified year. The Arkansas Highway Commission donates the COY Award 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.
- The cities and their citizen engagement programs are featured in articles in City & Town magazine, which is 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.
How do I nominate a community for the Volunteer Community of the Year Award?
- Nominations for the 2021 Community of the Year Awards will open in the fall of 2021
- Cities that have been honored in the past can be recognized again for new or continued accomplishments.
2019 Volunteer Community of the Year Awards
Eight communities have been selected to receive the 2019 Arkansas Volunteer Community of the Year Award. This prestigious award recognizes communities that exemplify the spirit of service by participating in city-wide volunteer initiatives and making a positive impact in local areas of need. . The Awards were presented at the Municipal League's Winter Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Bruce Davis, Chair of the Governor's Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism.
2020 Community of the Year Recipients: All municipalities in the State were recognized for their outstanding response efforts amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2019 Community of the Year Recipients: Alma, Eureka Springs, Fairfield Bay, Fayetteville, Greenbrier, Jonesboro, Osceola, and Van Buren.
2018 Community of the Year Recipients: Fairfield Bay, Greenbrier, Russellville, and Van Buren.
2017 Community of the Year Recipients: Benton, Bentonville, Clarkridge, Clarksville, Everton, Fort Smith, Greenbrier, Jonesboro, Marianna, Mountain Home, Siloam Springs, and Van Buren.
For more information or assistance, please call Shana Chaplin at 501-537-9724, DHE.Volunteer.AR@adhe.gov