A group of 25 people representing the diversity of the Yakima community are heading to Denver, Colorado tomorrow to be part of the 2015 All-America City finalists competition. Most of the group will fly out of the Yakima Airport on the 10:50 am Horizon Air flight to Seattle.
The delegation that will be trying to bring home Yakima’s second All-America City Award includes, among others, several business owners, a teacher, a school counselor, a non-profit executive director, two ten-year-old elementary school students, a nurse, a retired therapist, and a hairstylist. The group will be competing for one of ten or more 2015 All-America City Awards that will be presented by the National Civic League.
“We are very confident that we are going to win this year,” said Joe Mann, longtime owner of Ron’s Coin & Books and the current chair of both the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce and the 2015 Yakima All-America City Committee. “We have an outstanding group of people who have worked very hard to bring back Yakima’s second All-America City Award.”
In 1993, community leaders led an effort that resulted in Yakima becoming an All-America City Award finalist, but did not end with the group winning the coveted designation. The next year, another campaign was mounted, Yakima became a finalist, and did capture an All-America City Award. In honor of the 20th anniversary of that win, the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the successful return of Yakima as a 2014 All-America City finalist, but, as in 1993, last year’s group fell just short of a win.
“We learned a lot from our experience last year,” said Mann. “We used that knowledge to try again this year and are absolutely excited to be a finalist again. This is our year.”
Considered the oldest and most prestigious community recognition designation in the U.S., the All-America City Award has been presented by the National Civic League since 1949 to communities that utilize collaboration and innovation to address pressing local problems. Ten or more finalists receive the award based on an application, a 10-minute presentation to a jury of national private and public sector leaders, and a 10-minute question and answer period.
Communities submit in their applications and explain during their jury presentations three community projects that demonstrate how, through volunteerism and cross-sector cooperation, they have taken on tough challenges. Yakima’s 2015 application and presentation will highlight the Yakima Gang Free Initiative, the Perfect Attendance Creates Excellence program, and the 100 Jobs for 100 Kids project.
Yakima will be the last of this year’s finalists to make its presentation to the All-America City Award jury on Sunday, June 14th at 10:25 am at the Sheraton hotel in Downtown Denver. The 2015 All-America City Award winners will be announced during a ceremony beginning at 7:00 pm that night. Most of the Yakima delegation will return home on the Monday, June 15th Horizon Air flight that is scheduled to arrive at the Yakima Airport at 5:40 pm.
To learn more about the All-America City Award and to see a complete list of the 2015 finalists, click on the following link – http://www.nationalcivicleague.org/allamericacityaward/.