Economic Stimulus

AAC finalists and winners find it easier to attract and retain businesses that generate jobs and a stronger tax base.  They also attract and retain residents who want a healthy community.  Finalists and winners also have seen an increase in tourism, grants and bond ratings.  For instance:

  • Cynthia Steinhauser, Assistant City Manager of Dubuque, Iowa, a 2007, 2012 & 2013 All-America City, says that the All-America City Award “helped us land a BIG project in the midst of major economic recession in 2009/2010. IBM located their first data center in 10-15 years in downtown Dubuque and created 1300 new jobs with an annual payroll of 58 million! We feel truly blessed.” Cynthia comments on their continued economic success, “In 2013 Forbes ranked us 14th in the nation for Best small places for Business and Careers. Last year we had a job growth of 1200 new jobs, that represented 9.38% of the state's total job creation even though we are only 3% of the states total population and according to Site Selection Magazine we are tied for #1 in the US for Metro areas under 200,000 in population. This recruitment recognition and ability to grow employment in our community are a testament to our AAC award and what that award stands for in terms of a community's can-do spirit”.
  • “Michael Schmit, city administrator of Wilmar, Minnesota, a 2005 All-America City, says his community has used to award in an extensive marketing campaign to promote economic development…’Our bond rating has increased,’ he adds, ‘and to be sure, we talked to the rating companies about winning the award.’  Schmit attributes much of this economic activity to the increase in community cooperation and price.  He advises future winners to take pride in their achievement and to (leverage) the award as a basis for ‘doing bigger and better things.’”  National Civic Review, Winter 2007, page 11
  • “Since winning the award in 1990, 71 companies have relocated here, bringing in 3,900 jobs.  These new jobs are generating an annual payroll of more than $100 million. The Award gave us the credibility to encourage these companies to relocate,” Paul Anderson, Jobs Plus, Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. 
  • “We have created an average of 1,000 new manufacturing jobs per year since winning the All-America City award in 1989,” said Shane Homan, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce in Tupelo, Mississippi. “Our service sector jobs have grown equally as fast.  The Award validates our community’s quality of life and is used proudly in all of our economic development and corporate recruitment efforts.”
  • In Tallahassee, Florida the award helped them to keep SunBank from moving its headquarters out of the city.
  • Lindsay, California added 1,475 jobs to its economy in the first five years following its All-America Award.
  • “Publicity we received from the All-America City Award helped change our negative industrial image to that of a major recreational and tourist area.” Lois Glewwe, City Council Member, St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • “The award demonstrates a high quality of life and a community of caring individuals.  This is impressive to companies looking to relocate or start a new business in the area,” Bill Shendow, Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Winchester, Virginia.

Community Pride

The award has reinvigorated communities with a new sense of pride, accomplishment and teamwork.  People are proud to live in an All-America City and they work to keep their reputation.

  • “All-America City was truly the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my professional life. I honestly believe, I feel it in my heart, that I left a different person from the person that arrived…carrying a fire back to my community…to bring people together civilly, civically, humbly” Miguel A. Seco, Governmental Affairs Manager, City of North Miami, July 2010
  • “To the city and to the whole area, it’s like having that five-star seal on a restaurant,” (Mayor Pro-Tempore Karen) Papouchado said.  “In the local sense, it demonstrated that in Aiken, the Aiken County, turf and ego do not get in the way of what needs to be done.  Those are the two things that seem to impede the rest of the world.  That’s something we’ve gotten past here in Aiken and this area, and that’s a very unique thing.”  From “A decade as an All-America City,” Aiken, June 18, 2007.
  • “The All-America City Award is like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval,” Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette.
  • “We are very proud of our All-America City Award and will continue to earn its respect,” Larry R. Stobbs, Mayor, St. Joseph, Missouri.
  • “We are trying to bottle the excitement from the awards ceremony for everyone back home. We found the energy and excitement somewhere between the Final Four and the Super Bowl,” Larry Kaufman, Project Manager, Independence, Missouri.

Community Collaboration

The application process itself encourages communities to evaluate themselves and fosters new partnerships.

  • “…being an All America City means that our community realizes the great potential of our democracy to move us all forward, and has proven that citizens, businesses, governments and non-profits can work together for the benefit of the entire community” Buffalo February 11, 2014.
  • “Mayor Fred Cavanaugh said it’s impossible to put a price tag on Aiken’s All-America status, but the intangible rewards have been immense.” From “A decade as an All-America City,” Aiken, June 18, 2007.
  • Worcester, Massachusetts came together to provide free medical services to more than 14,000 uninsured individuals.  Over six years, the program contributed more than $450,000 of free services to people in need.
  • Independence, Missouri put together a collaborative effort to overcome distrust in the community, which led to more than $150 million in public improvements.
  • The Greater Racine, Wisconsin area came together to solve a sewer sanitation problem.  Their new agreement will bring in $74 million in revenue from outlying communities over 30 years, which will fund improvements to the sanitation system.
  • “The award pointed us in a real positive direction as far as public/private partnerships and public participation. We’ve moved from pointing fingers, saying tis a government or city problem, to collaboration to solve the problems facing us,” Mayor Dan Speer, Pulaski, Tennessee.