The Renewal Project

About the Contest

The national system may be mired in stalemate, but that doesn’t mean America has lost its capacity for self-renewal. At the grassroots, pragmatic problem solvers continue to make progress against the greatest challenges facing America, from education and economic opportunity to health care to revitalizing neighborhoods.

With The Renewal Awards, Atlantic Media is looking to identify and celebrate the most effective and creative of these innovators. We are looking for non profit and volunteer organizations, local government, businesses, public-private partnerships and individuals who are finding new paths to progress on the country’s most enduring challenges.

Tell us: what's happening in your hometown that America needs to know about? The one business that has found a better way to help workers balance home and work. The non-profit helping needy families get back on the ladder of opportunity. The state or local government program that is rethinking the way it delivers services. The individual who has mobilized his or her community to tackle its problems.

Help us spotlight Main Street innovators who are improving their communities and renewing America from the ground up.

Winners

Winners will receive a $10,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation to continue their project or further their organization's reach. They will also receive an expenses paid trip to The Renewal Awards culminating event in Des Moines, Iowa in January 2016, where winners will be revealed to the public. Finally, winners will be profiled in a special edition of National Journal magazine, to be released at the 2016 event.

Read the Full Contest Rules.

Imerman Angels

Through a unique matching process, Imerman Angels partners anyone seeking cancer support with a “Mentor Angel” - a cancer survivor or caregiver who is the same age, same gender, and most importantly who has faced the same type of cancer. Mentor Angels can lend support and empathy and help cancer fighters and caregivers navigate the system, determine their options and create their own support systems.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

Dunbar Learning Complex

The Dunbar Learning Complex employs a comprehensive approach to ensuring young children are learning and on track to become proficient readers by the end of third grade. This approach involves strategies and supports around effective teaching, child-centered learning environments, parent empowerment, evidence building and physical, social and emotional health. The complex is employing a two-generation approach that combines high-quality early education and supports for children, programs to improve the caregiving skills of parents and others and to provide economic support services for parents — all to improve outcomes for the entire family.

Website | Facebook

Platform to Employment

Platform to Employment (P2E), developed by The Workplace, addresses the need for the long term unemployed to return to work and the employer need to recruit skilled workers. Platform to Employment provides workshops and personal counseling while placing participants in subsidized work experiences in fields for which they are qualified. The program gives businesses a risk-free opportunity to evaluate and consider hiring participants during an eight-week work experience program.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Hope House

Hope House began in 1998 providing cutting edge programs to strengthen families and, in particular, the relational bonds between children and their fathers imprisoned far from home. In addition, the goals include reducing the isolation, stigma, shame and risk these families experience when fathers and husbands are imprisoned, and to raise public awareness about this most at-risk population. Hope House DC offers programs to prisoners and their families aimed at decreasing recidivism and keeping incarcerated men connected to the community as studies have shown that prisoners who remain in contact with their families while incarcerated have a lower recidivism rate.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Project Helping

Project Helping uses the joy of purpose created by volunteering to improve mental wellness. Project Helping believes that helping others is the most powerful means by which you can create change. If you need a dramatic change, or you’ve just been feeling down, changing your mental wellness can be as easy as helping others. They organize and lead group volunteer events to leverage the benefits that helping others has on mental wellness.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

Champlain Housing Trust

Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) formed in 1984 when a group of local activists banded together to fight gentrification of their neighborhood. They worked with the City of Burlington, Vermont’s newly-established Community and Economic Development Office to seek a new way for neighborhood renewal and preservation by providing opportunities for low-income residents to build wealth and stability through sustainable homeownership. CHT has 565 homes in our shared equity portfolio, the largest in the nation and many cities, counties and other local governments are pursuing this model.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

Champlain Housing Trust

Generation Citizen

Generation Citizen (GC) works to ensure that every student in the United States receives an effective action civics education, which provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in our democracy as active citizens. GC teaches teenagers how to take effective political action. Through an innovative in-class curriculum, students work with local leaders to fix local problems. Through this real-world experience, our teens are building an active democracy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Cure Violence

Cure Violence is guided by clear understandings that violence is a health issue, that individuals and communities can change for the better, that community partners and strategic partnerships are keys to success, and that rigorous, scientific, professional ways of working are essential for effectiveness. The program wants to change the mindset of everyone away from “bad” people and toward understanding violent behavior as people with health problems and shift the worldview of violence away from prosecution and focus more on prevention. Cure Violence programs in 25 U.S. cities have reduced shootings and killings by as much as 73 percent.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

P-Tech (Path­ways in Tech­no­logy Early Col­lege High School)

P-Tech re­vo­lu­tion­izes the struc­ture of high school by en­cour­aging stu­dents to at­tend the school for grades 9 through 14. Over those six years, the goal is for stu­dents to com­plete both a high school dip­loma and an as­so­ci­ate’s de­gree. Gradu­ates can either enter the work­force equipped with a post­sec­ond­ary de­gree—no tu­ition, so no stu­dent debt—or con­tin­ue on to a tra­di­tion­al col­lege with a bevy of class cred­its in hand.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Girlstart

Girlstart's mission is to increase girls’ interest and engagement in STEM through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs. Girlstart aspires to be the national leader in designing and implementing innovative, high quality informal STEM education programs that inspire girls to transform our world. Through its comprehensive programming, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

ServiceWorks

ServiceWorks – powered by AmeriCorps, the Citi Foundation and Points of Light – is a groundbreaking, national program that uses volunteer service as a strategy to help 25,000 low-income youth and young adults in 10 cities develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers. Citi Foundation President Brandee McHale calls ServiceWorks a jobs program in disguise. A joint project with AmeriCorps and Points of Light, the program uses volunteer service as a way to transition low-income young adults into jobs.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

EnCorps STEM Teachers Program

The EnCorps STEM Teachers Program recruits, selects, develops and supports the best and brightest STEM professionals and military veterans, as an innovative, long-term solution to the shortage of high quality, impactful educators for under-resourced students in high need communities. The STEM crisis EnCorps addresses is national: under-qualified STEM teachers, poor student performance in math and science, and low numbers of college students declaring STEM majors. EnCorps' work to date demonstrates a thoroughly viable pilot that warrants unprecedented expansion across America, installing top-quality educators as the true catalyst for our next crop of engineers, creators and visionaries.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

EnCorps STEM Teachers Program

Edu­care of Cali­for­nia at Sil­ic­on Val­ley

Edu­care of Cali­for­nia at Sil­ic­on Val­ley is a new branch of the Edu­care mod­el, the first of the network schools in California. Fun­ded by vari­ous found­a­tions, non­profits, loc­al gov­ern­ments, and school dis­tricts, the fa­cil­ity will care for roughly 168 chil­dren, from in­fancy to 5 years. In ad­di­tion to provid­ing high-qual­ity child care to at-risk kids, the fa­cil­ity will also of­fer a train­ing in­sti­tute to coach day-care work­ers in child de­vel­op­ment and best teach­ing prac­tices. Central to Educare’s mission is to involve families in their children’s education and care.

Website | Twitter

Nurse Family Partnership

Nurse Family Partnership, now in 43 states, pairs low-income, first-time mothers with trained nurses, who counsel the moms throughout pregnancy and until their children's 2nd birthday. The nurses offer guidance on everything from nutrition during pregnancy to breastfeeding to caring for a newborn. They play the role of social worker and encourage mothers to finish their educations, so they can support their families.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

B-Lab

B Lab is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Lab serves these entrepreneurs through three interrelated initiatives—certification, legislation, analytics — that provide them the legal infrastructure and help them attract the customers, talent, and capital to scale. This nonprofit group certifies companies as "B Corps," which means they are beneficial for people and the planet (The B stands for Benefit.)

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Managed by Q

Managed by Q helps companies work efficiently through a smart office cleaning and management platform. Managed by Q considers every employee an operator, whether they work in the field cleaning an office or in HQ as an engineer. The operations team looks through all the highest rated Q operators in your area and personally selects the team that will be staffing your office to ensure it’s a perfect fit.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Managed by Q

Bluegrass Eco­nom­ic Ad­vance­ment Move­ment

The Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM) seeks to build on the region’s existing strengths of robust manufacturing and innovation. BEAM was launched by Mayor Greg Fischer and Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington in 2011. Bringing together the 22 counties that include and surround Lexington and Louisville, this strategic partnership implements a regional economic development approach for the state’s two largest metropolitan areas. Working together, the Mayors believe they can foster increased growth in manufacturing and strengthen the foundation of a prosperous future for companies, employees, and entrepreneurs.

Website | Facebook

University of Chicago’s Employer Assisted Housing Program

The University of Chicago's Employer Assisted Housing Program is designed to strengthen the University’s connection to the nine neighborhoods that house and surround
its mid-South Side campus, by providing homeownership and rental assistance to its University and Medical Center staff. Since its inception, EAHP has helped attract over $47 million in home purchases by University employees and was recently revamped to provide more flexibility and incentives for employees interested in being part of community revitalization efforts. Through this program, the University invests in the local community, retains valuable employees, and helps staff optimize their work-life balance.

Website

Tumml

Tumml is an urban ventures accelerator with the mission of empowering entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. During the last two and a half years, the organization has supported 33 startups working to solve community issues from homelessness to workforce development for blue-collar workers - these startups have built companies that have touched the lives of 2.2 million people, created hundreds of community jobs, and leveraged Tumml capital 53x.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Global Detroit

Global Detroit is a key innovator in the revitalization of Southeast Michigan’s economy and is a national leader in an emerging economic development field centered on welcoming, retaining, and empowering immigrant communities as valued contributors to regional growth. Since 2010, Global Detroit has been launching initiatives conceived in the Global Detroit Study that tap into immigrants’ talent, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and determination to foster regional job growth and prosperity.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

DirectConnect to University of Central Florida

DirectConnect guarantees partner college graduates admission and a smooth transition to the University of Central Florida. The program offers joint advising available to help with admissions, financial aid and academic support, and preferential admission to select bachelor’s degree programs at UCF. DirectConnect was selected by Excelencia in Education as America’s top program for increasing academic opportunities and success for Latino students at the associate level.

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MyCity Academy

With the help of his New Americans Advisory Council, Mayor Dean in 2012 launched a free program called MyCity Academy. The first of its kind in the nation, MyCity empowers New Americans to understand and participate in Nashville's government. Participants of the program gain a better understanding of how their government works and learn how to resolve issues and obtain information.

Website | Twitter

MyCity Academy

Institute for Career Transitions

The Institute for Career Transitions’ mission is to generate effective strategies, offer practical support, and increase public understanding of the challenges facing professionals in career transitions. ICT develops strategic initiatives that address the most critical and pertinent career transition challenges, enabling affiliated academic scholars to research multiple strategies and produce sound recommendations to career professionals and policy makers. Their vision is to become the preeminent source for providing data-driven strategic guidance and policy recommendations for professionals undergoing career transitions.

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The Institute for Career Transitions

Do The Right Thing

Do The Right Thing of Miami, Inc. (DTRT) recognizes and rewards Miami youths for their exemplary behavior, accomplishments, and good deeds through a unique partnership with the City of Miami Police Department, the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, and other participating law enforcement agencies in Miami-Dade. The DTRT Awards Program distinguishes exceptional school-age children who choose to be drug and crime free, exhibit non-violent behavior, do well in school, make a difference in their communities, and demonstrate turnaround behavior.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jeremi­ah Pro­gram

Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time. Jeremiah prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces generational dependence on public assistance. Through a combination of quality early childhood education, a safe and affordable place to live, and empowerment and life skills training, their families are stabilized and able to find a path out of poverty.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jeremiah Program
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