In a celebration of America's young people and the communities most dedicated to helping local youth graduate from high school, America's Promise Alliance (the Alliance) today announced its 2010 list of 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. An interactive showcase of the 100 Best and their accomplishments can be found at www.americaspromise.org/100Best.
'The 100 Best Communities for Young People are taking bold and effective steps to help their youth graduate and lead healthy, productive lives,' said Alma J. Powell, Chair, America's Promise Alliance. 'Each community has proven that they are developing programs and implementing initiatives to provide young people with the essential resources they need to graduate from high school and succeed in college and a 21st century career.'
The 100 Best competition is part of the Alliance's Grad Nation campaign, a 10-year initiative to mobilize all Americans to end the dropout crisis. This year, more than 350 communities in all 50 states and Washington, DC, were nominated for the 100 Best competition. The winners come from 37 states and 30 are first-time recipients of the honor. They were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges that included some of the nation's most well-known civic, business and nonprofit leaders such as: William Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs; Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Larry Naake, executive director, National Association of Counties; Jane Beshear, first lady of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Dominique Dawes, Olympic gold medalist and youth advocate.
The 2010 winners will be highlighted at a ceremony in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with Alma Powell, Alliance President and CEO Marguerite Kondracke, and ING Foundation President Rhonda Mims. Winning communities will be pinpointed on an expansive ceremonial U.S. map.
Twilight star Kellan Lutz will make a special appearance at the event, assisting the Alliance and ING executives in revealing the list of 100 Best Communities and connecting with young people about the importance of staying in school.
'ING is committed to children's education and to the advancement of education initiatives that prepare our young people to graduate and have successful futures,' said Mims. 'Our support for 100 Best demonstrates our goal of honoring communities that produce real, measurable results for improving the lives of young people.'
'100 Best is an essential building block of Grad Nation, an inspiring national movement that seeks to ensure every young person graduates,' said Kondracke. 'These winning communities are helping to build a generation of assertive, successful and dynamic young people that are the future of this country. Our ultimate hope is that 100 Best will inspire all communities across America to make a commitment to children, keep them in school and help them overcome the challenges that could otherwise determine their future.'
First held in 2005, the 100 Best competition is open to all communities that make children and youth a priority, including small towns, large cities, counties and school districts. In addition to enhancing local educational opportunities, most winning communities help facilitate greater access to quality health care for young people, encourage youth civic engagement and supply developmental resources that create better places for young people to live and grow.
To learn more about the competition, see a full list of winners or the selection committee visit: www.americaspromise.org/100Best.
About 100 Best
First held in 2005, 100 Best honors communities large and small, rural and urban, that are making progress to help young people achieve their potential, which includes earning a high school diploma, securing a good job, and playing an active, productive role in America's economic vitality. This year, more than 350 communities in 50 states registered online for the 100 Best distinction at www.americaspromise.org/100Best. The winning communities were chosen by a prestigious group of national leaders in education and youth issues. The panel includes former elected officials, national nonprofit and business leaders and prominent youth advocates.
Being a 100 Best community not only demonstrates commitment to local young people; the award fosters local pride, bolsters economic development and shines the spotlight on the people and programs that are building better communities. The competition also facilitates the sharing of best practices among communities nationwide regarding education, access to health care, reading score improvement, youth service and pre-school enrollment, among many other areas.
About America's Promise Alliance
America's Promise Alliance is the nation's largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Through the collective power of our partner network, we raise awareness, support communities and engage in nonpartisan advocacy to ensure that young people receive more of the fundamental resources they need to graduate high school prepared for college, work and life. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises-caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. For more information about America's Promise Alliance, visit www.americaspromise.org.
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 105,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.
In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves nearly 30 million customers across the nation.
ING's diversity management philosophy and commitment to workplace diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer. For more information, visit www.ing.us.
About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children's education, diversity, and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit www.ing-usafoundation.com.