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Sacramento Named All-America City Award Finalist

The National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has named Sacramento as one of 20 city finalists in its annual All-America City awards for a unique public-private collaboration aimed at improving student literacy in Sacramento’s Promise Zone. Since 1949, the All-America City Award has been given to the top 10 communities across the U.S. that are leveraging civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to address local issues.

Spearheaded by the Sacramento Promise Zone, directed by Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), and the nonprofit Sacramento Literacy Foundation, Sacramento’s National Civic League-recognized project – the Promise Zone Literacy Initiative, aimed at bringing literacy interventions to the community with one-to-one early reader tutoring, summer reading programming to affordable housing communities, a GIS mapping tool that shows literacy rates at each public school, and more. The goal of the project is to get all children in the Promise Zone reading at grade-level. Pre-pandemic, only 46% of 3rdgrade students in Sacramento County were at grade-level reading and only 36% were at grade-level in the Promise Zone, an example of the disproportionate impact on historically marginalized communities (Community Literacy Maps).

“The Promise Zone Literacy initiative is a perfect example of Sacramento using inclusive civic engagement to address a critical issue,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “Our children have faced incredible challenges during the pandemic, and this partnership between the Sacramento Literacy Foundation, SHRA and the City of Sacramento is vital to improving student literacy in Sacramento. I am glad to see this program receive the recognition it deserves.”

Finalists will compete in July 2022 to win the All-American City Award. Other cities recognized among this year’s finalists include: Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Phoenix, AZ and San Antonio, TX. California received two municipal nominations in this year’s awards: Sacramento and Los Angeles. The theme for this past year’s All-America City Award competition is “Housing as a Platform to Promote Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery.”

“We’re excited to be named as a finalist for the All-America City Award,” said SHRA Executive Director La Shelle Dozier. “This recognition is a testament to the hard work and success of our partnership with the Sacramento Literacy Foundation and many others for the past 13 years to improve reading skills, enhance learning opportunities, and create better futures for Sacramento’s deserving school children.”

The “Promise Zone Literacy Initiative” project uniquely brings together two collective impact agencies to deepen the partnerships and networks in the literacy and housing communities. “The Sacramento Promise Zone Literacy Initiative partnership with the Sacramento Literacy Foundation and our All-America City Award application is a perfect example of what the Promise Zone is all about,” said Sacramento Promise Zone Coordinator Julius Austin.” Cross-sector collaborative efforts focused on marginalized, distressed, and historically-excluded communities have a greater chance to create better outcomes. Together, we will help more children and families be successful!”

“We believe there is no greater single impact in a child’s life than literacy, and we know that children in Sacramento have a much greater likelihood of succeeding in reading if their communities – alongside their public schools, have the tools they need,” said April Javist, Executive Director of the Sacramento Literacy Foundation. “We’re so grateful to partner with the Sacramento Promise Zone to help advance literacy and are honored to have been recognized by the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for this work.”

The next step in the competition is a virtual presentation at the 73rd All-America City Awards event, which takes place July 19-21. Each community is given 10 minutes to make a live virtual presentation before the awards jury explaining why it should be named an All-America City. Livermore won the All-American City designation last year joining Roseville, Lincoln, and Rancho Cordova, all previous local recipients of the All-America City Award.

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All-American City Award 2022 The All-American City Award 2022 is co-convened by The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League. The All-America City Award recognizes communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues.

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading focuses on helping communities and policymakers promote school readiness and quality teaching, tackle chronic absence, and improve summer learning, as well as engage parents as their children’s first teachers.

National Civic League The mission of the National Civic League is to advance civic engagement to create equitable, thriving communities. We achieve this by inspiring, supporting and recognizing inclusive approaches to community decision-making. Founded in 1894 by a group of civic leaders that included Theodore Roosevelt and Louis Brandeis, the National Civic League is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization.”

Sacramento Literacy Foundation The mission of the Sacramento Literacy Foundation is to improve lives by collaborating with organizations in our community to advance literacy skills. The Literacy Foundation is a convener of literacy organizations, is the backbone agency for the Walk 4 Literacy, and is a funder of summer reading programs, projects that increase the delivery of diverse books in children’s homes, and supporting evidence-based approaches in the early classrooms.

Sacramento Promise Zone The Sacramento Promise Zone (Promise Zone), administered by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is one of 22 nationally designated communities. In collaboration with more than 150 key partners, the Promise Zone is committed to coordinate resources and create public-private partnerships to drive area revitalization. By building partner organizations’ capacity and facilitating cross-sector collaboration, the Sacramento Promise Zone seeks to improve educational outcomes, foster a sustainable economic base, accelerate job creation, promote healthy behaviors, and support sustainably built communities.


2022 Finalists

Phoenix, AZ

Los Angeles, CA

Sacramento, CA

New Haven, CT

Suncoast, FL

Tarpon Springs, FL

Atlanta, GA

Des Moines, IA

Chicago, IL

Louisville, KY

Springfield, MA

Portland, ME

Kansas City, MO

Omaha, NE

Alliance, OH

Barberton, OH

El Paso, TX

Palacios, TX

San Antonio, TX

Roanoke, VA


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