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Awards to Arkansas Municipalities for Innovative
Volunteer Services that Address Community Needs

Volunteer Community of the Year (COY) Award

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VolunteerAR, EngageAR, Office of the Governor, the Governor's Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism (GACNSV), and Arkansas Municipal League

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Awards to Arkansas municipalities to recognize and acknowledge outstanding community-wide volunteer efforts. The award program is intended to honor communities as a whole, rather than individual volunteers. Awards recognize municipalities that address the areas of greatest need within their communities through a spirit of volunteerism.

The Volunteer Community of the Year Awards (COY) honor communities that demonstrate the ability to address their community's greatest needs through impact-minded volunteer activities.  A sampling of the criteria used to select the winning communities is as follows:

  • What community-wide, city-led citizen engagement services and programs directly address the areas of greatest need within your community?
  • Is your community seeing a positive impact (change) from its efforts to fill the gaps in service provision?
  • Are your community's civic engagement activities innovative and/or of long-term service?
  • Did the community have to overcome any unusual challenges in order to carry out these activities or achieve impact?
  • Does the city regularly provide opportunities for citizen input in developing solutions?

Three ways to boost a COY Nomination:

  1. Special consideration will be given to communities that mobilize citizens to complete an annual community-wide service initiative. Ideally, service initiatives target legacy projects, which are designed to provide long-term support for the community’s infrastructure, operations, and/or quality of life. These community initiatives should seek to impact the areas of greatest need.
  2. Special consideration will be given to cities that join the Cities of Service coalition and, under Cities of Service guidelines, create a citywide service plan. For more information on the Cities of Service coalition, visit
  3. Special consideration will be given to Cities of Service members who have continued to carry out their city service plan.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174776

Estimated Size of Grant:

- COY communities receive signs on two of the city's borders designating them as a Volunteer Community of the Year for the specified year. The Arkansas Highway Commission donates the COY Award signs annually.
- These signs showcase your community as a healthy network of neighbors helping neighbors. This designation improves the local economy by attracting people to spend time - even live- within the Arkansas Volunteer Communities of the Year.
- The cities and their citizen engagement programs are featured in articles in City & Town magazine, which is published by the Arkansas Municipal League.
- The winning communities receive additional recognition and publicity for their civic engagement efforts. Many local newspapers, television and radio stations, and other forms of media feature and honor the winning communities.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Awards are made to municipalities in Arkansas. Cities that have been honored in the past can be recognized again for new or continued accomplishments.

Nomination statements should focus on city-driven citizen engagement activities/initiatives in the community from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Pre-Application Information:

2021 nominations for Community of the Year will open on August 16, 2021 and close on November 17.

The 2021 Community of the Year Luncheon is scheduled for January 20, 2022.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

For more information or assistance, please contact Shana Chaplin at 501-537-9724, or

EngageAR - Arkansas Division of Higher Education
423 Main St.
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 537-9722

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Arkansas

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