The National Civic League announced its finalists for the 2010 All-America City Awards.

The award, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious civic recognition honors, is based on:

  • Diversifying the labor force
  • Providing affordable housing options in a tough economy
  • Funding basic services to people of need in the recession
  • Increasing tax base to fund schools
  • Transitioning to a more diverse workforce
  • Providing cold weather shelter for the increased numbers of homeless
  • Overcoming financial hurdles to serve the needs of youth

Four California cities were named among the 20 finalists, including Dublin, Lynwood, Rancho Cordova and the neighborhood of Vernon Central.

“These are some of the most innovative communities in the country,” said National Civic League President Gloria Rubio-Cortes in a press release. “They give us hope and inspiration and teach us important lessons about leveraging the civic energy of ordinary people to address difficult challenges during some very tough economic times.”

Other cities named include: Chandler, AZ; Bentonville, AR; Miami Lakes, FL; North Miami. FL; Acworth, GA; Belleville, IL; Canton, IL; Noblesville, IN; Des Moines, IA; Lenexa, KS; Scott County, KS; Bowling Green, KY; Salisbury, MD; Ferguson, MO; Riverside, MO; Lynbrook, NY; Gastonia, NC; West Chester, OH; Wyoming, OH; Mount Pleasant, SC; El Paso, TX; Abingdon, VA; Middleton, Wisconsin.

According to the release, to become a finalist, each participant completed an application documenting three community projects that address their communities’ most pressing challenges. More than 500 communities from around the country have earned this distinguished title.  Some have earned it five times over the past 61 years. Each community will send a delegation to Kansas City to tell their stories of positive community change to a jury of civic experts. The ten All-America Cities will be announced on June 18.

The NCL is a 116-year-old nonpartisan nonprofit organization that strengthens democracy by increasing the capacity of our nation’s people to fully participate in and build healthy and prosperous communities across America.