The National Civic League announced the winners of the 61st annual All-America City award during a raucous celebration at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.

Listed in alphabetical order by state, the 2010 All-America Cities are:

Chandler, Arizona
Lynwood, California
Rancho Cordova, California
North Miami, Florida
Acworth, Georgia
Des Moines, Iowa
Salisbury, Maryland
Gastonia, North Carolina
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
El Paso, Texas

The 61-year old awards program recognizes neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities, counties and metro regions for outstanding civic accomplishments. To win, communities have to demonstrate an ability to address serious challenges with innovative, grassroots strategies that promote civic engagement and cooperation between the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

“These All-America Cities represent what is working in American communities,” said National Civic League President Gloria Rubio Cortés. “They are taking on challenging issues and finding innovative ways of creating a better future. We are inspired by their stories every year.”

To qualify for the award, communities submit a detailed application listing three examples of successful community-based problem-solving. This year’s winners addressed such issues as homelessness, obesity, economic development,  low income housing, improving schools and diversity and inclusion.

“This is the best that is going on in the country,” said AAC Jury foreperson Sharon Metz, a former mayor of an All-America City, when asked about the winners’ community projects. “It’s all the issues we talk about and read about in the news-energy, healthcare, jobs, programs for youth and children-only these people are doing more than talking. They are getting busy and working to solve these challenges. They change their communities, and little by little, they are changing the country.”

Underwriting the All-America City Awards this year was the Sprint Foundation. The sponsors were MWH Global, Gay and Lesbian Fund of Colorado, Burns & McDonnell, Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City, Southwest Airlines – The Official Airline of the All-America City Awards, Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation, KPMG, NECA/IBEW Power Partners, Southern California Edison, City of Kansas City, Missouri, City of Gladstone, Missouri, State Farm, and LSC Transportation Consultants.

This year, boosters back home followed the action by watching live-streaming of the Kansas City event courtesy of Free Speech TV, another Denver-based nonprofit, and egging on their neighborhoods and fellow townspeople through a live chat feature, Twitter and Facebook.

Excitement was also generated by a side event in which communities produced videos telling their community stories and showcasing their efforts to promote civic engagement and solve local problems. Members of the public voted in the tens of thousands to back their favorite videos on the AAC blog,

The All-America City Award is an honor achieved by more than 600 communities. Some have won the award multiple times. All-America Cities benefit by increasing community pride, networking with civic activists from across the country and gaining national recognition. The AAC designation has helped communities win grants and new resources and attract new employers.

NCL is a 116-year-old nonpartisan nonprofit organization that strengthens democracy by increasing the capacity of groups and individuals to participate in and build healthy and prosperous communities. NCL publishes the Model City Charter and the National Civic Review.

In addition to its publishing and award programs, NCL provides technical assistance through its Community Services program. Recent community-based projects have focused on fiscal sustainability, transportation-oriented development, environmental stewardship, racial equity and immigrant integration.