The League of California Cities announced the 10 winning cities of the esteemed Helen Putnam Award for Excellence for 2023. Each City was chosen for its outstanding efforts and innovative programs to improve the quality of life and delivery of services in their communities. The winning cities are listed below with a link to a video featuring their initiatives:
- City of Agoura Hills, Internal Administration
Agoura Hills launched a monthly podcast where City staff and outside experts break down complex topics. Part of a larger communications overhaul, the podcast has helped the City reach more people than ever.
- City of Azusa, Community Services and Economic Development
All in for Azusa is an integrated, cross-sector network of more than 30 services and organizations dedicated to improving the economic health and well-being of all Azusa residents.
- City of Corona, Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, and Community Involvement
Corona is reaching more people than ever thanks to investments in integrated digital tools, accessibility and real-time reporting. By utilizing technology, the City has improved the citizen experience and increased resident engagement.
- City of Corona, Planning and Environmental Quality
Corona’s Urban Forest Management Plan prioritizes tree care, reforestation, and community engagement, leading to an improved urban forest, reduced carbon emissions and an enhanced quality of life for residents.
- City of Modesto, Housing Programs and Innovations
The Youth Navigation Center in Modesto is a centralized youth-focused facility. The center includes low-barrier shelter and transitional housing beds, permanent supportive housing units and wraparound services.
- City of Modesto, Public Safety
Modesto formed the Community Health and Assistance Team to provide outreach specialists who offer whole-person care and resources to unhoused residents, leading to increased public safety and valuable support for the City’s most vulnerable population.
- City of Moreno Valley, Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government
The City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley College Youth Collaborative launched five programs focused on civic engagement, work experience and financial support to help youth ages 16 to 24 finish school and find successful high-paying local careers.
- City of Pleasanton, Health and Wellness Programs
Pleasanton worked with the community to expand access to mental health care. Now, the City’s Alternative Response unit dispatches a clinician and non-uniformed officer to non-criminal behavioral health incidents.
- City of Riverside, Economic Development through the Arts
Riverside worked with the Riverside Art Museum and Cheech Marin to build the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture — the only museum in the country dedicated to Chicano art.
- City of Santa Monica, Public Works
The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project utilizes stormwater, urban runoff and wastewater to provide a sustainable water supply, producing about 10% of the City’s water and benefiting the local economy and environment.
- City of Shafter, Intergovernmental Collaboration
Through partnerships, technology and community support, the City established the Shafter Library & Learning Center. The Shafter Library & Learning Center is now Kern County’s most accessible and dynamic library, which offers diverse educational opportunities.
- City of West Sacramento, Cal Cities Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations
The City of West Sacramento partnered with the local chamber of commerce to establish the Home Run Paid Internship Program, which connects high school students with local business owners through an eight-week paid internship.
Established in 1982 by the League of California Cities, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence, given annually in 12 categories, recognizes outstanding achievements made by California’s 482 cities. These winning cities have made unique contributions to community residents and businesses, which have resulted in lower costs or more effective delivery of services. The purpose of the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program is to promote innovative solutions by City governments.
The 2023 winners, recognized for their outstanding programs, were chosen from 142 submissions.
About Cal Cities
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials. Cal Cities’ mission is to expand and protect local control for cities through education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.