Every year we get together at the Core Values Awards Gala to celebrate Award Winners from across North America. We celebrate people making waves of change in their communities both great and small, we reflect on how we identify with the Core Values, and perhaps take a moment to refill our souls and remember why we do what we do.
This year we saw a variety of projects from Transportation Infrastructure engagement, to rural dialogue on climate change and the revival of a historically disenfranchised neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, through a first of its’ kind neighborhood Health and Well-Being Center.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was named Organization of the Year for its comprehensive engagement practices. SFMTA is responsible for roads, rail, buses and streetcars in the City by the Bay, and as parts of the system needed to be upgraded, the leaders knew the public had to be engaged. The result is POETS — the Public Outreach Engagement Team Strategy — which ensures that people at all levels are brought into the conversation as early and as often as possible.
The Respect for Diversity, Inclusion, & Culture Award and Project of the Year honors went to the Mental Health Center of Denver – the Dahlia Project. Located in an area that had been declining since the late 1960’s, Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-being has brought back hope and lustre to their once booming community. Their journey began in 2012. Dr. Lydia Prado, pictured below, worked with community leaders, embraced their concerns, and educated the public to overcome stigmas associated with mental health facility. Now the Dahlia Campus for Health & Wellbeing is a cornerstone of the community… a 4-acre, 46,000 square foot cornerstone at that.
The General Project of the Year Award goes to the Tennessee Department of Transportation for their 25-Year Long-Range Transportation Policy Plan. TDOT is an engineering organization spending $1.8 billion annually – planning, designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, and managing the state’s 13,870 miles of State-maintained roadways and 8,147 bridges to meet the transportation needs of 6.3 million residents. They sought to ensure a that the long-range transportation plan is rooted in data and truly reflects the evolving multimodal needs and desires of Tennesseans.
The Award for Creativity and Innovation goes to the Jefferson Center for their project “Rural Climate Dialogues”. They set out to “[involve] diverse, demographically balanced groups of community members to study the local impacts of climate change and extreme weather, assess the challenges and opportunities facing their community, and recommend solutions that their community could take individually and collectively to increase resilience and prosperity. By convening Dialogues across [rural] Minnesota, as well as by bringing together participants from all three communities to connect with public officials and advocacy organizations in St. Paul, the discussion and recommendations from all the Dialogues were funneled up to inform state policy priorities, lobbying, and policy implementation.”