February 11, 2019—Fifteen nonprofits from across the country have been chosen from nearly 9,300 nominations to be named finalists in The Renewal Awards, a project of The Atlantic and Allstate. The national competition—now in its fourth year—recognizes local organizations driving positive change in their communities and bringing progress to the country.

The competition now turns to public voting, which opens today and runs through March 1. Voting details and a profile of each finalist can be found at The Atlantic. Five winners will be announced on April 3 in New York City at The Atlantic’s Renewal Summit, where each will receive a $20,000 grant from Allstate, the sponsor of the awards, to further their work.

The 15 finalist organizations have transformed their communities by creating solutions to some of the most pressing—and often overlooked—challenges. Many of this year’s finalists, who come from localities of all sizes and represent nine states and Washington, D.C., are dedicated to serving and empowering low-income populations by harnessing the positive effects of community-building, creativity, and technology.

“From New York to California, and Oregon to Kentucky, this year's Renewal Award finalists testify to the creativity, tenacity, and determination of the grassroots innovators rejuvenating communities around the country,” said Ronald Brownstein, senior editor of The Atlantic. “We are proud to help shine a spotlight on the work of our extraordinary finalists and to give the public a chance to learn more about them. Their collective message is that even with all of the conflict and stalemate of national politics, America's capacity to renew itself from the bottom up remains as vibrant as ever.”

“Allstate makes The Renewal Awards possible because we know good ideas start at the local level, and there are many creative ways to drive positive change in communities,” said Stacy Sharpe, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, Allstate. “We also know from the vast number of applicants that the need is great—but so too is the creativity and diversity among changemakers across the country. We are proud to support the organizations and individuals working hard to make their neighborhoods stronger.”

The Renewal Awards drew nearly 9,300 nominations, three times the number of nominations in 2018. The 2019 finalists are (in alphabetical order):

  • 9 Dots (Los Angeles, CA): Works to create science, technology, engineering and math programs in the Los Angeles area.
  • Adelante Mujeres (Forest Grove, OR): Provides holistic education and empowerment opportunities to low-income Latina women and their families to ensure full participation and active leadership in the community.

  • Appalshop (Whitesburg, KY): Tells the stories of Appalachian coal miners, fast-food workers, prisoners, truck drivers, community activists, high school students, teachers, musicians, and artists to articulate compelling solutions for a better way of life for their families, their communities, and their country.

  • Arts for the Aging (Rockville, MD): Engages older adults and care partners in health improvement and life enhancement through drawing, painting, music, art history, creative writing and storytelling, expressive arts, poetry, dance, musical theatre, collage and mixed media, theatre, and museum trips.

  • Bicycle Collective (Salt Lake City, UT): Promotes cycling as a form of transportation while empowering individuals in impoverished situations by providing them with a personal method of transportation and mobility.

  • College to Congress (Washington, D.C.): Helps high-achieving, Pell Grant-eligible students secure internships with members of Congress representing their state or district, and offers financial support to cover first professional wardrobe, transportation, housing, and meals.

  • The Compton Initiative (Paramount, CA): Offers groups and volunteers an opportunity to make an impact by instilling a sense of care and pride through painting homes, schools, and churches.

  • Emma’s Torch (Brooklyn, NY): Harnesses the power of the culinary industry to help refugees build new lives in their new communities by offering training, ESL classes, and interview preparation.

  • Grow Dat Youth Farm (New Orleans, LA): Participants and volunteers work collaboratively to grow food, educate and inspire youth and adults, and build power to create personal, social and environmental change.

  • New Moms (Chicago, IL): Supports young mothers in finding housing, job training, hands-on experience, linking youth to permanent jobs, and offering guides towards financial independence.

  • RE-volv (San Francisco, CA): Crowdfunds tax-deductible donations to cover the upfront costs of a solar installation for a nonprofit or co-op.

  • Welcoming the Stranger (Philadelphia, PA): Offers free educational classes spanning ESL, computer, and citizenship preparation for adult immigrants and refugees to welcome them into the United States and celebrate their culture.

Allstate Youth Empowerment Award Finalists // Selected by Allstate, an organization that exemplifies a commitment to empowering younger generations with the strength, confidence and skills to become successful leaders.

  • Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (Oakland, CA): Engages and deepens students understanding of nutrition, food production, and healthy living as well as their ties to the local community.

  • Healthy Schools Campaign (Chicago, IL): Works to ensure schools can provide students with healthy environments, nutritious food, health services, and opportunities for physical activity.

  • New Orleans Junior Journalism Program (New Orleans, LA): Aims to increase diversity in journalism, prepares and inspires local youth for careers in print, photography, and online and broadcast media by providing real-world experience covering and producing local news and live events.

Winners are selected through a combination of public voting and evaluations by a panel of judges: Anne Marie Burgoyne, Emerson Collective; Cesar Espinosa, For Families and Their Education; Charlie Dent, former representative from Pennsylvania; Kate Nack, The Allstate Foundation; Marilyn Strickland, president and CEO of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and former mayor of Tacoma, Washington; Mick Cornett, former mayor of Oklahoma City; Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans; Ron Brownstein of The Atlantic;  and two 2018 Renewal winners, Bob Curry of the Hazleton Integration Project in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and Melissa Sawyer with the Youth Empowerment Project in New Orleans.  

Started in 2015, The Renewal Awards spotlight grassroots solutions to challenges faced by communities around the country and the people making a positive difference. The awards are the flagship initiative of The Renewal Project, The Atlantic and Allstate’s broader partnership that spotlights innovation and celebrates change-makers in local communities. To date 16 organizations have received more than $300,000 in grants from Allstate to further their work. To learn more about the awards, and read about past winners, please visit TheRenewalProject.com.

###

About The Atlantic
Founded in 1857 and today one of the fastest growing media platforms in the industry, The Atlantic has throughout its history championed the power of big ideas and continues to shape global debate across print, digital, events, and video platforms. With its award-winning digital presence TheAtlantic.com and CityLab.com on cities around the world, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. Bob Cohn is president of The Atlantic and Jeffrey Goldberg is editor in chief. Emerson Collective is majority owner; Atlantic Media is the minority operating owner of The Atlantic.

About Allstate
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) protects people from life’s uncertainties with more than 113 million proprietary policies. Allstate offers a broad array of protection products through multiple brands and diverse distribution channels, including auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass, SquareTrade and Answer Financial brands. Allstate is widely known from the slogan “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.