A global pandemic. Racial injustice. Extreme political polarization. In an incredibly challenged moment for the country, extraordinary people in communities across America are working tirelessly to light the way forward. Community-based organizations have become essential lifelines, which is why five nonprofits that represent the brightest lights were chosen as recipients of this year’s Renewal Awards.

The Renewal Awards, presented by The Atlantic and Allstate, is a national competition recognizing organizations that use innovative solutions to create lasting change in their communities. This year’s winners are the 5th class of award recipients and were selected from more than 13,000 nominations. Each winner receives a $40,000 grant to amplify their mission of helping others, along with national recognition that elevates their profile and awareness for their work.

Despite facing significant funding and staffing challenges in this unprecedented year, the winning organizations continue to stay relentlessly focused on the most pervasive and systemic challenges affecting society—homelessness, educational equity, skills and job training, and children and families in need. Each organization serves different needs, but all are united by a core belief that defines our times—no matter who we are, we can lift each other up in times of need.

The 2020 winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Choose 180 (Burien, WA): Engages youth in critical moments and empowers them to make positive changes in their lives, especially when facing jail time or school expulsion. *Allstate Youth Empowerment Award Winner.

  • College to Congress (Washington, D.C.): Levels the playing field and fosters bipartisanship for congressional interns, providing both financial support and mentorship across the aisle.

  • Facing Homelessness (The BLOCK Project) (Seattle, WA): Integrates 125-square-foot detached accessory dwelling units in residential backyards to reduce homelessness.

  • Hello Neighbor (Pittsburgh, PA): Supports recently resettled refugees with mentorship, educational training, and community events.

  • More Than Words (Waltham, MA): Empowers youth who are in foster care, court-involved, homeless, or out of school by helping to run a bookstore.

“We are proud to continue this critical partnership with Allstate, especially during the unprecedented events dramatically affecting all communities across the country,” said Hayley Romer, The Atlantic’s Publisher and CRO. “The generous spirit and relentless work modeled by these community leaders is inspiring and driving the progress we need."

“2020 has changed our way of life, yet these five organizations continue to find ways to serve others despite the enormous challenges they face,” explained Stacy Sharpe, Allstate’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Brand. “These amazing community leaders should remind us all that anything is possible when you know your purpose and have the passion to create a lasting impact.”

Finalists were selected by The Atlantic’s editors and writers. Winners were evaluated by a panel of judges who include former Mayors Rahm Emanuel (Chicago) and Karen Freeman-Wilson (Gary, IN); Anne Marie Burgoyne, managing director of social innovation at Emerson Collective; Kate Nack, director of The Allstate Foundation; former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Florida); and two past Renewal Award winners, Juedy Mom, director of The Compton Initiative, and Pamela Urquieta, CEO and Executive director of Let’s Innovate Through Education. Allstate selected the Youth Empowerment Award winner.

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 covers innovation and celebrates change-makers in local communities. With this year’s award, 31 organizations have received more than $800,000 in funding from The Atlantic and Allstate to further their work. To learn more about the awards, and read about past winners, please visit TheRenewalProject.com.

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