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 Anchorage Named One of the Nation’s 100 Best Communities 

 Competition Recognizes Communities Taking Action to Help Reduce Local Dropout Rates and Create Brighter Futures for Young People 

9/22/2010 | Contact: (907) 272-4104 or Cell: (907) 351-6223
Mayor's Office

Anchorage— The efforts of Anchorage civic and community leaders were honored today when America’s Promise Alliance (the Alliance), the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to youth and children, announced the city had been named a winner of the Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People (100 Best) competition presented by ING, a global financial services company and leading provider of retirement plans and programs for teachers. Its 2010 recognition marks the fourth win for Anchorage in the competition, and one of only 100 cities in the nation.

The 100 Best designation recognizes those communities that make youth a priority by implementing programs that help keep children in school and prepare them for college and the 21st century workforce. The competition is open to all communities that make children and youth a priority, including small towns, large cities, counties and school districts. In addition to enhancing local educational opportunities, most winning communities have taken steps to facilitate improved access to health care for its young people, encourage youth civic engagement and supply developmental resources that create better places for young people to live and grow. The entire 2010 list of 100 Best Communities for Young People and their accomplishments can be found at www.americaspromise.org/100Best.

“Through its innovative and far-reaching programs, Anchorage is taking bold and effective steps to help their young people graduate and lead healthy, productive lives,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO. “Anchorage serves as an example to inspire and educate other communities across the nation to tackle the challenges facing their city and young people, and to implement initiatives that give them the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”

Anchorage was named one of the nation’s 100 Best for its collaborative efforts to increase academic achievement and leadership skills in its young people. Anchorage United for Youth, a coalition of 50 organizations including the Anchorage School District, the Municipality of Anchorage and the United Way, has developed a community youth plan to increase graduation rates and youth success. The coalition’s efforts are complemented by several leadership opportunities for youth. Local councils allow young people to contribute to the community by being involved in the policymaking process and having their concerns heard before local officials. One example is the 15-member Youth Advisory Commission that advises the mayor and other city officials, and disseminates information on health, nutrition, education and recreation services to the municipality’s youth.

Anchorage is making strides to increase its graduation rate and opportunities for early education. The school system has made graduation coaches, career and technical counseling services and access to charter schools available to all students. Community programs such as the Cook Inlet Tribal Council Youth Services provide academic counseling, in-school services, and summer and afterschool programs. Increase in youth leadership through the support given by Anchorage's Promise has resulted in thousand of youth giving back to their community. Anchorage is also investing in its youngest student’s ages 0-5-years old with early education programs at local libraries to foster school readiness.

“I’m pleased that the collaborative effort to win this designation was successful,” said Mayor Dan Sullivan. “The fact that Anchorage is recognized as an ideal place to raise children encourages citizens to stay here and start a business or a family, both of which are important to the health and vitality of our city.”

On September 21, 2010, Anchorage and the other winners spanning 37 states were recognized at a ceremony in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Each of the winning communities was formally recognized with a designation on a map of the U.S., illustrating the geographic and demographic diversity of the winning 100 communities. In addition to the 100 Best distinction, Anchorage and the other top communities will receive two road signs identifying the city as one of 100 Best, as well as a trophy to be presented to local officials later this year.

Alliance Chair Alma Powell and President and CEO Marguerite W. Kondracke revealed the list of winners during the national celebration. They were joined by Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president, ING’s Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs and Twilight’s Kellan Lutz, who both share a passion for the development of young people.

“ING is committed to children’s education and to the advancement of education initiatives that prepare them for successful futures,” said Mims. ”Our support for 100 Best demonstrates our goal of honoring communities like Anchorage that produce real, measurable results for improving the lives of young people.”

The competition is one element of the Alliance’s Grad Nation campaign, a 10-year initiative to mobilize all Americans to take action in their communities to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. More than 7,000 students drop out each school day in the U.S., resulting in 1.3 million young people a year. To help decrease these numbers, the Alliance is more committed than ever to recognizing communities – regardless of size, location or history – that are taking real action to help more young people stay in school and graduate on time. Click on America's Promise Allicance for more information on the local affiliate.

About America’s Promise Alliance

America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Through the collective power of our partner network, we raise awareness, support communities and engage in nonpartisan advocacy to ensure that young people receive more of the fundamental resources they need to graduate high school prepared for college, work and life. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises—caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. Click on America's Promise Allicance for more information.

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