The County Voice

2020 CSAC Challenge Awards: Innovation Lives Online

For more than 25 years CSAC has been celebrating county innovation through our Annual Challenge Awards. During that period we have spotlighted nearly 1,000 county programs. But when California shut down in March due to the COVID-19 crisis – and California’s 58 Counties turned their focus to protecting our communities — we felt it was important to delay this year’s program that was initially going to launch in April.

The pandemic has altered our lives in many ways over the past four months. It has taken away a number of aspects of our daily lives. But it has not stripped away county ingenuity, passion and commitment. And we’ve received inquiries from numerous counties on when we will once again be accepting entries for the Challenge Awards. With that in mind, we will be launching the 2020 awards program next week.

This year entrants will find two changes to the awards program: entering will be completely online and there will be a new category to reflect the emphasis counties have had to put on disaster/emergency response and management.

We’ve been looking at going online for some time now; and with so many individuals still working remotely, this is the perfect time to take our entry – and judging – portions of the Challenge Awards online. All you have to do is fill out the online entry form and attach a brief summary outlining your program.  No more postage, no more copies, no more bulky mailings.

We’ve also added new category of disaster/emergency response and management to reflect how our counties have stepped up to serve their residents during the number of crises that have hit our state in the past few years. In response, we’ve heard of a number of best practices developed by counties that are making their communities more responsive, more resilient. Is it a successful program created as a result of wildfire response or the public safety power shutoffs of 2019? Or is it more recent, showing action taken to protect our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic? We’d like to hear about them.

We realize how busy our county staffs are contending directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic. But we also know that the innovation in county government is still alive and well; we hope you can find time to send us descriptions of your best practices. You will have more than two months to compile your entries since the deadline for entries isn’t until Sept. 11.

To learn more about the Challenge Awards entry process, visit the CSAC Website here starting Wednesday, July 8. If you want to ensure you received an email notification of the Call for Entries, feel free to send me an email at

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