The County Voice

CSAC Challenge Awards a Golden Opportunity to Spotlight Your County’s Innovative Work

One of the most gratifying parts of my job is traveling to counties throughout the state and learning about the innovative programs that are recipients of the annual CSAC Challenge Awards. Not only do I have an opportunity to see how the programs are making a difference at the local level, but I am able to meet the hardworking staff who have taken those innovative ideas from concept to reality.

And so I invite you to enter CSAC 2019 Challenge Awards.

In 2018, 13 counties received a total of 17 Challenge Awards ,while numerous others were honored with Merit Awards. These programs run the gamut, from an innovative Inyo County probation program that works with at-risk kids before they run afoul of the law, to the development of portable charging stations in San Diego County that can be used during power outages by residents reliant on emergency devices. We have learned about a compassionate In-Home Support Services program in Alameda County and  Yuba County’s 14Forward transitional housing program that is helping homeless individuals turn their lives around.

There were award-winning programs that are based on collaboration to help those who need a hand, such as Shasta County‘s Step Up and Placer County’s Whole Person Care Pilot. And there was an emphasis on technology, ranging from a Nevada County app that brings customer service to a whole new level, to an interactive GIS mapping system that assists Santa Barbara County residents impacted by the 2017 wildfires and subsequent devastating debris flow.

The innovation is out there among our counties; we just need to hear about it.

Since the awards program was started in the mid-1990s, nearly 300 county programs have been honored with Challenge Awards, and more than 800 other programs recognized with Merit Awards. 

We generally receive about 275 award program entries across all categories each year. But we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to successful, innovative programs developed by our 58 Counties.

So, what does it take to enter? Not much; you have already done the heavy lifting. All we require is a two-page executive summary that outlines the program and its success. More information on that summary as well as entry guidelines can be found here.

It’s our privilege to help promote California Counties’ innovative, award-winning programs. CSAC executive leadership makes presentations for the top awards at Boards of Supervisors meeting so the staff behind these best practices can receive the recognition they deserve.  Our communications staff travels to counties to produce videos and blogs on the Challenge Award-winning programs. And we also will work with your local media to publicize that your county has one – or maybe several – of the most innovative programs in the state.

So please take a bit of time to consider entering and then take the plunge by participating in the 2019 CSAC Challenge Awards. The entry deadline isn’t until June 21.

Yes, innovation is alive and well in California’s 58 Counties – and we want to help tell your story.

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