City Cultural Diversity Awards

"Making a Difference in Our Nation's Cities"

Sponsored by the National League of Cities and its Constituency Groups

Purpose and Focus

The National League of Cities recognizes and celebrates the growing diversity of America's communities and believes that diversity should be reflected in the activities of all cities and towns across the nation. As a result, the National League of Cities, with one of its constituency groups, NBC-LEO, established the City Cultural Diversity Awards in 1995, as a means of demonstrating quality and innovation in relation to the many aspects of cultural diversity. This award program is designed to: 1) encourage citizen involvement in local government-sponsored activities; and 2) enhance and show the appreciation of cultural diversity as a way of life in our municipalities.

The City Cultural Diversity Awards Program has been developed to showcase examples of how cities achieve excellence in diversity. It also promotes the positive results of "a total community collaboration." The awards are given to honor community leadership in developing creative and effective programs to improve cultural diversity.

Award Eligibility Criteria and Entry Fee

Only National League of Cities member cities are eligible to apply.  An entry fee is required to apply for the awards program and is determined by a municipality's population.  A total of four City Cultural Diversity first place awards will be presented at the Monday, March 7, 2016 Celebrate Diversity Breakfast at the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference.  The following population categories each have a specific entry fee (all entry fees are non-refundable):

  • The under 25,000 population category entry fee is $200.
  • The 25,001 - 100,000 population category entry fee is $300.
  • The 100,001 - 400,000 population category entry fee is $400.
  • The over 400,001 population category entry fee is $500.

The City Cultural Diversity Awards application must focus on one municipal program.  If you have additional programs, they must be submitted separately with an additional application form and entry fee. 

A program must demonstrate 1) that it has enhanced the quality of life of your community for the improvement of equal opportunity and for the provision of greater access to government and government services by multiracial and multicultural populations; 2) that it has increased citizen participation in government and community activities by all segments of the community; 3) that cultural diversity is an ongoing and recognized effort in your city or town. Programs may cover government-generated or community-based efforts in your municipality. Each program should ensure that its staff is diverse or exemplifies diversity.

All award recipients will be chosen be an independent panel of judges, the NLC City Cultural Diversity Awards Program Committee, with representatives from each of the constituency groups.

Award Application Requirements

  1. Municipalities must email their applications and any additional materials as a single PDF to

    The NLC City Cultural Diversity Awards Program
    c/o National League of Cities, Constituency Group Programs
    1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 550
    Washington, DC 20004

  2. The application must be accompanied by the appropriate entry fee for the selected population category and made payable to the NLC. These fees are for the expressed purpose of implementing the awards program and are non-refundable.
  3. All entries must be received by January 29, 2016. For those cities that would like to have confirmation that their application was received, please send a self-addressed, stamped postcard with the application. Previous award winning programs cannot be reentered. However, the same city may re-apply and submit a different program.
  4. The attached application form has five parts: a title page that should be signed by the Chief Executive Officer in your community; a two-sentence description; a two-page executive summary that should highlight your city's program; responses to three core questions about your city's cultural diversity program; and optional exhibit materials.
  5. Deliberations by a panel of judges will occur in mid-February. A press release will be made available to award winners and their state municipal leagues shortly after the awards are announced. Winners will be notified prior to the NLC Congressional City Conference so that winning cities can be represented and honored at the Celebrate Diversity Breakfast awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Award winning cities or towns will receive three complimentary tickets to the NLC Diversity Breakfast for registered delegates. If a winning municipality plans to have additional representatives at the ceremony, they will be able to purchase tickets on-site at the NLC conference one day prior to the breakfast event. Award winners must pay the NLC conference registration fee if they plan to attend other portions of the conference.
  6. Municipalities that apply must be current members of the National League of Cities.

Awards Recognition

Award recipients will be recognized during the NLC Celebrate Diversity Breakfast held annually during NLC's Congressional City Conference.

Assistance and Questions

For any questions related to the City Cultural Diversity Awards, please email