In Partnership with Capital One, Competition Recognizes Outstanding,
Innovative Efforts That Benefit Children and Youth
(January 24, 2007) – America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth is pleased to announce that Oklahoma City is again a winner in a national competition to identify the 100 Best Communities for Young People. In partnership with Capital One, the 100 Best competition honors communities – ranging from small towns to urban neighborhoods across America – for their commitment to provide healthy, safe and caring environments for young people. Hundreds of communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands took part in the competition.
Oklahoma City was selected for its accomplishments with “MAPS for Kids,” the 10-year, $700 million construction and renovation program to improve school facilities throughout Oklahoma City's 24 school districts. The City was also recognized for the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Children and Youth Summit and Smart Start Central Oklahoma, a public-private partnership to help prepare children for entering school.
“Nothing is more important than seeing that our children and youth have the resources and support systems they need to thrive and succeed,” said America’s Promise Founding Chairman General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.). “When a community provides all that its young people need to be healthy and secure, they deserve to be honored and showcased as an outstanding example of what it takes to successfully nurture this nation’s young people.”
A complete list of winners can be found at www.americaspromise.org. 100 Best Communities for Young People was first launched in 2005 by General Powell in partnership with Capital One Financial Corporation. Other members of America’s Promise Alliance — including United Way of America, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Big Brothers Big Sisters, National Association of Counties and the American Association of School Administrators and many others — took leading roles in encouraging communities to compete in the 100 Best competition.
“Oklahoma City is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People for several reasons,” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said. “The public, private, faith-based and non-profit organizations in this City work together to solve problems and invest in our young people. The MAPS for Kids program is successful because the citizens of Oklahoma City stepped up and invested nearly $700 million in public education. Once the program is complete, every Oklahoma City School District student will be in a new or renovated building by 2012.”
The 2007 100 Best Communities for Young People competition opened in September 2006. Oklahoma City and the other winners applied for the honor and were chosen by a distinguished selection panel of civic, business and nonprofit leaders, including United Way of America President Brian Gallagher, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and Moderator of Meet the Press Tim Russert, CEOs for Cities’ President and CEO Carol Coleta, and former Denver mayor Wellington Webb.
The selection panel evaluated 100 Best entries that required detailed information about each community’s efforts to fulfill the Five Promises – the fundamental resources our children and youth need to succeed: caring adults who are actively involved in their lives; safe places in which to learn and grow; a healthy start toward adulthood; an effective education that builds marketable skills; and opportunities to help others.
“We held this competition to appeal to America’s competitive spirit to encourage communities to become great places to grow up.” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, President and CEO of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth. “Our winners’ outstanding efforts to deliver the Five Promises are shining examples of what it means to keep America’s Promise for our young people.”
"Capital One believes that every family should have the opportunity to provide for their children in ways that ensure future success," said Capital One President of Global Financial Services and America’s Promise board member Larry Klane, a member of the 2007 selection panel. "Through the 100 Best competition, we can recognize communities that foster the type of environment where children and families have opportunities and resources to realize their potential."
Oklahoma City was previously named a 100 Best Cities winner in 2005.
For more details about the 100 Best competition and the winners, please visit www.americaspromise.org.