SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today marked National Volunteer Week by encouraging communities to submit entries for the 31st Annual Governor’s Hometown Awards, a program that recognizes volunteer efforts to improve Illinois communities. The awards are part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to honor volunteer service and community improvement across the state. The application deadline is July 15, and communities of any size may submit nominations.
“Local volunteers and organizations are improving communities across Illinois and enhancing the quality of life for everyday people,” Governor Quinn said. “The Hometown Awards recognize people who are helping us build a better Illinois for current and future generations.”
Applications for Hometown Awards may be submitted by local governments, schools, youth groups, community organizations, chambers of commerce, community action agencies, job training organizations, or other local entities. Awards are given based on population in six project categories: Services and mentorship, beautification and sustainability, parks and recreation, memorials and monuments, history and historic preservation, and general projects.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) oversees the award program. Details and application forms are available at www.ildceo.net/HometownAwards. All Governor's Hometown Awards winners will be recognized at a reception at the Governor's Mansion this fall.
“Previous award winners have included an urban farm and apiary on a hospital parking lot rooftop, a memorial honoring women in military service, completion of a public skate park using private funds, and a reading mentorship program, just to name a few,” DCEO Acting Director Adam Pollet said. “We encourage communities to submit Hometown Awards applications to help us recognize the people who are making Illinois a better place to live and work.”
A team of impartial volunteer judges will evaluate the applications. The judges will select the category winners and also nominate one project from each population division to receive the coveted Governor's Cup, a traveling silver trophy which signifies the project deemed most representative of the spirit of Illinois volunteerism. The 2012 Governor’s Cup recipient was East St. Louis for transforming an abandoned and overgrown parking lot into a community teaching garden that provides fresh produce to low-income citizens.