Helen Putnam Award

2018 Helen Putnam Winners

The judges are currently reviewing the applications and determining the winning program submissions from all 12 cateogries. Please check back after our Annual Conference and Expo in September! The winners will be announced in Long Beach, September 12, 2018.


2017 Helen Putnam Winners

The 2017 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence winners have been announced. Congratulations to all the cities who have submitted applications this year. We received 154 applications total and are proud to announce 13 winners. Please check out the winners below!

2017 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Winners!

CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration Award

South San Francisco
Program Title: South San Francisco Big Lift Collaborative

A consortium of South San Francisco agencies, including the City of South San Francisco, South San Francisco Unified School District, Peninsula Family Services, and Institute for Human and Social Development has received funding from the Big Lift, a collective impact collaborative to create or enhance over 400 preschool spaces for South San Francisco children. The Big Lift is led by the three agencies - Silicon Valley Community Foundation, San Mateo County Office of Education and County of San Mateo - that have partnered with dozens of county leaders and community based organizations to close the achievement gap and improve third grade reading proficiency in San Mateo County.

Community Services and Economic Development

San Leandro
Program Title: San Leandro Homeless Compact

The San Leadro Homeless Compact represents a highly-successful and ground-breaking collaboration between San Leandro City government (human services and police departments), Building Futures with Women & Children (a local non-profit service provider) and the Rental Housing Association of Southern Alameda County (a landlord association) that is dedicated to providing long-tern housing and services to chronically homeless individuals in San Leandro. This unprecedented partnership is the only one of its kind in Northern California.

Economic Development through the Arts

Program Title: Temecula's Cultural Arts District: First Fridays

COMMUNITY + CREATIVITY = PROSPERITY = PRIDE Temecula's walkable arts district beckons with antique shops, unique restaurants, galleries, museums, performing arts venues, and public art. City Council support for Temecula's Cultural Arts District began with the building of two museums, Temecula Valley History Museum (1999), Pennypickle's Workshop: Temecula Children's Museum (2004), and state-of-the-art Old Town Temecula Community Theater (2005). Public art was also written into Municipal Code as part of the development process where developers must either donate City-approved public art or pay an in-lieu fee into the Public Art Fund. 

Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, & Community Involvement

Rancho Cucamonga
Program Title: Los Amigos Park

Recognizing an underserved area of the Rancho Cucamonga community, staff and City Council sought extensive community input and partnership from the local residents in order to bring a vibrant neighborhood park to this area. With the help of community surveys, input forums, and design workshops, residents helped to create a park design tailored to their needs and wishes. When the City received Proposition 84 grant funds from the State, a vibrant, beautiful park  came to life in an area that needed it most.

Health & Wellness Programs

Long Beach
Program Title: Long Beach Junior Runners

With only one in four Long Beach 5th, 7th and 9th graders assessed to be in the "healthy fitness zone" according to the state required school FITNESSGRAM physical fitness test, Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine (LBPRM) wanted to help improve the health of children and their families. In 2007, LBPRM, Long Beach Health & Human Services, and Run Racing, operators of the Long Beach JetBlue Marathon designed "Junior Beach Runners" (JBR) to be administered in Long Beach schools and parks. JBR offers nutrition education and active fun to encourage youth and families to embrace physical fitness and healthy nutrition.


Housing Programs and Innovations

Citrus Heights
Program Title: Citrus Heights Navigator Program

The City of Citrus Heights is an established, suburban community in Sacramento County with a population of 83,301 located between Sacramento and Roseville. In 2015,the city faced the growing need of providing services to its homeless population. The Citrus Heights Police Department conducted a survey of the homeless community and found there was a predominate desire to stay within the boundaries of the city even though mist homeless resourced were not available within the city limits. Post-Recession, the city had also experienced the contraction of services into the urban core. Through the city's partnership with Citrus Heights HART, the group expressed a need for a "Navigator" or case manager for the local homeless population, which is a model that has been used in other communities to facilitate enrollment into HUD's Coordinated Entry wait list and ranking system for available housing. 

Internal Administration

Santa Clarita
Program Title: Employee Development

The City of Santa Clarita's robust employee development programs have had a significant participation and tangible successes. In the Mentoring Program, 328 employees have voluntarily chosen to participate and many have grown to take on promotional opportunities within the organization. In a survey of all program participants, 100 percent said they benefited from the program and would recommend it to other employees. Since that start of the Leadership Academy in 2009, 67 employees have graduated from the program, many who have gone on to become leaders in the City's organization. The program's success can be attributed to the investment of the Leadership Team. The academy included monthly training sessions. team-building exercises, open discussions and interations with Directors, the Assistant City Manager and the City Manager.

League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations

Mill Valley
Program Title: Adaptive Needs Program

The Mill Valley Recreation Adaptive Needs Program, thanks to the innovative partnership with local nonprofits, has blossomed into a range of exciting community activities and opportunities for those with special needs from workplace training at the Center to Learn to Swim Programs at the Aquatics Facility to the dynamic summer CAMP PAASS and other inclusive arts and recreation programming.

Planning & Environmental Quality

Program Title: Cameron Creek Colony Emergency Water Supply Project

Due to advanced, innovative planning, strategic partnerships, and community involvement, the City of Farmersville quickly mitigated a potentially disastrous human health and environmental crisis to provide permanent water delivery services to the neighboring community Cameron Creek Colony in 2015. Cameron Creek Colony is a severely disadvantaged, unincorporated community of approximately 300 residents that is directly adjacent to the City of Famersville in Tulare County. 

Public Safety

Program Title: The Rialto Summer Bridge to Sucess Program

the Summer Bridge to Success program is a 14 week summer program, designed to provide a healthy environment where youths ages 8-14 can come together, in a collaborative environment to learn. The youth participants learn early intervention techniques that will help them combat: the daily peer pressure of gangs, bullying, anti-social behaviors, learn ways to improve communication skills and enhance self-confidence. Youth will work closely and learn valuable lifelong lessons and principles from certified instructors, from the Rialto Police Department, Young Visionaries, Youth Action Project, Black Voice Foundation, SARGES Community Base, and Big Brother Big Sisters.

Public Safety

Santa Clarita
Program Title: Heroine Kills: The High is a Lie

In 2011, after experiencing its tenth fatality involving young adults in less than two years, the City of Santa Clarita mobilized a new, hard hitting education and outreach campaign to address the new crissi facing its young people; heroin. In less than a year Santa Clarita saw more than 100 heroin related arrests and accodring to the local emergency room physician, there were 400 overdoses treated in a two year span, most attributed to heroin. To address the increase in the number of fatalities due to drug abuse, they City of Santa Clarita mobilized a hard hitting education and outreach campaign to raise awareness. Since 2011 with an average attendance of 400 guests, the City in collaboration with law enforcement, school districts, medical experts and loca non-profit agencies host the Heroin Kills symposium.

Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government

Program Title: The Farmersville Highway 198 Gateway Project

Farmersville's project was a complete overhaul to the City's entrance "gateway" - from the Highway 198 corridor overpass and connecting streets, Farmersville Boulevard and Noble Avenue. The innovative project utilized a novel approach - dual reoundabouts to move traffic into the City. the project includes a retaining wall, landscaping, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes that provide for complete street provisions and also create a grand entry into City.


Archive of Winners

Who was Helen Putnam?

Helen Putnam was a mother, school teacher, principal, mayor, and county supervisor. But most of all, Helen Putnam was a person who viewed meeting one's potential as the measure of success. Excellence, to Helen Putnam, was shown by someone who did his or her very best. She was as supportive and loving of people who did their best as she was of people who did the best. To the League and to California cities, Helen Putnam defined excellence. The Award for Excellence is given in her memory.

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