Helen Putnam Award

Selection Juries for 2019 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Needed 



 To help select the 2019 Helen Putnam Award winning cities we are asking for volunteer assistance from city officials to serve on the award selection juries. To participate we ask that jury members review submitted applications online at www.helenputnam.org and convene via conference call to select the winners. (Please see page 2 for scheduling information.)
We are seeking approximately 60 volunteers to serve on the various juries.
ACTION NEEDED – If you are willing to serve on a Helen Putnam Jury (and get a preview of some great innovations you might use in your city) please respond on the attached form by May 10. Information on each application will be sent after we have confirmed your participation.
Thank you for your assistance with this project. It is very important to recognize, celebrate and learn from the successes of other cities.  The Helen Putnam Awards process is a valuable and respected way of doing this, and our dedicated volunteer juries are vital to the success of this program that brings positive attention to all cities.
If you know your city has applied under a certain category please do not volunteer for that category.
Please send this completed form to:
Email: mlienau@cacities.org or Fax:  916/658-8240
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Melissa Lienau at 916/658-8216.


2018 Helen Putnam Winners

CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration Award
Santa Clarita
Program Title: Community Court Diversion Program
In 2006, the Santa Clarita Community Court Diversion Program was implemented as an alternative to the juvenile justice system for first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders. The program includes a “Community Court” for minor offenses and a “Teen Court” for more serious offenses. City of Santa Clarita staff work with representatives from the School District, Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, volunteers and local non-profit agencies to administer the program. Youth who commit minor crimes and break traffic laws are sentenced by either a judge or their peers to perform community service, make restitution, and attend diversion and life skills classes.

Community Services and Economic Development

Program Title: Milpitas Workforce Development Initiative

Milpitas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in California, and although it is perfectly situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, still there is a segment of the population that has not reaped the benefits of the post-recession economic boom. With more and more millennials entering the high-tech market and service industry, the growing manufacturing companies have experienced a difficult time attracting the millennial workforce to enter their job market. In response, the City of Milpitas Economic Development Department created the Milpitas Workforce Development Initiative to address the growing gap in the community by connecting the youth to manufacturing and high-paying jobs in Milpitas.

Economic Development through the Arts

Long Beach
Program Title: POW! WOW! Long Beach

As part of its economic development strategy, the City of Long Beach sought to prioritize investment in the arts following the loss of significant public arts funding due to the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency. The City, supporting a grassroots effort of a local entrepreneur, art museum and tourism organization, became a primary partner in bringing an annual POW!WOW! arts and music festival to the City. POW!WOW! plays an integral role in cultivating a vibrant artistic culture and establishing Long Beach as one of the world’s most livable, inventive, and inclusive cities. The Program mitigates the loss of Percent for Public Art funds and supports the proliferation of the arts in Long Beach in support of the City’s economic development strategy.

Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, & Community Involvement

Garden Grove
Program Title: Neighborhood Improvement Committee Community Revitalization Initiative

In April 2016, the Neighborhood Improvement Committee embarked on a journey to identify a local neighborhood that would benefit from a multi-year initiative designed to engage the community, enhance quality of life, and empower stakeholders to take ownership of the area. The NIC selected the Palma Vista neighborhood and adjacent commercial center as the focus of their revitalization efforts.

Health & Wellness Programs

Rancho Cucamonga
Program Title: Rancho Cucamonga Healthy RC

In the face of growing awareness and need, Healthy RC, an innovative City-community partnership, has developed comprehensive mental health strategies including the Your Mind Matters campaign to improve community access to culturally appropriate mental health resources and remove the stigma associated with mental health.

Health & Wellness Programs   
Program Title: Polar Pedal 

A school-based program in Davis, California empowers students to reduce carbon emissions and help polar bears by walking or biking to school. The program, Polar Pedal, takes place throughout the month of February each year. Its mission is to connect the students’ daily actions with their effect on the environment, while at the same time empowering young people to develop healthy lifelong habits and boost rates of active transportation to schools.

Housing Programs and Innovations

Program Title: Host House

HOST House: Helping Others to Sleep Tonight is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the homeless epidemic in the City of Patterson and other Stanislaus County cities, by offering rest, food, and opportunities to homeless and working-poor citizens.

Internal Administration
La Quinta
Program Title: La Quinta Leadership & Development

In 2013, the City of La Quinta set out to create an energetic and engaged workforce that would foster an atmosphere of creativity, innovation, and passion. Employees would have ownership, trust, respect, and appreciation for the organization and each other. This culture change would come from the implementation of new training platforms, a performance based evaluation system, key technology investments, active succession planning, community engagement, and metrics.

League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations

Program Title: Adaptive Needs Program

The Davis City Council adopted a Rental Education, Registration and Inspection Program to ensure rental housing is maintained, meets minimum building, housing, fire, and nuisance standards and is safe to occupy. The program is intended to preserve and enhance the quality of life for residents living in rental housing, as well as the neighborhoods in which they reside.

League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations

Santa Clarita
Program Title: City of Santa Clarita Business Incubator

The Santa Clarita Business Incubator began in 2014 with the vision of stimulating economic growth through entrepreneurship and enterprise development. To date, seven new creative and technology-focused companies have been established and have created 19 jobs, all as part of this exciting program that provides customized, affordable resources and support from the City and through strategic partnerships. The program has already proven to effectively contribute to the budding local entrepreneurial community and increase the potential for local job creation in one of the City’s targeted industries. The City’s efforts in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship has also resulted in the establishment of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in our community, including being the most active chapter of the Google Start Up Grind and a newly established chapter of 1 Million Cups*, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, and outside of our community as the City that has been consistently mentoring other municipalities in both California and Texas on how to emulate our successes. *Based on the idea that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee, 1 Million Cups is a free weekly event that brings together local entrepreneurs to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs with their communities and find ways to grow their business.

Planning & Environmental Quality
Program Title: East Porterville Water Supply Project

During the historic California drought that spanned most of this past decade, no region was more severely impacted than the Central Valley, and no area received more State and media attention than the unincorporated community known as East Porterville, which symbolically served as “ground zero” and the “poster child” of the catastrophic conditions and impacts of the drought. The East Porterville Water Supply Project has been a tremendous success and fantastically received by the affected residents, and is considered a model for implementation in helping to meet the clean and sustainable drinking water needs of disadvantaged communities throughout the state.  The Project was also consistent with the League’s Strategic Goal of support for promoting housing affordability and addressing homelessness.  Funded through both Drought Emergency and Proposition 1 funds given the community’s severely disadvantaged designation, the Project required the coordination and participation of ten separate governmental agencies and non-profit organizations.

Public Safety
Program Title: Fontana Leadership Intervention Program

Fontana Leadership Intervention Program (FLIP) is an innovative juvenile intervention program designed to combat rising rates of truancy, suspension and expulsion, coupled with the increases in juvenile criminal activity. Created through a close partnership between the Fontana Police Department and the Fontana Unified School District, FLIP has achieved measurable success in the lives of nearly 500 participating students through improved police service, focused education, and personalized advocacy to enhance quality of life for the participants, as well as their families and the community as a whole.

Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation

Town of Truckee
Program Title: The Molehouse Pedestrian and Bicycle Project

The Town of Truckee in partnership with, Caltrans, Union Pacific Railroad, and Nevada County Transportation Commission designed and constructed a 12-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian “Mousehole” to solve serious safety, aesthetic and practical dilemmas for pedestrians and bicyclists who were previously sharing the road with high volumes of vehicular traffic through a narrow passage beneath the railroad along State Route 89.


Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government  
Program Title: City of Fresno Youth Commission

Two years ago the Fresno City Council voted to create the first ever Fresno Youth Commission and provided funding through its annual city budget, and the first commissioners were sworn in on April 28, 2016. The commission addresses the important goal of integrating the voice of young people into policymaking.


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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