Louisville receives 2022 All-America City Award for early school success, equitable learning work at Beecher Terrace
Mayor Greg Fischer today joined community leaders and Beecher Terrace residents to celebrate the city’s latest recognition, a 2022 All-America City Award.
The award from the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading acknowledges the work of Louisville Metro Housing Authority, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville Metro Government and national community development nonprofit Urban Strategies, Inc. (USI) to achieve early school success and equitable learning for Beecher Terrace and Russell neighborhoods residents through cross-sector collaboration and in concert with the redevelopment of the public housing complex.
“This work is ensuring that kids don’t start school already behind, that they are positioned to thrive and grow, and to fulfill their human potential. This is how we create a city of lifelong learners,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Thank you to the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for this recognition and congratulations to Louisville Metro Housing Authority, Jefferson County Public Schools, USI, and the Beecher Terrace and Russell families who’ve done the critical work that warranted this great recognition!”
In March, 20 communities were designated finalists for the award based on robust applications around the year’s theme. After months of preparation, the All-America City finalists each provided a virtual community presentation to a jury panel from July 19-21, which then selected the 10 winners.
"We are happy to designate Louisville as an All-America City. They showed, even in the face a global pandemic, that they can bring people together to help kids and families thrive,” said Doug Linkhart, President of the National Civic League.
In 2015, Louisville Metro Housing Authority received a Choice Neighborhoods planning grant for the Beecher Terrace public housing development and the Russell neighborhood. As part of this grant, the People Plan strives to create equitable opportunities where all Russell neighborhood and Beecher Terrace children and families are stable and thriving; where all voices are acknowledged and promoted; and all systems are positively aligned and equally contributing.
"Louisville is meeting families ‘where they are’ through a 24/7/365/multi-generational set of systems, supports and services. In doing so, the community is working to disrupt generational poverty for young learners and their families,” said Ralph Smith, said Managing Director for Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
HUD awarded Louisville Metro Housing Authority with two additional Choice Neighborhoods grants in 2016 for the continued revitalization of the Russell neighborhood and redevelopment of the Beecher Terrace housing complex. Three out of four phases of the redevelopment are complete. When finished, the estimated $178 million revitalized community will feature 640 mixed-income rental units in one, two, and three-bedroom configurations.
"The potential for Louisville's selection as an All-America City truly began once LMHA received the Choice Neighborhoods planning grant," LMHA Chairperson Gena Harris said. "LMHA and its partners including Russell neighborhood residents, Urban Strategies Inc., JCPS and Louisville Metro Government launched the Vision Russell plan, which aims to improve educational outcomes and community connectivity for Russell residents. We celebrate this recognition and value our partnerships with the organizations involved in this dynamic effort."
Multiple All-America City areas of focus align with Louisville’s work, including digital equity, relational supports, transforming non-school places, and parents succeeding in their own journey toward sustainable self-sufficiency.
“It is truly an honor for Louisville to be named as an All-America City. For me, the real reward is collaborating with our partners, especially those at Louisville Metro Government, LMHA, and JCPS, to better the lives of Russell neighborhood and Beecher Terrace residents, young and old,” said Beth Dunn, education specialist at USI. “Thanks to our wonderful partners, Urban Strategies has made great strides in improving digital equity and providing access to free educational programming for our youth.”