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WASHINGTON D.C. – Ninety-nine creative, forward thinking and results-driven government programs at the state, local, tribal and federal levels were named semifinalists today for the prestigious 2002 Innovations in American Government Awards. The awards competition – often referred to as the Oscars of government prizes – is a program of the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The award recognizes outstanding programs that devise imaginative and effective ways to meet urgent social and economic challenges. Each semifinalist is eligible for one of five top grants of $100,000.
The semifinalists were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 applicants and represent the best and brightest in government from across the country. All dedicated to making government work better, the groundbreaking semifinalist programs include 17 federal programs; 5 tribal governments; 11 programs from California; 9 programs from New York; 6 from Illinois; 5 from both Arizona and Texas; and 4 from Wisconsin. Public-sector innovations from 31 separate states and 26 cities have been recognized. Innovators in education, e-government, environmental quality, management and human services are among the programs cited for excellence.
Four criteria are used to evaluate each application: novelty; effectiveness in addressing important problems; significance; and the potential for replication by other government entities.
Fifteen finalists will be selected from the semifinalists in early winter 2002. The National Selection Committee on Innovations in American Government, chaired by David R. Gergen, editor-at-large, U.S. News & World Report and Director of the Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership, will choose five winning programs after a full day of presentations in May 2003 in Washington, D.C. Each will receive a $100,000 grant to promote and replicate their innovative efforts.
The Innovations in American Government awards, now in its sixteenth year, promotes excellence, innovation and creativity in the public sector. A program of the Institute for Government Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the awards program is administered in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The Institute is funded through an endowment from the Ford Foundation.
The list of semifinalists, including a description of each program and contact information, is available on the web at www.excelgov.org.