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Six Organizations Receive National Award for Creative, Bold Solutions to Pressing Social Issues

Six Organizations Receive National Award for Creative, Bold Solutions to Pressing Social Issues

Honorees recognized for addressing educational disparity, unemployment and need for affordable housing

Des Moines, Iowa (Jan. 26, 2016) — As Iowa voters gear up to decide whose vision for America they support, six organizations are being honored with the Allstate/Atlantic Media Renewal Awards for innovative local approaches to pressing issues affecting communities across the country. The awards will be presented today at a summit on social innovation at Drake University.

The six winners, who were identified after a year-long national search and through the Atlantic Media editorial series, represent some of America’s best social innovators. Their efforts confirm a recent National Journal/Allstate Heartland Monitor Poll that found 69 percent of Americans believe that solutions to the country’s biggest economic and social challenges will most likely come from state or local institutions.

Winners, who were profiled by Atlantic Media, were selected from 150 publicly nominated organizations. Judging criteria included the ability to replicate the program in other communities, and the current and future impact of the program. Winners will each receive a $10,000 grant from Allstate to further their work.

“The commitment and creativity demonstrated by these leaders truly embody the spirit of our Renewal Awards,” said Thomas Wilson, chairman and chief executive officer, Allstate Insurance Company. “We often talk about national problems, but these organizations represent local solutions at work. They are renewing America from the ground up and empowering individuals to live a good life. We are proud to support their efforts.”

Among the awards presented is the Allstate Youth Empowerment award to Girlstart. The Austin-based nonprofit focuses on engaging middle school girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) studies. Girlstart provides year-round STEM education for girls in kindergarten through 12th grade. Participants enjoy hands-on activities such as computer coding, 3D printing, dissecting starfish, and designing robots to help clean the ocean. The Youth Empowerment award represents Allstate’s ongoing commitment to empowering future generations with the strength, confidence and skills to step up as leaders and realize their potential.

The additional five honorees were selected by a judges panel and by a public vote. They include:

B Lab (Wayne, Pa.) – Since 2007, B Lab has certified more than 1,500 companies around the world as B Corps, meaning they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. These companies conduct business in ways that benefit society and shareholders by creating a positive impact on employees, communities and the environment. 

Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) (Burlington, Vt.) – For more than 30 years, Champlain Housing Trust has provided low- to middle-income families with opportunities to achieve the American dream of homeownership. Nearly 1,000 families have participated in CHT’s shared-equity program, which provides down payment assistance and helps individuals secure mortgages and build wealth, while preserving home affordability.

Global Detroit – Detroit is making a comeback, in part due to organizations like Global Detroit that have focused on revitalizing the region’s economy. Most notably, Global Detroit   developed “ProsperUS Detroit,” an entrepreneurship program that is supporting minority and immigrant business owners through microloans, business training and technical assistance.

P-TECH (New York City) – Classroom learning and workplace experience come together at P-TECH, a public-private partnership co-developed by IBM that provides underserved students with an education to meet the challenges of the 21st century workforce. The P-TECH model combines high school, community college and work experience. Within six years, students earn a high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM discipline. P-TECH also provides students mentoring, paid internships and employment opportunities from its partner companies, including IBM. By this fall, there will be at least 60 schools modeled after P-TECH.

The WorkPlace (Bridgeport, Conn.) – Through an intensive five-week program, Platform to Employment (P2E), a project of The WorkPlace, provides the long-term unemployed with job readiness training and assistance in finding employment. As part of its program, P2E offers to subsidize eight weeks of participants’ salaries to entice companies to give participants opportunities for permanent jobs. Nearly 90 percent of P2E participants have retained employment.

“Over the last year, our reporters have identified and profiled more than a hundred organizations that are emblematic of the kind of social innovation that is changing America. With the Renewal Awards, we are pleased to recognize six of these groups for the impact they are having in local communities. Atlantic Media has been lucky to partner with Allstate on these awards and on a larger program to highlight grassroots problem-solving,” said Bob Cohn, president and COO of The Atlantic.

To learn more about the 25 finalists, including the six winning organizations, go to  The Jan. 26 event in Des Moines is being live streamed at


About the Renewal Awards

Since 2009, Allstate has conducted quarterly polls to hear what Americans have to say about the important issues in their lives. Recognizing a clear preference for local ideas over national ones, Allstate and Atlantic Media launched the Renewal Awards last year to spotlight and celebrate social innovators who are making a measurable impact on their communities. The Renewal Awards are part of The Next Economy, a program from Atlantic Media’s National Journal and The Atlantic that explores creative ways Americans are using innovation to solve problems at the local level.

About The Next Economy

National Journal’s The Next Economy is based on a core idea: Even in the face of a political stalemate at the national level, our country has not lost its capacity for self-renewal. Founded in 2009, the program uses print, digital and live platforms to highlight how America is adapting to the changing economy, with a special focus on spotlighting local innovation driving progress in communities around the country. Combining editorial, events and the Heartland Monitor Poll, The Next Economy is available at

About Allstate Corporation

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” The Allstate brand’s network of small businesses offers auto, home, life and retirement products and services to customers in the United States and Canada. In 2014, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $34 million to support local communities. Allstate employees and agency owners donated 200,000 hours of service across the country.

Quotes from Renewal Award Winners


“B Lab and the community of B Corporations are honored to be recognized among this inspiring group of innovators,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder, B Lab. “We hope all people will join us in using business as a force for good and that together we can redefine success in business and solve today’s greatest challenges.”

Champlain Housing Trust

“We are very thankful that Atlantic Media and Allstate selected Champlain Housing Trust’s shared-equity homeownership program for recognition with a Renewal Award,” said Brenda Torpy, chief executive officer, Champlain Housing Trust. “Our program creates sustainable homeownership for low and moderate income families, leading to both security and opportunity for people who may have remained renters their whole lives. In this country, homeownership is still the primary way most folks build up assets. Our program has demonstrated success – often by breaking generational cycles of poverty – by giving people a shot at reaching the American Dream.”


“Girlstart is honored to be recognized through the Renewal Awards,” said Tamara Hudgins, executive director, Girlstart. “We have been working hard to expand our programs to reach more girls. And now, our organization’s ready to respond to the wishes of all sorts of communities that seek high-quality STEM education programs for girls. We are thrilled that the Renewal Awards gives Girlstart the opportunity to share with the nation: Girlstart is ready to grow. Thank you, National Journal and Allstate.”

Global Detroit

“The Renewal Award solidifies Global Detroit’s reputation as a national leader in an emerging field of immigrant economic development, as well as a national leader in developing innovative and creative solutions to revitalizing Detroit and Metro Detroit’s economy,“ said Steve Tobocman, executive director, Global Detroit.


“We are thrilled to be recognized among the nation’s best social innovators,” said Stanley S. Litow, vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, IBM, and president of the IBM International Foundation. “Education is key to America’s economic growth and competitiveness, and clearly, a high school diploma is no longer enough. We devised P-TECH to transform high school, address the nation’s skills crisis, and give young people options they could not imagine. The model is already fulfilling its promise by increasing college completion rates and seeing its graduates with high-paying jobs.”

 The WorkPlace

“It is a great honor to be a part of the Renewal Awards. I am thankful to Allstate and Atlantic Media for recognizing the efforts of Platform to Employment to address the fundamental challenges brought about by long-term unemployment,” said Joe Carbone, president and CEO, The WorkPlace. “The success of Platform to Employment is made possible by the thousands of participants and their families who have confronted substantial obstacles and succeeded.”