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Sanko Named to National Advisory Team for Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award Program

Monday May 18th, 2020

David Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS), has been appointed to serve on a five-member national advisory team for the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award program.

Sanko was selected to serve on the award program advisory team because of his long-standing support for strong grassroots local government. He is also past president and current member of the board of directors of the National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT).

NATaT joins a representative from the National Association of Counties, the National Volunteer Fire Council, Points of Life (the nation’s largest volunteer service organization, which was founded by President George H.W. Bush), and the National Main Street Center on the board.

“In some places, democracy and self-government are being taken for granted,” Sanko says. “Apathy is on the rise. Some municipalities struggle to fill local government vacancies, whether it’s finding candidates for civic service on boards and commissions or recruiting volunteer firefighters to help ensure citizens’ safety. I am honored to join this advisory team and promote efforts to address a critical challenge facing the nation’s countryside communities.”

The award program is intended to spotlight a growing crisis facing thousands of smaller townships, cities, and rural counties: the decline in the availability of citizens to serve in critical public safety and community service roles, including volunteer firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and local government boards and commissions. The awards will recognize 100 hometown “heroes” from countryside communities nationwide for their extraordinary public service. Eligible municipalities include those of 5,000 people or less.

The civic volunteer award program is being underwritten by CivicPlus, the largest local government technology company in the country. Local governments represented by the top three winning honorees will receive cash grants of $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000, respectively. Municipalities and counties represented by these top 100 nominees will receive custom CivicPlus websites (and one year of website hosting at no charge) featuring a unique module offering civic volunteer retention and recruitment resources. The program has an estimated total value of more than $1 million in donated services and grants.

The Barton Russell Group (BRG) has been chosen to design and manage the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award program. BRG has built and/or consulted on several national award and grant programs, including the Best Small Towns in America contest, the American Hometown Leaders Award, and the America’s Best Communities competition.

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.

 

Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award program

The events of the past few months have revealed communities’ dependence on civic volunteers, especially firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. Townships also rely on residents to serve on their volunteer boards, commissions, and committees. If your township has a population under 5,000, you can nominate outstanding civic volunteers through a new national program: the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Awards (STACVA).

This new program honors extraordinary public service volunteers in small municipalities (population under 5,000) nationwide and helps shine a spotlight on a growing national problem: a decline in the availability of citizens to fill important public safety and service roles.

Civic volunteers are hometown heroes who serve in critical positions, including firefighting, emergency medical services, municipal and county councils and boards, and on advisory committees supporting library, recreation, planning, environmental, and other important local government services.

Public service volunteerism is the lifeblood of small communities and rural counties. Research has shown, however, that the percentage of people volunteering in small communities has dropped substantially for 12 consecutive years. The primary purposes of the awards are to focus national attention on this issue, highlight best practices to encourage a new group of citizens to fill these vital roles, and support innovative local volunteer retention and recruitment strategies.

The awards program, designed and managed by the Barton Russell Group, is underwritten by CivicPlus, the country’s largest local government technology company. Localities represented by the top three winning honorees will receive cash awards of $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000, respectively.

Municipalities and counties represented by the top 100 nominees will receive custom CivicPlus websites (and one year of website hosting at no charge) featuring a unique module offering civic volunteer retention and recruitment resources. The awards program has an estimated total value of more than $1 million in donated services and grants.

To nominate a volunteer in your community, fill out the online application on the STACVA website at civic-volunteer.com. The deadline for nominations is August 15.