A Celebration of Excellence in Public Participation:
The IAP2 USA Core Values Awards

What are the IAP2 Core Values Awards?

Each year, IAP2 affiliates around the world recognize leaders in the profession through the IAP2 Core Values Awards. The awards go to projects which best demonstrate IAP2's Core Values and help to raise the bar in the field of public engagement by sharing best practices and inspiring the P2 community to learn from one another. 

Competition for the 2019 IAP2 USA Core Values Awards was some of the keenest to date, making for a challenge for the judges. The winners were announced at the 2019 IAP2 North American Conference, Sept. 4 - 6, in Charlotte, NC.

Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision making process.

Congratulations 2019 Core Values Award Winners!

The 2019 IAP2 USA Core Values Awards were presented September 5th, 2019 at the Core Values Awards Gala at the NASCAR Hall of fame in Charlotte, NC.

2019 IAP2 USA Core Values Award Winners

Organization of the Year
"Boulder: Creating a Meaningful & Inclusive P2 Culture"
City of Boulder, Colorado

Brenda Ritenour, Sarah Huntley, Ryan Hanschen, Cyndi Pasma, Lydia Reinig, Laurel Olson-Horan, Jesus Salazar

The City of Boulder, Colorado, for “Creating a Meaningful and Inclusive P2 Culture”. City council members and staff had long been aware that an engaged public leads to better decision-making, but in 2016, they started to hear from the people of Boulder that it wasn't enough. So the city launched an 18-month consultation process with residents to see where it could be improved.

What the judges said:

  • “Very impressed with what [the city] has done … the commitment to the ‘four pillars’”
  • “Well on its way to being a good example to other local governments. It has the WOW factor with the potential to impact other local governments.”

Read Submission


Research Project of the Year
"Measuring Public Involvement Effectiveness: An Easy to Use Toolkit"
PRR, Inc.

Dr Bruce Brown

PRR Inc.for “Measuring Public Involvement Effectiveness: an Easy-to-Use Toolkit”. Engagement processes can be complex or simple, use the latest tools and techniques or tried-and-true methods; but how well do they work?

PRR set out to find ways of quantifying “effectiveness” in public engagement from the point of view of both the public and the public involvement agency. After reviewing over a thousand documents, PRR identified indicators for success, developed means for measuring those indicators, and tested their work on three major transportation projects. In the course of the project, areas of improvement in public engagement strategy were identified in each of those three transportation projects. The result is a survey that can be made available online or in hard-copy form for the public and as an online survey for the public involvement agency. The toolkit also includes an Excel scoring tool and guidelines for administering and scoring the survey.

Read Submission


Respect for Diversity, Inclusion, & Culture Award
"27 Bryant Transit Reliability Project"
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)


San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, for “27 Bryant Transit Reliability Project”. The #27 Bryant line runs through some very diverse neighborhoods that are heavily transit-dependent. Due to traffic congestion and other factors, trips average 4.5 – 5 miles per hour. Because changes to service affect many different people in many different ways, it was necessary to engage the public in the conversation.

With a high proportion of residents having limited English-language skills, SFMTA had to employ a variety of tools and techniques to ensure people could participate. Those techniques included a walk/ride audit, community meetings, a website and canvassing, with a multi-lingual outreach.

What the judges said:

  • “The process hit all target audiences, including the poor, disabled and immigrants”
  • “There was input from the public throughout with lots of check-back from start to finish. They re-confirmed what they had heard before finalizing the plans.”

Read Submission

Project of the Year Award & General Project Category

“PedPDX: Portland’s Citywide Pedestrian Plan”
PBOT: City of Portland Bureau of Transportation

Left to right: Francesca Patricolo (PBOT), Gwen Howard, Tina Geiselbrecht, IAP2 USA

Portland (Oregon) Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) for “PedPDX”. Facilities for pedestrians and people with mobility devices vary drastically from one neighborhood to another in Portland, so PBOT launched this process to engage people to come up with solutions. The process included one-on-one interviews, open houses, online engagement and a series of videos, “Pedestrian Stories”. The information gathered will help PBOT prioritize its resource allocation.

What the judges said:

  • “Appreciate that you used an approach aimed to elevate the public discourse about the range and diversity of needs that Portlanders have when it comes to walking. Exceptional array of methods for engagement.”
  • “Good modifications as you learned more needs, e.g. People with disabilities, African American communities.”

Read Submission

Runner Up - General Project Category
“ELEVATE: 'A Public School-District Engagement Process to develop a community-driven strategic plan'”
Adams 12 Five Star School District

Left to Right: Barbara Lewis (Rocky Mtn Center for Positive Change), Gwen Happ Howard, Mark Poshak (Adams 12 Five Star SD), Tina Geiselbrecht

Adams 12 Five Star School District, for “ELEVATE: “A Public School-District Engagement Process to develop a community-driven strategic plan”. This school district, based in Thornton, Colorado, wanted to build on the previous plan’s success. Being a very diverse district and needing to go to a voters’ measure to obtain the necessary funding, the district decided to make the public part of the conversation. An Appreciative Inquiry model was used, so they could hear collective hopes and dreams and identify priorities.

After hearing from 7,000 staff, students, parents and community members, the board approved the strategic plan and the necessary voting measure passed.

Read Submission

Honorable Mention - General Project Category
"The Geary Rapid Project: Finding Common Ground on San Francisco’s Busiest Transit Corridor"
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for “The Geary Rapid Project: Finding Common Ground on San Francisco’s Busiest Transit Corridor”. The three-mile stretch of Geary Street/Boulevard is one of the busier transit corridors in the USA, and for pedestrians, one of the most dangerous. This project, which builds on initial work by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, sought to ease overcrowding on buses and traffic accidents along the route. The route passes through several neighborhoods, and a one-size-fits-all approach was not appropriate.

Read Submission

Respect for Diversity, Inclusion, & Culture - Runner Up
"Dr Everett Givens District Park Master Plan"
Austin, TX Parks & Recreation Dep’t

Left to Right: Gregory Montes, Gwen Happ Howard, Tina Geiselbrecht, and Justin Schneider from Austin Parks and Recreation

The area of Austin that is home to this park is traditionally predominantly African American, but in recent years, gentrification has pushed many residents out. Nonetheless, the park has remained a focal point for the African American community, and when the time came to upgrade the park and create a new Master Plan, input was sought from well outside the usual two-mile radius.

Community leaders joined with parks department staff to visit the park on weekends and talk with the people who use it, finding out what they want. There were many other engagement efforts, as well, and the result is a revitalized park that fits in with the hopes and dreams of the public that uses it.

Read Submission

2019 IAP2 USA Core Values Award Judges

Cheryl Hilvert

Lewis Michaelson

Marty Rozelle

Doug Sarno

Cheryl Hilvert is a management and leadership consultant providing education and technical assistance for local governments on key management strategies designed to enhance organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Read more.

Lewis Michaelson is a past-president, life member, and licensed trainer for IAP2 and a member of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution Roster of Neutrals. Read more.

Dr. Marty Rozelle has 35 years of experience in public policy development, third-party facilitation, process design, and conflict resolution. Read more.

Doug Sarno is a Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3) and Licensed IAP2 trainer with over 30 years of experience in a wide range of disciplines that support participatory decision-making. Read more.

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