Community Innovations Prize

Prof. Bill Berkowitz of the UMass Lowell master’s program in Community Social Psychology is affiliated with the online Community Tool Box based at the University of Kansas. He sent this message to colleagues on campus and in the city:

And now that some of the dust from the Innovative Cities conference has died down, wanted to pass along a small piece of news. The Community Tool Box, where I have been a team member for the past number of years, is sponsoring a Community Innovations Prize Contest; some details are below. Since Lowell is home to a number of community innovations, I hope that some of you will consider applying, and if possible pass along this announcement to your own colleagues and networks as you see fit. Beyond that, I believe that Lowell is poised to be an ongoing source — and potentially a wellspring — of continuous high-impact local community innovations. The potential benefits to the city would be great; and the momentum is already there. What’s needed, as I see it, is a thought-out structure for encouraging, gathering, and processing innovative ideas; some outreach to the community; and some incentives for encouraging idea generation. All of this is both possible and feasible with some thoughtful planning. I would be glad to contribute to such an effort if others were interested, a first step perhaps being to bring together some interested people to talk. With best wishes, ~~ Bill        


The Community Tool Box is very pleased to announce an inaugural global prize contest for community innovations. The 2010 “Out of the Box” prize will recognize and honor the most promising initiatives that strengthen community development and community health. The Grand Prize will be $5,000 in cash, plus a free customized Workstation  designed specifically for your group  (Our WorkStations are interactive web sites with value over $2,000.)  A second prize will be $2,000 in cash, with a free WorkStation. Your group’s innovation may involve activities to improve community health, education, urban or rural development, poverty, the environment, social justice, or other related issues of importance to communities. We invite you to enter the innovations contest, and encourage you to share contest information with others doing innovative work to improve life in their communities.

To learn more and to download an application form, please visit our site at The opening date for applications is August 1, with a closing date of October 31. An international panel of judges will select Finalists. Award Finalists and their innovative projects will be posted on the home page of the Community Tool Box. Public voting will then help determine the two top “Out of the Box” prize winners; voting will close on January 31, 2011. 

Many of you are already familiar with the Community Tool Box, which has been creating and disseminating practical guidance about community health and development online since 1995. For those of you who have not viewed our site recently, we invite you to visit us at, where you will find over 300 how-to-do-it instructional modules, with over 7000 pages of text.

We hope you may forward this contest announcement to others in your own community networks; thank you. And we look forward to the possibility of receiving your own application beginning on August 1.

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