Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government

IAG Award graphic

In commemoration of its tenth anniversary, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation is hosting nationally recognized scholars, policymakers, journalists, and artists in a public dialogue series on Challenges to Democracy. The goal of the two-year series is not simply to name the greatest threats facing democracy in the United States today, but to put forward and give due attention to the promising solutions we need. A key feature of the Challenges to Democracy series is a special Innovations Award designed specifically to recognize government-led innovations that demonstrate enhanced public engagement and participation in the governance of towns, cities, states, and the nation.

We are seeking citizen engagement and participation programs, policies, and initiatives that address one or more of the following goals:

      • Encourage public participation in community spending decisions
      • Expand public participation in the development of policies and regulations
      • Leverage digital technologies or other government resources to broaden or deepen public engagement
      • Utilize crowd-sourcing and collaboration to drive problem solving
      • Encourage the public in taking action to solve problems
      • Involve the public and citizens in governance in other creative ways

All units of government – federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial – within the United States and their partners are eligible to apply.


Applicants will be judged on the standard Innovations in American Government Awards criteria of novelty, effectiveness, significance, and transferability, as well as the impact of the innovation on public engagement and participation. This impact could be demonstrated, for example, by:

      • Number of people reached
      • Diversity of people from all parts of a community
      • Impact of public input on public policy
      • Impact of public engagement on solving public problems
      • Impact of public participation on quality of governance

The winner of the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government will receive a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities.To apply for the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, please create an account and complete an application through the Innovations in American Government Awards application online tool. Applications that meet the selection criteria and eligibility will be reviewed by program staff for consideration in this special award competition.

Please note that the deadline for the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government has passed. The Ash Center looks forward to announcing the award winners in 2015.