Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Solano Community Wins 100 Best Title - Again

Solano Community Wins 100 Best Title - Again
Solano County Named One of the Nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People By America’s Promise Alliance and ING

The efforts of Solano County civic and community leaders were honored today when America’s Promise Alliance announced the county had been named a winner of the Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People.

Its 2010 recognition marks the fourth win for Solano County in the competition, and earns the county the distinction of being the only community in California to be a four-time winner.

“Every time America’s Promise has been given a glimpse of Solano County, they have been impressed with what they see,” said Supervisor John Vasquez. “We are blessed with so many people and organizations dedicated to helping our kids get a healthy start, learn and succeed in school, and become productive members of our workforce and community.”

The 100 Best designation recognizes those communities that make youth a priority by implementing programs that help keep children in school and prepare them for college and the 21st century workforce. The competition is open to all communities that make children and youth a priority, including small towns, large cities, counties and school districts. In addition to enhancing local educational opportunities, most winning communities have taken steps to facilitate improved access to health care for its young people, encourage youth civic engagement and supply developmental resources that create better places for young people to live and grow.

The entire 2010 list of 100 Best Communities for Young People and their accomplishments can be found at

“Through its innovative and far-reaching programs, Solano County is taking bold and effective steps to help their young people graduate and lead healthy, productive lives,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO. “Solano County serves as an example to inspire and educate other communities across the nation to tackle the challenges facing their city and children, and to implement initiatives that give them the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”

Solano County was named one of the nation’s 100 Best because of the county’s deep commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable youth. Despite economic and social challenges, Solano County continues to sustain effective community collaboratives and a range of innovative programs to address the community’s needs.

For example, the 100 Best reviewers noted that the Solano Kids Insurance Program, which aims to provide health insurance for every child, has a current success rate of more than 90 percent, and that Solano County also provides 3,000 “Kits for New Parents” each year with DVDs and books on childhood development.

The 100 Best panel also recognized the county for its pre-Kindergarten academies for children lacking preschool, its renovation of a children’s visiting area at the local state prison, its establishment of the Matt Garcia Youth Center, its programs to increase the number of healthy babies born to high-risk mothers and its Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs, whose 530 cadets performed over 7,400 hours of community service, to name just a few of the proactive activities addressing the many challenges preventing children and young adults from reaching their full potential.

“The 100 Best designation tells the rest of the country that every community in Solano County is committed to helping our children have the best chance in life we can provide,” said Solano County Library Foundation Executive Director Dilenna Harris. The Library Foundation acted as the lead partner in compiling information for the 2010 Solano County “100 Best Communities” application.

On September 21, 2010, Solano County and the other winners spanning 37 states were recognized at a ceremony in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Each of the winning communities was formally recognized with a designation on a map of the U.S., illustrating the geographic and demographic diversity of the winning 100 communities. In addition to the 100 Best distinction, Solano County and the other top communities will receive two road signs identifying the city as one of 100 Best, as well as a trophy to be presented to local officials later this year.

Alliance Chair Alma Powell and President and CEO Marguerite W. Kondracke revealed the list of winners during the national celebration. They were joined by Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president, ING’s Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs and Twilight’s Kellan Lutz, who both share a passion for the development of young people.

“ING is committed to children’s education and to the advancement of education initiatives that prepare them for successful futures,” said Mims. ”Our support for 100 Best demonstrates our goal of honoring communities like Solano County that produce real, measurable results for improving the lives of young people.”

The commitment of ING and other corporate sponsors to helping fulfill the “5 Promises” for young people (caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and opportunities to help others) is reflected locally in the active support for youth program provided by businesses large and small across Solano County.

“We know that supporting quality preschool and youth programs that help our kids stay in school, earn their high school diplomas and prepare them for college and the workforce is the best thing we can do to ensure Solano County’s economic success,” said Michael Ammann, Solano EDC president. He cited the hundreds of volunteer services hours that local business employees provide for youth programs, and noted that the Solano EDC monthly breakfast meeting featuring early childhood issues this year was attended by over 150 business people.

The 100 Best competition is one element of the Alliance’s Grad Nation campaign, a 10-year initiative to mobilize all Americans to take action in their communities to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. More than 7,000 students drop out each school day in the U.S., resulting in 1.3 million young people a year. To help decrease these numbers, the Alliance is more committed than ever to recognizing communities – regardless of size, location or history – that are taking real action to help more young people stay in school and graduate on time.

“100 Best is an essential building block of an inspiring national movement that gives everyone a chance to ensure every young person graduates,” said Powell. “These winning communities refuse to let the challenges they face be the determining factor in the lives of their children and youth. Instead, they are helping to build an infrastructure of assertive, successful and dynamic young people that are the future of this country.”

100 Best Communities Map for 2010

100 Best Communities Fast Facts for 2010

Solano County' Nomination Package for 2010

About 100 Best
First held in 2005, 100 Best honors communities large and small, rural and urban, that are making progress to help young people achieve their potential, which includes earning a high school diploma, securing a good job, and playing an active, productive role in America’s economic vitality. This year, more than 350 communities in 50 states registered online for the 100 Best distinction at

Being a 100 Best community not only demonstrates commitment to local young people; the award fosters local pride, bolsters economic development and shines the spotlight on the people and programs that are building better communities. The competition also facilitates the sharing of best practices among communities nationwide regarding education, access to health care, reading score improvement, youth service and pre-school enrollment, among many other areas.

About America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Through the collective power of our partner network, we raise awareness, support communities and engage in nonpartisan advocacy to ensure that young people receive more of the fundamental resources they need to graduate high school prepared for college, work and life. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises—caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. For more information about America’s Promise Alliance, visit

About ING
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 115,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.

In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves nearly 30 million customers across the nation.

ING’s diversity management philosophy and commitment to workplace diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees who support a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer. For more information, visit

About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity, and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit

Posted: Sept. 21, 2010