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GCAA Changes: Here to Help!

The 2020 Governor's Community Achievement Awards (GCAA) is now open for applications! For more than thirty years, Keep Texas Beautiful, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), has awarded the prestigious Governor's Community Achievement Awards to Texas communities for their outstanding overall efforts to keep their communities beautiful. This year, ten winning communities will share $2 million in landscaping awards from the Texas Department of Transportation, with the amount based on population size. The funds are used for landscaping projects along local rights-of-way. As Texas continues to grow and evolve, the GCAA award should reflect that. KTB and TxDOT are excited to announce some new changes that have been made to the application in order to address a growing state.

After much deliberation, new questions have been added to the GCAA application. These new questions seek to address new accomplishments and adaptations to our changing population. We are also hoping these questions help communities share more stories and triumphs they have seen over the past year. Facts and figures are still a highly important piece of the application, but these questions now leave more of an opportunity for storytelling. Some questions were also given an increased word count in order to leave more room for those important stories.

Each year KTB has helped to administer the GCAA application we receive many questions from applicants needing more clarity about application questions. Thanks to all of that applicant feedback, we have adjusted some questions to be more clear and better understandable. For example, the question "Describe any training that is provided to the instructors/managers of your community improvement programs." Has been adjusted to "How are your community leaders, including those in charge of community improvement programs, staying up to date with best practices and changing information related to litter prevention, beautification, and/or waste reduction?". This now helps the applicant know exactly who the question is referring to and what types of trainings to be mentioning.

Photo Submission from 2019 Category 10 Winner, Little Elm

 The last slight alteration was also born out of providing more clarity around the application process. For many years, after a community won first place they were not allowed to win again for the following three years. This has caused a lot of confusion over the years where communities thought they were eligible to win but still had another to a year to wait or vice versa. Beginning this year, winners will not be qualified to place in GCAA again for the following four years. Which means they will be eligible again on the fifth year following their win. For example, first place GCAA winners will not be allowed to place again until 2025. We think this will help clear up a lot of confusion and provide more chances for other communities to achieve first place.

Do not forget, the application is due on Thursday, February 20 by 5 p.m. CST. KTB has provided a robust toolkit with the application questions, recorded webinars, and more to assist you in the application process. Don't miss our Applying for GCAA Webinar Part II on Wednesday, January 15. Register here. For more helpful tools check out ktb.org/gcaa as you begin writing your application!

​Blog Post Written By Sara Walters, Program Manager of KTB. 


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