EVANSVILLE, Ind., September 29, 2015 – Leadership Evansville announced today that it has received the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns Community Achievement Award for the VOICE Initiative Program. The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns Annual Awards honor communities and individuals for outstanding achievement, successful innovation and steady leadership in municipal government. The VOICE Initiative was started in 2012 when Mayor Winnecke joined forces with Leadership Evansville to address the public’s need to be heard. “We launched this program so that the members of our community could join together and have civil dialogue about our future desires and current issues of our city. Since our first meeting in 2012, Evansville has seen tremendous growth through hundreds of volunteer servant leaders all inspired by their VOICE experience. Evansville is truly becoming a place where people from all over want to live, work and play.”

The VOICE Initiative

VOICE is a citizen-driven planning process that encouraged citizens to share their ideas, hopes and visions for Evansville’s preferred future through multiple facilitated meetings throughout the year. People of all ages, ethnic and religious backgrounds, and multiple neighborhoods were welcome to attend. Three themes form the core of VOICE’s mission to build strategic actions toward collaborated goals for Evansville: Healthy Green Spaces, City Core, and Experiences.

Many ideas that were born in VOICE sessions have come full circle and helped expand and diversify the community. A few of them include: Haynie’s Corner’s First Fridays (a series that involves both locally owned businesses and organizations in the arts community, showcasing restaurants, art, music, breweries and galleries) Franklin Street Bazaar (a Saturday morning farmer’s market on Franklin Street including locally grown produce, art, music, crafts and food) ParksFest (a free outdoor music festival at Garvin Park) and several distinct Cultural Districts designed to increase the cultural value and understanding of Evansville as recognized by its different residents.

LE’s Lynn Miller Pease was thrilled to receive the award with the City of Evansville:

“We are so excited that the hard work of VOICE community is being recognized by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. Since 2012, VOICE has inspired countless new projects and activities that enabled people to create the change they wanted to see in our community. It has transformed Evansville into a closer community, all bound by respect for diversity. We hope to have VOICE reach more and more people through each meeting so that we can keep growing and expanding our amazing city.”

About Leadership Evansville

Leadership Evansville was founded in 1976 by a group of future-thinking local leaders, whose original commitment to community-wide betterment remains unique and strong. Leadership Evansville brings together people with different talents, gifts and perspectives and transforms these individuals into leaders who embrace the concept of community trusteeship and the collaborative process. They help develop in them an understanding of how today’s leaders function and teaches them the skills to apply this knowledge in provided real life opportunities through practice and performance. These attitudes, skills and processes are taught to adults, youth, organizations, not-for-profits, businesses, educational institutions, neighborhood associations, churches and other leadership programs.