Newsroom & Financials

CoBank Joins Frontier Communications and DISH As A Major Sponsor of "America's Best Communities" Campaign

Posted 10/30/2014

CoBank announced today that it has joined with Frontier Communications and DISH as a major sponsor of  “America's Best Communities,” a three-year, $10 million prize competition designed to stimulate growth and revitalization in small cities and towns throughout rural America.

Conceived by Frontier, one of CoBank’s largest rural communications customers, the America’s Best Communities (ABC) contest incents participants to put together long-term economic development proposals that promise to grow and sustain their local economies. The contest will provide $4 million in seed money and other support to assist participating communities as they draw up revitalization plans. Ultimately, three contestant communities will receive a total of $6 million in prize money to implement winning proposals when the contest concludes in 2017.

“We’re extremely pleased to be joining with Frontier and DISH as a sponsor of this highly innovative campaign,” said Robert B. Engel, CoBank’s chief executive officer. “Rural community development is the central focus of CoBank’s corporate social responsibility program, and closely aligned with our broader mission to serve rural America. We look forward to seeing proposals generated by the ABC contest, and the tangible benefits it will deliver to all communities who decide to participate.”

“We’re delighted to welcome CoBank as a partner in this important initiative to help revitalize small towns and cities in rural America,” said Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO of Frontier Communications.  “We want this contest to challenge and incent local leaders to come up with new ideas that will transform their cities and towns through economic development and lifestyle improvements. The people of rural America are its greatest asset, and we hope this competition brings communities together, sparks innovation and creates long-lasting, positive impact.”

The multi-stage ABC contest is open to municipalities with populations of between 9,500 and 80,000 people across Frontier’s 27-state service territory. Those with populations under 9,500 are encouraged to join forces and collaborate with adjacent communities to become eligible.

To qualify, communities must submit economic development proposals in early 2015. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, the pool of contestant communities will gradually be narrowed in stages, and successful contestants will receive stipends to further develop and refine their plans. Ultimately, three communities will be selected as winners of the campaign and receive cash prizes of $3 million (first place), $2 million (second place) and $1 million (third place), which will be used to implement their ideas.

“We applaud Frontier Communications and DISH for making such a significant investment in the health of rural America, and we’re so proud to be joining them in this effort,” Engel said. “Portions of the U.S. rural economy, particularly agriculture and energy, have been sources of real strength in the broader economy in recent years. But rural communities also face significant challenges, and this program affords us an opportunity to address those and promote rural economic development in a meaningful way.”

More detailed information regarding the America’s Best Communities contest can be found at www.americasbestcommunities.com.

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