Multi GRAMMY Award Winner Vince Gill took the stage with the CEOs of Frontier Communications, DISH Network Corp. and CoBank this week at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. to announce he’s joining the America’s Best Communities partnership to revitalize small towns and cities across America.

America’s Best Communities $10 million prize competition will reward communities with the best business plans for economic development and improved quality of life. The winners will also share best practices and great ideas for innovative growth among all the communities that participate in the competition.

In an event celebrating the strength and vitality of rural America – on a stage where he has often celebrated rural America in song – Vince Gill spoke from his heart to a crowd holding aloft rally signs naming their communities, while behind him flashed photos of small cities and towns that are eagerly participating in the competition.

“There’s a lot of small town community in me. I have a small town mentality,” Vince Gill told the crowd, for whom the day marked a ceremonial kickoff for their efforts. “This is where I live and I want to make it better, I want to be part of a team focused on supporting the backbone of America.”

America’s Best Communities has already drawn more than 200 registrations across the 27 states served by Frontier Communications. Fifty quarter-finalists will be selected in April, 2015 and awarded development funds for their revitalization proposals. At the end of the competition in 2017, the top three applicants will share $6 million in prize money – $3 million to the winner, $2 million for second place and $1 million for third place – money to be used to continue to implement their improvement plans.

Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO of Frontier Communications, said, “As the largest broadband communications company focused on rural America, we want to be a catalyst for growth in our towns and cities. We believe that investments in these locations will have a multiplier effect as communities embrace opportunities for revitalization. Whether it is upgrading existing businesses in the area or new startups, a focus on local businesses will be key to sustained growth. We also will look for innovative ideas on how each community will come together to socialize and interact as a measurement of success.”

Conceived by Frontier Communications and co-sponsored with DISH Network and CoBank, America’s Best Communities Prize is a competition that will fund economic development opportunities for the winners and share best practices and great ideas for progress among all the communities that enter.

“Our nation depends on a strong rural America,” said CoBank CEO Robert B. Engel. “Rural communities need continuous investment and support in order to ensure they remain healthy and can continue to play a vital role in the broader economy. That’s why we are so excited to support the ABC campaign. We look forward to seeing the proposals generated by the ABC competition, and the tangible benefits it will deliver to all communities who decide to participate.”

DISH is a proud co-sponsor of America’s Best Communities because the initiative supports entrepreneurism, innovation and creativity – ideals reflective of our roots,” said DISH Network President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton. “Our expectation is that America’s Best Communities will help provide the right motivation, resources and rewards to support those working to make their communities the best they can be.”

All entrants will win access to each other’s ideas and plans to use in their own future economic development efforts. The deadline for entry is March 25, 2015.

Source: PR Newswire

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