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Louisville named nation’s most livable large city

Mayor Greg Fischer speaks in April about Louisville’s first Give A Day week of service earlier this year. The initiative was cited as one of the reason’s Louisville was named the nation’s most livable large city by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 15, 2012) — Mayor Greg Fischer today accepted an award naming Louisville the nation’s most livable large city. The award, from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, cites the communitywide impact of Louisville’s first Give A Day week of service earlier this year. Louisville won in the large-city category, besting competition including San Diego, Boston, Orlando, Hartford and St Louis.

During the Give A Day week in April, people of all ages engaged in volunteer actions ranging from reading to homeless children and writing letters to troops to giving food and shoes – in all there were more than 90,000 volunteers and acts of caring.

“This award is a resounding endorsement of both the quality of life in Louisville and the quality of people who live in our city,” Fischer said.

The Livability Awards recognize work in improving the overall quality of life in a city. This is the 33rd year for the award sponsored by the USCM and Waste Management, Inc. This year’s winners were selected by former mayors from a pool of more than 200 applicants. West Palm Beach, Florida won the small city competition.

Louisville previously won the most livable city award in 2008 for the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement, which includes the Hike, Bike & Paddle events and other programs.

Earlier this year, Fischer accepted the first Childhood Obesity Prevention Award from the USCM which praised the creation of fresh-produce markets and other efforts to bring healthier foods and exercise to urban neighborhoods.

The community response to Give A Day week included more than 48,000 JCPS students and teachers, along with 9,000 Brightside volunteers — a record for that organization — who cleaned neighborhoods, parks and schools during the week. Metro United Way was a critical partner in the success of Give A Day, helping match volunteers with projects through its Volunteer Connection program.

“We’re proud to serve as the leader in volunteer engagement for Give a Day week, “said Joe Tolan, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “Recruiting people and organizations from all across the community who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done is at the heart of what Metro United Way is about. It takes all of us working together to create change, and this is what it means to Live United.”

Fischer said he’s already hearing from citizens and organizations who are excited about next year’s Give A Day. It will again be held the week leading up to Thunder Over Louisville – April 13-21 – helping launch the 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival.

“The success of the inaugural Give A Day program was very rewarding and we’re honored to have this service initiative back on the Kentucky Derby Festival’s official schedule of events in 2013,” said Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival.