Champions Institute Application FAQ

Smart Growth America is now accepting applications for the Champions Institute, an opportunity for local leaders to gain expertise and skills needed to grow activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations in their communities.


We recently held an informational webinar about the Champions Institute outlining the program and how to apply.


Complete and submit an application online. Applications will be accepted until September 17 at 11:59pm ET.

All applicants will be notified of their selection status on October 7.

  • Eligible participants should represent jurisdictions within the United States. This includes jurisdictions within the boundaries of the 50 states, District of Columbia, and territories of the United States.
  • Applicants should be able to commit the time required to actively participate in the Institute. Champions must attend Institute events, and may not delegate attendance to staff or other persons.  
  • Applicants don’t need to be existing experts, but should have an interest in developing their capacity and expertise in establishing Complete Streets and activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations. 
Applicants should demonstrate a body of work and/or an interest in improving safety and access for road users who are on foot, bicycles, or other mobility devices. Evidence of these measures can include, but are not limited to, Complete Streets policies or other examples of the community’s work toward making streets and other public spaces safe for all users.

No, applications will only be shared among SGA staff actively involved in reviewing them.

Yes, but only one applicant from each jurisdiction will be selected for the Champions Institute.

We plan to admit 20 motivated and dynamic participants. This size class will be small enough that each individual can receive enough attention and large enough to represent a diverse cross section of American communities.

If you don’t see a confirmation email, check your spam folder. It’s possible the automatically-generated email will go there. Please confirm in your email that the sender is not marked as spam. If you are having further issues, please email me at, [email protected].

The Champions Institute will launch with the opening session on October 22nd.

No, participants in the Champions Institute are expected to attend all sessions themselves. Staff may assist participants, but may not replace them.

  • Participants can expect to be assigned materials to read and review, along with targeted observations to make about their communities, between modules. During modules, participants are expected to be actively engaged in listening and discussing the material.
  • Participants will develop a work plan for their community to implement activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations within their communities. Participant work plans will also include follow up reporting at 1, 3, and 6-month intervals.
Local constituents can share information on Complete Streets and the Champions Institute with their local elected officials and encourage them to participate. Constituents can communicate how more complete streets and activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations would improve their community and benefit people like themselves.

With the challenges we are facing currently, we understand that this year might be a difficult year to invest in your streets. We believe more complete streets, ones that enable more physical activity for people in their everyday lives, will have lasting and more equitable health benefits for your communities. Further, more complete streets are shown to outperform more car-dependent corridors in tax receipts and economic activity. We will give you the tools to make the case with your constituents and provide you with options that can be low cost and help you generate support for future investments. 

Courses run through February and participants begin their work plan in March. Participants will provide updates on their work plans, culminating in a convening in October, 2021.

Participants can have support from their professional staff or others. Support staff may attend the sessions with them, to learn alongside them and support the work plan and monitoring process.

The program includes six two-hour courses with approximately one-hour of reading in preparation for each course. The final two modules, where participants will craft their work and Implementation plan, will require more time.

There is no fee. Thanks to our partners at the CDC/DNPAO, participants will have access to all resources and experts in the Champions Institute for free.

Currently, modules are being scheduled.

Communities don’t need project funding in place to develop a plan. Participants can also develop a project that is strictly about developing a policy, or long range plan that wouldn’t involve capital expenses. Participants could also develop a plan that is about changing an existing project.

Thank you for your interest! For more information contact Andrew Justus at [email protected].

Complete Streets