What do Anchorage, Alaska; Chandler, Arizona; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma have in common?

These three cities are among the 22 communities that have been named to the America’s Promise Alliance list of 100 Best Communities for Young People in each of the past five years, since the program’s inception.

The 100 Best Communities for Young People program, sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance and the ING Foundation, recognizes communities that provide effective youth services and promote higher graduation rates.

The award is based on a demonstrated commitment to fulfilling “five promises” to their youth: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others.

The 22 communities on the five-year award-winner list are diverse in size, geography, and demographics, including median age and household income. Sixteen of the communities on the list are cities, four are counties, one is a consolidated city/county government, and one is a school district.

One common thread among these – and all the communities on the 100 Best list – is that they offer effective and often innovative programs and services for youth. Anchorage, for example, sponsors a PromiseKids Day, an event that offers young people an opportunity to voice their opinions to legislators. In Chandler, the Destination College program sends 6th graders to a local community college for a taste of college life. The Oklahoma City Police Athletic League targets juvenile crime prevention by providing sports leagues for children, particularly in high-risk areas.

Winners receive a $2,500 grant which can be used to help fund a local program or service or to fund an event to celebrate being named to the list. For a complete list of 2011 winners, visit the America’s Promise Alliance website.