DEADLINE: October 2nd, 2023

There are more than 333,600 association-governed communities in the United States. What sets your community apart from the crowd? Washington Metropolitan Chapter Community Associations Institute is looking for the communities that best represent common-interest community living, excel in two-way communications with residents, and think of others beyond the community’s borders.

There are six awards. Four of the awards are based on community size:

  • Very Large (1000+ units)
  • Large (500-999 units)
  • Medium (150-499 units)
  • Small (1-149 units)

Winners in these four categories are not eligible to compete in the contest the following year. All communities are eligible to apply for the Communicator of the Year and/or Charitable Community of the Year awards every year.

What is the Community Association of the Year Award (CAY)?

The Community Association of the Year Award recognizes the communities that best demonstrate excellence in all facets of association operations and governance by following CAI’s Best Practices. The application focuses on the essentials of community association management and volunteer leadership. The statements are designed to determine how well your community incorporates Best Practices into its operations.

During the application process for the Community Association of the Year award, we encourage you to start planning for what next steps will look like for your involvement if your community wins an award. Winning a CAY award opens the door to further involvement and recognition from CAI. We encourage applicants to consider selecting a representative that would attend and present your best practices as an Association at the annual Washington Metropolitan Chapter CAI Conference & Expo. Winning communities will also be recognized and featured in our monthly Quorum magazine, so we ask that you submit photos showing off your community when you submit your application. Participation in CAY is a wonderful opportunity to not only show off your community, but also to gain exposure to a broader network of industry volunteers, professionals, and business partners.

If you are hesitant about applying or have additional questions on the application process, don’t worry! You can reach out to us anytime at and there will be virtual working sessions scheduled and available for all to join and ask questions or seek clarification on the application process. Once the schedule is finalized, the dates and how to join will be posted and we look forward to hearing from you!

Before You Submit Your Application…

Before you begin…please download and use this checklist as you complete your application.

Special Recognition Awards

In addition to the Community Association of the Year, WMCCAI may also recognize communities with the title of Communicator of the Year and/or Charitable Community of the Year as described below. Additional information is required for participation in these contests as described in Sections B and C of this application. Communities are encouraged to participate in all three contests!

Communicator of the Year

The Communicator of the Year Award shall recognize the community association in the Washington metro area that best demonstrates commitment to CAI’s best practices in both educating and informing association members through accurate and relevant information, and receiving member feedback in accordance with guidelines and principles as set forth by CAI GAP Report on Communications.

Charitable Community of the Year

The Charitable Community of the Year Award shall be awarded to the community association that best demonstrates exemplary service to the community outside their own association. Applicants shall be judged for outstanding service to the community in areas of community service and charitable works.

Does your community want to apply for the Community Association of the Year award but aren’t sure where to start? View our previously recorded CAY Orientation featuring both past winners and current judges as they discuss the in’s and out’s of the Community Association of the Year Awards, including helpful tips and common mistakes to avoid when filling out the application.

Download 2023 Contest Flyer