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The STAR Community Rating System (STAR) can be used as a standalone framework for local sustainability and can also be used as a management tool and certification program. STAR Communities has developed a robust set of programs and services to meet the needs of a diversity of communities, before, during, and after the certification process.

To get started, first choose how you would like to use STAR from the two options below.

STAR is a framework.

The Rating System’s framework of goals, objectives and measures provides a roadmap to sustainability for local governments. Communities can align their plans with STAR, integrate its standardized metrics and put into action the system’s vetted best practices by becoming a STAR Member Community. Membership is designed as an introduction to STAR and provides basic resources and services for communities that are not yet ready to pursue full certification. Membership can be used to support a planning process or other community efforts, however it does not provide access to the online application or other resources for certification.

To get started:

  1. Download the free STAR Community Rating System; then
  2. Register as a STAR Member Community to access planning tools and support services from STAR Communities. Review the STAR Member Community benefits for details.

STAR is a management tool and certification program.

The STAR certification program provides communities with a data-driven, independently verified assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Improvement is measured through re-certification every 3 years. Communities report that STAR-certification is transformative, serving as a springboard for civic engagement, cross-agency coordination, integrated budgeting and performance management and more. Read this case study on how Memphis-Shelby County, TN developed their community partnerships and prioritized investment during the STAR certification process.

While anyone can download use the STAR Community Rating System as a framework to community sustainability, the certification program was designed for use by local (town, city, county) governments in the United States. The primary applicant for STAR certification must be a local government. Other community partners, organizations, universities, consultants and federal agencies can become STAR Affiliates to support STAR Communities’ mission.

To get started:

  1. Register as a STAR Member Community with the Reporting Tools package to begin tracking and reporting today; and
  2. Consider applying to participate in our Leadership STAR Community Program. The Leadership Program runs once a year, beginning on September 1 of each year and is for those communities seeking high levels of training and technical assistance while they pursue certification.

Need more information?

Learn more about the certification process, compare the two paths to certification, and find out which subscription is right for you!

Or just give STAR a call – we are here to help! Contact Aaron Lande, Member Relations Manager via email at aaron@starcommunities.org or via phone at (855) 890-7827 x106.