WASHINGTON - U .S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 21 nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education will receive Promise Neighborhoods planning grants. With the one-year grants, the recipients will create plans to provide cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children.
"I applaud each of the Promise Neighborhood applicants for their leadership," President Barack Obama said. "They are galvanizing their communities to help offer our children a pathway out of poverty. The winners announced today will deliver a broad array of services to help all young people thrive academically, earn their high school diploma, go on to college, and reach for their dreams."
"Communities across the country recognize that education is the one true path out of poverty," Secretary Duncan said. "These Promise Neighborhoods applicants are committed to putting schools at the center of their work to provide comprehensive services for young children and students."
The planning grants of up to $500,000 will support the work in a diverse set of communities in major metropolitan areas, small and medium-size cities, rural areas, and one Indian reservation. The President has requested $210 million in his fiscal 2011 budget, including $200 million to support implementation of Promise Neighborhood projects and $10 million for planning grants for new communities.
Athens Clarke County Family Connection, Inc. (Athens, Ga.)
Berea College (Clay, Jackson, and Owsley Counties, Ky.)
Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation (Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Mont.)
California State University – East Bay (Hayward, Calif.)
Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter High School (Washington, D.C.)
Community Day Care Center of Lawrence, Inc. (Lawrence, Mass.)
Delta Health Alliance, Inc. (Indianola, Miss.)
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (Boston)
The Guidance Center (River Rouge, Mich.)
Lutheran Family Health Centers (New York)
Morehouse School of Medicine, Inc. (Atlanta)
Neighborhood Centers, Inc. (Houston)
Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission (Los Angeles)
United Way of Central Massachusetts, Inc. (Worcester, Mass.)
United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, Inc. (San Antonio, Texas)
Universal Community Homes (Philadelphia)
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Little Rock, Ark.)
Westminster Foundation (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Youth Policy Institute (Los Angeles)
To address the challenges faced by students living in communities of concentrated poverty, Promise Neighborhoods grantees and their partner organizations will plan to provide services from early learning to college and career, including programs to improve the health, safety, and stability of neighborhoods, and boost family engagement in student learning.
Secretary Duncan was joined at the announcement by Melody Barnes, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
"As shown in Promise Neighborhoods and HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, transforming distressed neighborhoods into communities of opportunity means connecting housing and development resources to education and access to economic opportunity," said Secretary Donovan.
"Strong communities start with healthy children who have safe places to live and play and high quality educational opportunities that put them on the road to success," added Secretary Sebelius. "Creating these strong communities requires everyone, including the federal government, to work together."
More than 300 communities from 48 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications for Promise Neighborhoods planning grants.
"I congratulate all the Promise Neighborhoods applicants and the hundreds of other communities that are creating great schools and strong support systems for our children," Secretary Duncan said. "We encourage all communities with bold and innovative proposals to continue their important work, and we are hopeful there will be future opportunities for the Department to provide implementation grants and new planning grants."
Winning Promise Neighborhoods applications reflect deep partnerships among community-based organizations, service providers, schools and districts, colleges and universities, cities, local leaders and others.
"Well-coordinated investments and actions at the local level can generate significant change and positively impact opportunities for children," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a written statement. "To build communities of opportunity, residents must feel safe to live, learn and go about their business. We look forward to continuing working with our partners in support of this innovative initiative."
Because of the great potential for Promise Neighborhoods to revitalize communities in need, it is closely linked to the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which seeks to align federal housing, education, justice, and health programs with the overarching goal of transforming neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity.