King Announces Promise Neighborhoods Grant Competition

(Photo: Oliver Douliery-Pool, Getty Images)

(Photo: Oliver Douliery-Pool, Getty Images)

US Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has announced the 2016 Promise Neighborhoods Grant Competition, which will provide as many as five institutions the funding necessary to help their communities gain a coordinated, comprehensive network of services and school supports meant to improve the outcomes for students and their families.

The program, coming as a part of the department’s efforts to support local initiatives, will award $30 million to up to five institutions in order to revitalize disadvantaged communities across the country.

“We know that giving students the positive supports provided by Promise Neighborhoods helps to prepare them for success in school and their communities. The kind of interdisciplinary support that this program generates can transform our most distressed communities,” said King.

Originally launched by President Obama in 2010, Promise Neighborhoods is a community-based program that follows students from birth through school, putting schools at the center of the revitalization efforts made by communities in order to push supports that meet the needs of both students and families.  The supports include high-quality early learning, after-school activities, mental health services, job training, and crime prevention.

Local leaders will be looked upon to push for change within their communities, with success stemming from a shared vision that centers on the creation of equal opportunities for students and families.

“The expansion of Promise Neighborhoods is good news for struggling communities all across the United States,” said Geoffrey Canada, a pioneer in comprehensive community development and founder of Harlem Children’s Zone, which serves as a model for Promise Neighborhoods. “Finally we are offering a comprehensive, cradle-to-career strategy for disadvantaged youth in our most at-risk communities. This is terrific news because it helps tens of thousands of children from poor families take a real shot at achieving the American Dream.”

The 2016 Promise Neighborhoods Grant Competition will be the fourth and final round of funding for the program as it is exists under the Obama Administration.  Throughout the nation, there are 58 prior Promise Neighborhood grants in existence in 48 disadvantaged communities.  In all, the federal investment to date totals close to $300 million.

Over 1,000 national, state, and local organizations have partnered with a Promise Neighborhood, which has helped students at more than 700 schools.

The initiative is one of several introduced by the Obama Administration to focus on increasing federal partnerships with communities.  Other such programs include Strong Cities, Strong Communities; Choice Neighborhoods; and Promise Zones.

Those looking to become applicants, such as nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, and Indian tribes, should read the Notice Inviting Applications in full.  The deadline for the notice of intent to apply is August 11, while applications are due by September 6, 2016.  Four webinars will be hosted by the Promise Neighborhoods team throughout the month of July for those interested in submitting applications, allowing interested applicants the chance to submit questions during a live presentation.