Promise Neighborhoods

Today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the opening of the Promise Neighborhoods competition. Based on the experiences of initiatives such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Neighborhoods is the realization of President Obama’s vision for the creation of high-quality, comprehensive projects that transform whole neighborhoods and improve educational outcomes for the children in those neighborhoods.

The President believes we need to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to lifting our families and our communities out of poverty. The Promise Neighborhoods program will support a number of services combined with educational reforms to help improve the lives of our young people from birth through childhood and from college to a career. While the Promise Neighborhoods program will support projects that provide a variety of services, education will be at the center of the work.

“The Promise Neighborhoods program brings all of the Department’s strategies together—high-quality early learning programs, high-quality schools, and comprehensive supports to ensure that students are safe, healthy and successful,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These services must be comprehensive, and schools must put education at the center.”

For this first year of the program, Congress appropriated $10 million for Promise Neighborhoods. With these funds, ED will award one-year planning grants of up to $500,000 each for projects in approximately 20 distressed communities. The grants will support the development of a continuum of cradle-through-college-to-career solutions designed to result in positive outcomes for children within those neighborhoods. The President has requested an additional $210 million for implementation grants and a new round of planning grants next year.

Nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education that are representative of the community are eligible to apply for grants under the program. Faith-based nonprofit organizations may also apply. Applicants are encouraged to establish partnerships with school districts, local governments and state governments, and others. Applicants must demonstrate commitment from key partners to the Promise Neighborhood plan through a memorandum of understanding and a 50 percent funding match from the public or private sector. For rural and tribal communities, the match is 25 percent.

ED will hold informational and application webinars for organizations interested in applying for a planning grant. The webinars are scheduled for

  • Monday, May 3, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Eastern time;
  • Wednesday, May 5, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern time; and
  • Monday, May 10, from noon to 4 p.m., Eastern time.

Registration for the webinars must be completed online.

For additional information about Promise Neighborhoods, please visit the program website.