Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed priorities for the Promise Neighborhoods program. The competitive grants provide funds to design comprehensive approaches for addressing the education and developmental needs of children in distressed, high-poverty communities. Under the proposed priorities, nonprofits, institutions of higher education and Indian tribes would be eligible for grants.
“All of us—government, businesses, schools, and communities are responsible for preparing students to compete in the 21st Century,” said Secretary Duncan. “Promise Neighborhoods emphasize local, innovative partnerships to put education at the center of efforts to fight poverty.”
The proposed priorities for the Promise Neighborhoods competition are now available for public comment and include both planning and implementation grants. The level and allocation of funds among the grant types are contingent upon the final fiscal 2011 budget.
To address the challenges faced by students living in communities of concentrated poverty, Promise Neighborhoods grantees and their partner organizations will 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.
In September 2010, the Department awarded one-year grants for 21 organizations to create plans to provide cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children. More than 300 communities from 48 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications for Promise Neighborhoods planning grants, which represents a broader movement of communities committed to pursuing a Promise Neighborhoods approach. Grantees that received Promise Neighborhoods planning grants are eligible to compete for implementation grants alongside applicants who did not compete for or receive a planning grant.
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.
The Department will collect public comment on the proposed Promise Neighborhoods priorities for 30 days. It plans to publish a final application in the spring and accept proposals 60 days thereafter. All money under the program will be obligated by Sept. 30, 2011.