White House Announces First “Promise Zones”

09 Jan 2014 |
White House Announces First “Promise Zones”

Harlem Children's Zone student Kiara Molina introduces President Obama at the Promise Zones announcement.

President Obama, today, named the first five sites to receive “Promise Zone” designations: Los Angeles, San Antonio, Philadelphia, south-eastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.

The announcement came in a speech in which the president made it clear that Promise Zones represent the Obama Administration’s pledge to work with communities to give all children in our nation the chance to succeed. President Obama lifted up the model of the Harlem Children’s Zone—the inspiration for Promise Neighborhoods— as the way forward.

Building on the success of initiatives like Promise Neighborhoods, Choice NeighborhoodsByrne Criminal Justice Innovation, and Stronger Economies Together, Promise Zones will partner with local businesses to spur job creation, expand access to educational opportunities and affordable housing, increase economic security, and improve public safety. The five new Promise Zones have demonstrated results through one or more of these grant programs, and will now be able to do more in their work to improve the lives of children and families in their communities.

PolicyLink has been honored to assist the Obama Administration with its place-based initiatives, including in the outreach and development of Promise Zones, and to support several Promise Zone partners through the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink and our work on affordable housing, access to healthy food, and sustainable communities. We will continue our work to provide insight and support to the Administration, and to help these communities succeed.

This is exactly the kind of action we need to reduce inequality and promote economic vitality for all people. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, the establishment of Promise Zones is an important step toward what we really need: not a war, but an equitable economy.

Congratulations to the first Promise Zones!