Secretary Duncan Officially Announces $30 Million for Promise Neighborhoods

29 Apr 2011 |

On Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced $30 million in funding for a second round of Promise Neighborhood grants. This amount represents a three-fold increase in funding for Promise Neighborhoods in 2010, and is a crucial investment in our nation’s children at a time of huge budget cuts.

“This program recognizes that a strong school is the center of a strong community and by working together to meet the larger social challenges outside the classroom we enable children to succeed inside the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Promise Neighborhoods are inspired by the model of the Harlem Children’s Zone, which has demonstrated results at every developmental age and currently has over 600 young people in college. When President Obama was on the campaign trail, he pledged that, if elected, he would replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone model all over the country. This $30 million investment, following $10 million last year, is a big step toward making that promise a reality.

“One in six children lives in poverty in this country,” said Michael McAfee, Director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. “We know Promise Neighborhoods can work to break the cycle of poverty by wrapping children in education, health, and social supports, and we’re pleased that the government will continue to make them a priority.”

Secretary Duncan delivered the news at a town hall meeting held by the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, one of 21 communities who received a Promise Neighborhood planning grant in 2010. The $30 million will be divided between planning and implementation grants. All communities will be eligible to apply for this funding, not just those who received grants last year.

“We are seeing a lot of enthusiasm for the program across the country,” said McAfee. “Success stories are coming out of Los Angeles, the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana, in rural Kentucky—the Promise Neighborhoods concept can work anywhere.”