Yesterday, the Department of Education released the applications for both implementation grants and a second round of planning grants for the FY 2011 Promise Neighborhoods program. The Department expects to award four to six preliminary implementation grants of $4 million to $6 million in first year funds to eligible communities. The Department also hopes to award implementation funds ranging from $12 million to $30 million over a period of 3 to 5 years depending on congressional appropriations. The rest of the total $30 million in grant funds allocated to the Promise Neighborhoods program in FY 2011 will be awarded to 10 organizations in the form of one-year planning grants worth an estimated $500,000.
The Promise Neighborhoods program, fashioned after Geoffrey Canada’s successful Harlem Children’s Zone model, works to improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children in chronically poor communities by creating a system of cradle-to-career services with a great schooling system at its core. The 21 nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher learning that received the $10 million allocated for planning grants in 2010 used the funds to create plans for these comprehensive services in their communities. The organizations that apply for implementation grants must have completed the planning stage and met strict accountability guidelines before applying for their implementation grant. Applications for both the planning and implementation grants are due on September 6 at 4:30pm EST.
The negotiations for the future appropriations awarded to Promise Neighborhoods for FY 2012 are still underway. On May 17th, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee introduced legislation to make Promise Neighborhoods a federally authorized program by including it in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The inclusion of Promise Neighborhoods in the upcoming reauthorization of ESEA would solidify it as a long-term project in which communities are awarded 5-year planning and implementation grants.