DoEd Launches $30M Promise Neighborhoods Grant Competition

DeptOfEd_largeThe Education Dept. (DoEd) launches the 2016 Promise Neighborhoods (CFDA Number: 84.215N) grant competition, which will award $30 million to up to five organizations to help communities overcome the barriers of poverty, health inequity and low classroom performance.

Deadline: Sept. 6

These are implementation grants. The program is part of the department’s funding efforts to support locally-designed initiatives to revitalize the country’s most disadvantaged communities and break down the grants silos that have hampered revitalization efforts in the past.

“We know that giving students the positive supports provided by Promise Neighborhoods helps to prepare them for success in school and their communities,” said DoEd Secy. John King. “The kind of interdisciplinary support that this program generates can transform our most distressed communities.”

Promise Neighborhoods was launched by the Obama Administration in 2010, and is a community-based cradle-to-career program that places schools at the center of a community’s revitalization efforts. These supports include high-quality early learning, rich after-school activities, mental health services, job training, and crime prevention. The grants rely on local leaders to build capacity and drive change within their communities.

The 2016 Promise Neighborhoods grant competition is the fourth and final round of funding for the program under the Obama Administration. New grantees will build on a portfolio of 58 prior Promise Neighborhood grants in 48 communities across the nation, representing a federal investment of nearly $300 million. These grants were considered the community option compared to the $5 billion Race to the Top grants which were designed to drive transformational change in the way children were taught in the K-12 classroom. Both funding programs were embraced by educators, but less so by Congress because of their massive price-tags.

To date, over 1,000 national, state, and local organizations have partnered with a Promise Neighborhood, benefiting students at over 700 schools. It is one of several Administration initiatives, including Strong Cities, Strong Communities; Choice Neighborhoods; and Promise Zones, that focuses on strengthening successful Federal partnerships with communities.

Eligibility includes nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes.

Past Winners

The program has not awarded new grants since FY 2012 ( when 17 awards were made. In that round, the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, Inc. won a $26 million, 60-month grant to address the needs of DC’s Kenilworth-Parkside neighborhood. It was an island of concentrated poverty tucked in the northeast corner of Ward 7 in Washington, DC. Families living in this isolated place face an array of challenges: high poverty and unemployment rates, low educational attainment, and high rates of teen pregnancy.

The application ( provides a roadmap to a stellar grants application. The reviewer comments also help. They are here:

The project focused on turning around four schools located in the DC Promise neighborhood which had low performing or persistently lowest achieving classrooms and served high-need populations. The test scores at the two elementary schools were particularly low and declined in the most recent school years.

The targeted neighborhoods also have some of the highest shares of teenage births, 25% of recent births were to mothers aged 19 years old and younger. To address this, the project partnered with The Teen Parent Empowerment Program, sponsored by Healthy Babies, for an intensive 20-week program for mothers age 12- 21 with individual case management, support services, and classes that equips young mothers to have healthy pregnancies and births.

Info: (NOFA); Elson Nash, or (202) 453-6615 for questions.

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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