Second Round of Promise Zones Announced

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Apr 29, 2015 10:47:00 AM

North-Hartford-Promise-Zone
North Hartford Promise Zone (Google Maps).

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced the next round of urban, rural, and tribal communities that have received a Promise Zone designation. For this second round of competition, 123 applications were received from 38 states, along with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Eight communities—six urban and two rural/tribal—were selected for Promise Zone designation:

These communities suffer from high unemployment, crime, and poverty. Powerful collaboration among organizations in these communities have been established to help guide them toward goals aligned with the federal initiative. For instance, the South Carolina Promise Zone will be led by the Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance (SCA), overseeing a partnership with more than 28 organizations within the Promise Zone and across the state. The North Hartford Promise Zone is working in partnership with business, foundations, municipal and regional planning organizations, and the city’s own resources to advance neighborhood revitalization and create a safe prosperous future for residents. 

Their work will build on the progress we are already seeing in the first five Promise Zones, announced in January 2014: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. In these communities, collaboration across business, government, and civic leadership is leading to concrete change. Read more about the first round of Promise Zones.

The Principles of the Promise Zones Initiative

The 13 Promise Zones designated so far (5 last year, 8 this year) are part of 20 total Promise Zones the Obama Administration will designate on the quality of their local partnerships and evidence-based plans to build stronger ladders of opportunity. The unique Promise Zone partnerships support local goals and strategies with:

  • Accountability for Clear Goals: Each Promise Zone has identified clear outcomes they will pursue to revitalize their community, with a focus on creating jobs, increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, and reducing violent crime. All Promise Zones will continuously track those outcomes, and have committed to sharing data across their community partners (private sector; nonprofits; federal, state, and local agencies; etc.) so that each partner can work toward improvement and accountability. The Administration will work with the Promise Zones and third-party experts to track progress and evaluate results.
  • Intensive Federal Partnership: Promise Zones benefit from intensive federal support at the local level to help them implement their economic and community development goals.
  • Priority Access to Resources: Where necessary to achieve their goals, Promise Zones receive priority to access federal investments that further the goals of creating jobs, increasing private investment and economic activity, improving educational opportunity, and reducing violent crime.
  • National Service: Each Promise Zone is provided five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to support their strategic plan. These VISTAs recruit and manage volunteers, and strengthen the capacity of Promise Zones to expand economic opportunity
  • Investing in What Works: In order to be designated as a Promise Zone, these communities have already demonstrated that they are pursuing strategies that have data supporting their effectiveness. This same data will also help direct future federal investments to these Zones.
  • Cutting Taxes for Businesses: Finally, President Obama has proposed, and called on Congress to act, to cut taxes on hiring and investment in areas designated as Promise Zonesbased upon the proven model of Empowerment Zones tax creditsto attract businesses and create jobs. 

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Topics: Partnerships, Education, Housing, Rural Issues

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