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Twenty-one Applicants Win Promise Neighborhood Grants

Twenty-one non-profits and higher education institutions will snag a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help plan for a Promise Neighborhood, the administration announced today.

The grants, of up to $500,000, will help the winners create programs that offer a comprehensive range of services to help improve student outcomes, such as health care, pre-kindergarten, and college counseling. The idea grew out of the Harlem Children's Zone, a rock star program of the moment, which is even featured in American Express commercials.

The announcement of the winners will be made at a press conference today featuring an all-star line-up of three cabinet secretaries, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

But despite the fanfare, it's important to note that just because an organization wins one of the planning grants, it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to get an "implementation" grant to create a Promise Neighborhood. The planning grants are simply aimed at helping applicants figure out what their communities' needs are and how to address them.

President Obama asked for $210 million in his fiscal year 2010, including $200 million for implementation grants.

UPDATE: Congress isn't on track to appropriate nearly as much money as the administration asked for. In a bill passed this summer, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending included $60 million for the program. And the Senate Appropriations Committee included just $20 million.

Still, there were more than 300 applicants for the program, from 48 states, plus Washington, D.C.

Here's the list of planning grant winners. From a quick perusal of the list, it looks like they include at least a few rural programs, and one on a Native American reservation:

• Abyssinian Development Corporation ( New York)
• Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (St. Paul, Minn.)
• Athens Clarke County Family Connection, Inc. (Athens, Ga.)
• Berea College (Clay, Jackson, and Owsley Counties, Ky.)
• Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation (Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Mont.)
• California State University - East Bay (Hayward, Calif.)
• Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter High School (Washington, D.C.)
• Community Day Care Center of Lawrence, Inc. (Lawrence, Mass.)
• Delta Health Alliance, Inc. (Indianola, Miss.)
• Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (Boston)
• The Guidance Center (River Rouge, Mich.)
• Lutheran Family Health Centers (New York)
• Morehouse School of Medicine, Inc. (Atlanta)
• Neighborhood Centers, Inc. (Houston)
• Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission (Los Angeles)
• United Way of Central Massachusetts, Inc. (Worcester, Mass.)
• United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, Inc. (San Antonio, Texas)
• Universal Community Homes (Philadelphia)
• University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Little Rock, Ark.)
• Westminster Foundation (Buffalo, N.Y.)
• Youth Policy Institute (Los Angeles)

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