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Applications Pour in for Promise Neighborhood Program

Those American Express commercials on the Harlem Children's Zone must really be inspiring people.

A whopping 339 communities applied for relatively small one-year planning grants from the U.S. Department of Education, meant to help communities create their own Promise Neighborhoods. The new federal program, financed at just $10 million this year, is meant to help communities replicate the superstar, New York-based program's success in pairing high-quality academics with a range of support services, such as counseling and prekindergarten, in order to get kids ready for college or a career.

These 339 applicants aren't even asking for a grant to finance an actual program; those aren't available yet. The department will pick up to 20 communities to receive planning grants of up to $500,000. The department has asked for $210 million in its fiscal year 2011 budget to finance grants to actually implement the Promise Neighborhood program.

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