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Six New Promise Neighborhoods Grants Totaling $33 Million Announced

The U.S. Department of Education has announced six new winners of the Promise Neighborhoods grant competition that awards money to organizations providing community-based and educational services to children and families.

The 2016 grant awards to the winners total $33 million, the department said on Tuesday. The winners are:

Three of those organizations are repeat winners. Berea College won a Promise Neighborhoods grant in 2011, while the Delta Health Alliance and the Youth Policy Institute both won in 2012. They will be working in new communities through their grant awards announced Tuesday. The grant awards represent one year of funding; future grant funding will depend on appropriations from Congress. 

On a call with reporters, Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said the grants help groups with "designing innovative solutions to help their communities," and bring different groups together to increase their positive impact. 

The grants are designed to create new partnerships between public and private entitites with the goal of breaking the cycle of generational poverty in certain areas. President Barack Obama's administration introduced the grants in 2010 and they've attracted a good bit of interest, although their status in the budget has been a bit precarious at times. To date, the department has given out more than $286 million in Promise Neighborhoods grants to close to 700 schools and 1,000 community partners. 

Efforts funded by Promise Neighborhoods grants range from STEM education to kindergarten readiness. Owen Franklin, the director of the Phildadelphia Promise Zone Initiative, which will partner with Drexel University and other groups to implement Drexel's Promise Neighborhoods grant, said it will provide a boost to various efforts in Philadelphia on issues such as pre-kindergarten access and adult education. 

The Paskenta Band's grant award represents the first time that a Native American tribe will receive a Promise Neighborhoods grant, the department noted in a statement. The Paskentas' grant will focus on ensuring grade-level content mastery for students at their elementary and high schools. 

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