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Website Watch: Zone 126

We’re loving this new website from FY 2011 Planning grantee Zone 126, in Queens, NY!

There’s an awesome interactive presentation on the homepage that shows you just how intricate, well-planned, and thoughtful their planning process is–and gives a nice introduction to the Zone!

We’re so excited to see you thrive, Zone 126! Keep it up!

Many Boyle Heights Seniors to be First in Family to Attend College

Lots of motivation and determination in Boyle Heights these days, as seniors put “a lot of time and effort into anything college-related.”

Mendez Learning Center Academic Coordinator Martha Ramirez says that “students are coming into the college center spending their nutrition, their lunch break, and after school hours here.”

Most of these students will be the first in their families to attend four year colleges, which will make their upcoming high school graduation especially inspiring.

The Boyle Heights Beat reports that students are excited about college, and doing what they can to make it financially feasible now that they’ve done the hard work to qualify and apply:

“Angie Valenzuela, 17, a senior at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center, is one of the new wave of college bound Boyle Heights seniors. Already accepted to Cal State Fullerton, she awaits other acceptance letters. ‘Nobody in my family has ever gone to college,’ she says, ‘but I’m glad to say I have received my first acceptance letter from a university.’”

On Your Marks! FY 2012 Promise Neighborhoods Applications Released

They’re here!  The US Department of Education released a request for planning and implementation applications for the FY 2012 Promise Neighborhoods program.

More information is on the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods page.

We know a lot of you have been waiting for this announcement, and we’re pleased to share with you that up to 15 new planning grants of up to $500,000 each and 5-7 new implementation grants of up to $4-6 million each will be funded this year, and there will be continuing funding for the five implementation grantees selected last year. We will be making every effort to assist communities interested in applying with tools and resources on our website, updated How to Apply guides, and webinars.

For now, take note of these dates:

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: June 8, 2012

Dept of Ed Pre-Application Webinars: May 17 and June 14, 2012

Date full applications are due: July 27, 2012

And stay tuned for further updates and guidance!


Angela Glover Blackwell on Bill Moyers

Well, it was a wonderful interview!

You’ve got to watch the whole thing and leave a comment–Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink, expresses so well exactly why programs that promote equity are so important to rebuilding our communities, our economy, and our country. She talks about the need for coordinated services and holistic approaches to ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed.

Seems like Promise Neighborhoods are on the right track!

Angela Glover Blackwell on Moyers and Co. This Weekend!

Don’t miss PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell on Bill Moyers’ show Moyers and Company this weekend!

Here’s a preview of her interview with him about how she remains optimistic in the face of a struggling economy with growing inequality:

Choice Planning Grant Applications Announced!

Interested in applying for a Choice Planning Grant? Here’s the scoop, courtesy of our good friends over at the Center for the Study of Social Policy: The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Program is an initiative that helps transform neighborhoods by revitalizing distressed public and/or assisted housing.  As part of the Administration’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, the Choice Neighborhoods is a comprehensive transformation initiative that also helps communities leverage investments for high quality community services, public schools, early learning programs and improved access to public transportation.

Applications for the 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants are due May 1, 2012.  Overall, HUD anticipates awarding 17-20 Planning Grants of up to $300,000.  According to the Notice released by HUD, four Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants will be set aside for communities that have received a Promise Neighborhoods Planning Grant (the year of the planning grant is not specified in the notice).  Please click on the “Notice” link above to learn more about the specific eligibility and application requirements for the Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants. Check out page 50 for info specific to Promise Neighborhoods.

For additional information about the Choice Neighborhoods program, please visit the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s blog: Investing in Community Change.


Job Opportunity in Richmond, CA, with Building Blocks for Kids!

Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative is searching for a Director of Community Engagement and Advocacy to join our team! Interested candidates may view the complete job description and application instructions in the attached PDF file or through our job posting on Craigslist,

Applications can be submitted to


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Alice Thompson from Detroit Tells It Like It Is

Check out this guest commentary from Alice G. Thompson, president and CEO of Black Family Development, in the Detroit Free Press!

She’s clear about why Promise Neighborhoods are the best model for comprehensive community change and get around the impulse to create short-term solutions to urgent problems, rather than addressing the root causes of the issues. And she knows they’ll work to improve outcomes for children and families not just in her Detroit neighborhood, but throughout the city and country as things go on:

“Rather than allowing a long-standing process to play out and then make a determination of impact, this initiative demands regular monitoring and feedback, so corrections can be made at frequent intervals before it’s too late. As it evolves, it — like HCZ — will grow and reach into other areas of the city.”

We can’t wait, Alice!

Read the commentary and let us know what you think!