News and analysis
February 13, 2012

President Looks to Expand Promise-Neighborhoods Program

President Obama said today he wants to increase spending on Promise Neighborhoods projects—which offer an array of “cradle to college” services to young people and families in troubled communities.

The president’s plan calls for $100-million for Promise Neighborhoods next year, up from about $60-million in 2012.

The proposed bump for the 2013 fiscal year shows that the president still supports the Promise Neighborhoods concept, which is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone project, in New York, despite deficit-cutting pressures. However, he has progressively had to trim his aspirations for the program.

Promise Neighborhoods started in 2010 with a budget of $10-million. Mr. Obama proposed budgets of $210-million in 2011 and $150-million in 2012 but failed to get Congress to agree to such big increases.

The Education Department in December awarded grants to 20 Promise Neighborhoods projects across the country, which are led by nonprofits working with foundations, schools, businesses, and others. (See The Chronicle’s coverage of a Washington project that won a Promise Neighborhoods grant in 2010.)