LOS ANGELES — The Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles, which has been working to battle childhood poverty for more than 30 years, has been named one of six winners of the U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods competition and will receive a $6 million grant.
The department gave out a total of $33 million to organizations that provide education, health, safety and family support services to children and families in high-poverty neighborhoods.
“These grants will provide cradle-to-career support for at-risk children in communities across the country, offering meaningful resources that will help them achieve their potential,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said Dec. 20 in announcing the grants. “Promise Neighborhoods draw on the best of communities, bringing together nonprofits, schools and local institutions to meet the needs of their local communities.”
The federal Promise Neighborhoods program was started in 2010 and has awarded more than $286 million to date to “support innovative strategies that bring together public and private partners to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty,” according to the Department of Education.
The Youth Policy Institute was started more than 30 years ago and moved to Los Angeles in 1996. It focuses on supporting Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood program communities in Pacoima and Hollywood, and was previously awarded a $30 million grant by the Department of Education in 2012 to be the lead agency for the program.
The institute’s Promise Neighborhood work focuses on a public-private partnership with the city and county of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District. It is working to convert 19 neighborhood schools into full-service community schools with an array of support services including early childhood development, gang prevention and college preparation.
“Since 2013, the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood has created a network for success in Pacoima and Hollywood, helping tens of thousands of students and families move from cradle to college and career in neighborhoods that have thrown challenge after challenge at them,” said Dixon Slingerland, president and CEO of the Youth Policy Institute. “Now many more Angeleno youth will get the kind of place-based interventions that make a difference.
The creation of the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood in the Promise Zone will add eight schools and nearly two dozen community partners to this effort, and connecting it to the existing Promise Neighborhood will allow Los Angeles to redouble its investment in these communities.”