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Going Local: Place-Based Solutions to Combat Poverty

Promise Zones

Going Local: Place-Based Solutions to Combat Poverty

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
10:00am-12:30pm ET
Columbus Club at Union Station
50 Massachusetts Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20002



Press inquiries

Shantha Susman, (917) 533-4339

Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, February 4, PolicyLink hosted “Going Local: Place-Based Solutions to Combat Poverty.” PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell spoke with the Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about federal place-based programs as an effective means of reducing inequality and lifting communities out of poverty.

Blackwell also interviewed representatives from the new Promise Zones about their local efforts to address the interconnected challenges of poverty and give their communities a fair shot at success.


Welcome and Purpose

  • Judith Bell, President, PolicyLink

Place-Based Solutions to Combat Poverty

  • Moderator: Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
  • Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz
  • Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan 
  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
  • Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx
  • Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Going Local: Promise Zones!

  • Moderator: Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
  • Philip Baker-Shenk, Choctaw Nation Promise Zone
  • Donna Griffin & Andy Frishkoff, Philadelphia Promise Zone
  • Dixon Slingerland, Los Angeles Promise Zone
  • Jerry Ricketts, Southeastern Kentucky Promise Zone
  • Ivy R. Taylor, San Antonio Promise Zone

Closing Remarks

  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink

Promise Zones

On January 9, 2014, President Obama named the first five sites to receive “Promise Zone” designations: Los Angeles, San Antonio, Philadelphia, southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.
Kiara and President at Promise Zones Announcement

The announcement came in a speech in which the President made it clear that Promise Zones represent the Obama administration’s pledge to work with communities to give all children in our nation the chance to succeed. Building on the success of initiatives like Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation, and Stronger Economies Together, Promise Zones will bring together local elected leaders with leaders in business, education, housing, and other sectors, using a local plan for change in a designated area.

Promise Zones will partner with local businesses to spur job creation, expand access to educational opportunities and affordable housing, increase economic security, and improve public safety. The five new Promise Zones have demonstrated results through one or more of the existing grant programs, and will now be able to do more to improve the lives of children and families in their communities.
PolicyLink has been honored to assist the Obama administration with its place-based initiatives, including in the outreach and development of Promise Zones,and to support several Promise Zone partners through the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink and our work on affordable housing, access to healthy food, and sustainable communities. We will continue to provide insight and support to the administration, and to help these communities succeed. This is exactly the kind of action we need to reduce inequality, advance equity, and promote economic vitality for all people.

Below is the full list of programs for which communities designated as Promise Zones can receive a preference: 

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development: Choice Neighborhoods; Rental Assistance Demonstration; Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative; Integrated Planning and Implementation Strategy grants

  • Small Business Administration: Micro Entrepreneurship Initiative; HUBZone Program; Women’s Business Center counseling/training; Office of Native American Affairs technical assistance

  • Department of Justice: Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program; COPS Hiring Program

  • Department of Labor: Opportunity Youth Demonstration Project; YouthBuild; Reintegration of Ex-Offenders

  • Department of Treasury: Healthy Food Financing Initiative

  • Department of Health and Human Services: Community Health Centers; Community Services Block Grant; Healthy Start; Assets for Independence

  • Department of Agriculture: Community Facilities Grant Program; Self-Help Section 523 Technical Assistance Grants; Housing Preservation Grant; Rural Community Development Initiative

  • Department of Commerce: Economic Development Assistance Program

  • Department of Education: Supplemental priority for certain K-12 and higher education competitive grant programs, including Promise Neighborhoods

  • Corporation for National and Community Service: AmeriCorps VISTA


Additional Resources regarding Promise Zones:

Archive of PolicyLink/Joint Center Webinar regarding Promise Zones (Overview of Promise Zones Initiative)

Speakers: Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink; Brian Smedley, Vice President and Director, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Racquel Russell, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs & Economic Mobility, White House Domestic Policy Council; Lisa Cylar Miller, Deputy Director, Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink.

August 22, 2013

Archive of Joint Center/PolicyLink Webinar regarding Promise Zones (Focus on intersection between Health and Promise Zones)

Speakers: Judith Bell, President, PolicyLink; Brian Smedley, Ph.D., Vice President and Director, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Luke Tate, Senior Policy Advisor Urban Affairs & Economic Mobility, White House Domestic Policy Council; Robert Sampson, Ph.D., Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and Director of the Boston Area Research Initiative

HUD Website page regarding Promise Zones: