Press Release

America's Promise Alliance Announces Expansion of 100 Best Communities for Young People Competition with New Grant Program

April 11, 2007 (Washington, D.C) – As part of its year-long 10th anniversary celebration and goal of reaching 15 million more young people over the next five years, the America’s Promise Alliance today announced the first recipients of a new annual grant program for communities who took part in the 100 Best Communities for Young People competition.

The new grants—which totaled more than $300,000—are designed to help communities serve more young people and provide greater support to some of the programs that helped qualify these communities as a great place to grow up. Each of the communities who completed an application during the 2007 100 Best competition, regardless of whether or not they were selected, were eligible to apply for these grants.  More than 100 communities’ submitted proposals and eight were selected by America’s Promise Alliance representatives to receive the first grants, which range from $10,000 to $64,000.
 
“There is no better time than in our 10th anniversary year when we reflect on our work and renew the promise made to our nation’s young people a decade ago, to expand a key programs like 100 Best,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO of the America’s Promise Alliance. “We’re thrilled to be able to support these communities that everyday work hard to deliver the kind of wrap-around services children need to thrive and succeed.”

The following communities will receive grants:

  • School District of Oconee County, SC—Funding will allow for three additional school nurses and full equipment for three health centers in the district, providing an additional 2400 middle school kids with access to health care services. (a 2007 100 Best winner)
  • New York, NY—Funding is for the “BoysREACH” program which helps prepare at-risk African American youth males for college and the workforce. This grant will provide stipends for an additional 15 teenagers to fully participate in summer internships with several corporations in the city, complete an SAT prep course, purchase business appropriate clothing and offset transportation costs.(a 2007 100 Best winner)
  • Chicago, IL—Funding will help set up a city-wide youth council and six regional youth councils with career centers in all six regions of the city. It will also support the planning and execution of a broader youth summit where these councils can come together to share ideas and determine issues of importance. (a 2007 100 Best winner)
  • Old Saybrook, CT—Funding will support a program to help incoming 9th graders adjust to entering high school. It will fund a two-day retreat for the entire 9th grade class including teachers and ten 12th grade role models. It will also provide for the development of a series of after school activities and on-going support throughout the entire high school experience for those 9th graders identified as having the highest risk of dropping out. (a 2007 100 Best winner)
  • Little Rock, AR—Funding will allow a major one day service learning event called, “One Day—1,000 Kids—One Community” to take place.  This event will engage youths ages 12-to-18 to plan, supervise, execute and evaluate a one day service learning experience in their community. (a 2007 100 Best winner)
  • Butler County, MO—Funding will be used to support AmeriCorps members in the area’s implementation of the “100 Best Communities—100 New Promises” program. As part of the program, 100 students will be mentored through school-based programs, 100 will participate in after school tutoring, in church “safe place” programming, and 500 in a service opportunity. In addition, 100 families will take part in the “Building Strong Families” curriculum, and 50 AmeriCorps members will receive training in volunteer recruitment, resource development and service projects. (a 2007 100 Best winner)
  • Tukwila, WA—Funding will help establish a four component program to help at-risk, minority youth in grades 5-10 prepare for college and the real world. Beginning in fifth grade, students will develop a portfolio of their accomplishments to keep track of their goals. The programs will also include after-school study tables where youth can work through complex problems with mentors, visits with students and their parents to colleges and Vo-tech programs. Finally, it will arrange opportunities for students to job shadow in career sectors they are interested in as well as presentations from diverse career professionals.
  • Sacramento, CA—Funding will support the “Linkage to Education” program which helps youth in foster care and in the juvenile justice system transition to college. Former foster youth will serve as mentors to 75 graduating seniors helping them through the process and providing them with specific material and support through the application, testing and school process. They will also work with 75 freshman and sophomores to help them prepare earlier for the college application process.

“All of the communities who took part in the 100 Best competition are to be celebrated, but these eight really exemplify how regardless of size and location, it’s possible to provide our children with the Five promises that our own research has shown children need to experience everyday, everywhere they go if they are to succeed in life,” said Kondracke. “We all know we can do better by our children and these communities are teaching us how.”

The Alliance’s comprehensive research report titled Every Child/Every Promise, measured the presence of the Five Promises in young people’s lives, as well as the impact the Promises have on children’s overall well-being. The report revealed that to succeed in life, young people must experience at least four of the Five Promises. Moreover, when youth receive these fundamental resources, economic and racial disparities can be eliminated.

The grant program will be a part of each 100 Best competition and an application process will be held each year following the announcement of the winning communities.  The 2008 100 Best application process will be open from August 1, 2007 through Friday November 2, 2007 with the winners announced in January 2008. Applications for the 2008 grant program will be accepted in early February 2008.

About the America’s Promise Alliance

America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s leader in forging a strong and effective partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups committed to ensuring that children receive the fundamental resources - the Five Promises – they need to lead successful, healthy and productive lives and build a stronger society. Building on the legacy of our founder General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our children is grounded in experiencing the Five Promises - caring adults; safe place; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others - at home, in school and in the community. For more information on America’s Promise Alliance visit: www.americaspromise.org.