FY 2012 Promise Grants At-A-Glance

02 May 2012 |

We’re going to be releasing new How to Apply guides and other tools to help you through the process of applying for this year’s Promise Neighborhoods planning and implementation grants, but here’s a brief primer, courtesy of our friends over at the Center for the Study of Social Policy!

At A Glance: The 2012 Promise Neighborhood Grant Competition

On April 20, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the Notices of Funding Available (NOFAs) for the 2012 Promise Neighborhoods program. A key part of the Administration’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, the Promise Neighborhoods effort has become a program of growing interest in recent years as it strives to design and implement a cradle-to-career pipeline of services and supports that improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in distressed communities. In 2010, ED awarded $10 million in planning grants to 21 communities and, in 2011, awarded $30 million in planning and implementation grants to 20 communities. This year, Congress allocated $60 million for the 2012 Promise Neighborhoods grants, allowing ED to make the following awards:

  • An estimated 14 Planning grants of up to $5 million (15 Planning grants were awarded in 2011)
  • An estimated 5-7 Implementation grants of $4-6 million with funding available on an annual basis for a period of 3-5 years (5 Implementation grants were awarded in 2011)
  • Remaining funding will be used for national activities, including technical assistance for the Promise Neighborhood grantees, evaluation and peer review

Overall, the 2012 Promise Neighborhood competition reflects the same procedures and priorities from the 2011 competition. Below, you will find a brief outline of the key elements that must be addressed in planning and implementation proposals.

Planning and Implementation Grants 

Eligible Applicants include: nonprofit organizations (including faith-based organizations), institutions of higher education and Indian tribes.

Applicants are required to choose one of three Absolute Priorities. Absolute Priority 1 outlines the general requirements all applicants must meet in their proposal while Absolute Priority 2 and 3 invite applicants from rural and tribal communities, respectively. Applicants may choose up to two Competitive Preference Priorities (CPPs), allowing applicants to receive competitive priority points. As with the 2011 competition, the 2012 CPPs include:

  • Comprehensive Early Learning Network
  • Quality Internet Connectivity
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Quality Affordable Housing

As with the 2011 competition, applicants are invited to address the Invitational Priority by proposing plans that address adult education programs and provide training opportunities for family members. Applicants that address this priority will not receive preference or priority points during the review process.

Key Application Dates & Timeline:

  • May 15, 2012: Pre-Application Webinar (Information will be posted on the Promise Neighborhoods website)
  • June 8, 2012: Notice of Intent to Apply due
  • June 12, 2012: Pre-Application Webinar (This will be a repeat of the May 15 webinar. Information will be posted on the Promise Neighborhoods website)
  • July 27, 2012: Planning and Implementation application due

Overview of Planning Grants

As with the 2011 competition, the 2012 Planning Grant proposals must:

1) Describe the geographically defined area to be served and its level of distress

2) Describe how the applicant plans to build a continuum of solutions based on the best available evidence designed to significantly improve educational outcomes and support the healthy development and well-being of children in the neighborhood. The plan must describe how the applicant will:

  • Build community support for the continuum of solutions
  • Ensure that children and youth in the neighborhood and the target schools have access to the continuum of solutions
  • Plan for and implement high-quality early learning programs, as well as programs that prepare students for college and career
  • Leverage and integrate high-quality programs and related public and private investments
  • Identify Federal, State or local policies and regulations that may serve as barriers to the continuum

3) Specify how a comprehensive needs assessment and segmentation analysis will be conducted to ensure that all children – particularly those with the highest needs – receive appropriate services from the continuum

4) Describe lessons learned thus far and how the applicant will build the capacity of its management team and project director, particularly as it relates to:

  • Engaging residents, government leaders and community stakeholders
  • Collecting, analyzing and using data for decision-making
  • Creating formal and informal partnerships to build the continuum of solutions and garner necessary resources in the community
  • Building a governance board that holds partners accountable, is representative of the geographic area and includes resident participation
  • Securing and integrating funding from multiple public and private resources

5) Describe the commitment to working with ED and a national Promise Neighborhoods evaluator



Overview of Implementation Grants 

As with the 2011 competition, the main component of the Implementation Grant proposal is the description of the continuum of solutions. The proposal must identify:

  • Each solution within the continuum and include an appendix that summarizes how the solution is derived from the best available evidence
  • The partners that will participate in the implementation of each solution
  • The estimated per child cost of the solution, as well as the source of funds that will pay for each solution
  • How data was used to target the children and youth that will be served by each solution

Similar to the Planning Grants, the Implementation Grant proposals must also address the applicant’s commitment to achieving results and sustaining the continuum by:

  • Identifying Federal, State and local policies that may impede the success of the continuum
  • Collecting annual data and establishing annual growth goals, including how the continuum will reach more students in the neighborhood and its target school(s) over time
  • Building and maintaining a governance structure that builds the capacity of the management team, strengthens community partnerships and integrates funding streams from multiple public and private sources to fund the continuum over time

Stay tuned to our blog for more detailed guidance and resources about the 2012 Promise Neighborhoods competition.

Department of Education Resources: 

2012 Planning Grant Application

2012 Implementation Grant Application

2012 Promise Neighborhood FAQs

2012 Promise Neighborhoods At-A-Glance

2012 Application Tips (This document includes important information about the electronic submission of applications)

Other Resources: 

Making a Difference In Your NeighborhoodCenter for the Study of Social PolicyPromise Neighborhoods Institute