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Federal Urban Policy (General)

Funding Opportunity: Connecting Kids to Health Coverage

A new federal funding opportunity to provide outreach and enrollment assistance for Medicaid and CHIP due to changes in health reform is available. You do not need to be directly providing health services in order to apply - the focus is on getting kids enrolled.

Applications are due February 21st. Grants are expected to be between $250,000 and $1 million each; a total of $32 million is available. Details about this grant opportunity can be found in the funding announcement and CHIPRA Outreach Grant website.

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Awards

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the winners of the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program Awards, including UNCA member East End Community Services of Dayton, Ohio.   A complete listing of award recipients is available here.

A new initiative, BCJI will help 15 neighborhoods nationwide tackle crime by developing innovative, data-driven and multi-faceted solutions.  Part of the Obama Administration's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI), the grants target locations or neighborhoods with significant levels of crime compared to the overall jurisdiction and reaffirm the vital role that community safety plays in neighborhood revitalization.

Congratulations, East End!

White House Hosts Forum on Urban Innovation

Earlier this week the White House opened its doors to community leaders from across the country for a Forum on Urban Innovation. The event brought Obama Administration officials together with an invited group of innovators to share best practices, talk through some of the challenges in the field, and discuss how the federal government can better support community-based efforts. The event also featured panels showcasing several successful local efforts, including the following:

  • Neighborhood Centers, Inc., an UNCA member that was awarded a planning grant from the Department of Education for Houston’s Gulfton Promise Neighborhood.
  • The City of Hartford, whose mayor presented on Opportunities Hartford, a citywide effort to expand existing educational, job and income opportunities in the city.
  • Venture Philanthropy Partners, a DC-based philanthropic investment organization whose YouthCONNECT resource on disconnected youth received a Social Innovation Fund grant.
  • IBM, whose Smarter Cities Initiative provides participating municipalities with a team of fellows to help tackle unique urban challenges.
  • The City of New York, where the Mayor’s Office has created a digital roadmap to connect jobseekers with employment.
  • McCormack Baron Salazar, an urban real estate development firm working as part of a HOPE SF, a Choice Neighborhoods implementation site in San Francisco.
  • The City of Pittsburgh, which is celebrating its “Third Renaissance” as it has diversified its economy with burgeoning employment fields and comprehensive community development efforts.
  • 100,000 Homes, a national movement of communities working together to find permanent homes for vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals and families.
  • The Jacobs Family Foundation, which showcased Market Creek Plaza, its community-owned commercial development in San Diego that utilized a community development IPO.

Participants had the opportunity to engage with other community-based practitioners and share candid feedback with Administration officials on a variety of key issues. Overall, the summit highlighted promising practices and saw a robust discussion of targeted solutions working on the neighborhood level. As attendees were encouraged to spread the word and engage in conversation online, talking points and follow up can be found on Twitter at #WHInnovation.

Obama Administration Opens Together For Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge

A new inter-agency initiative may provide an interesting opportunity for Promise Neighborhood communities. See below for a press release from Department of Education about the initiative.

Together for Tomorrow (TFT), the joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to spur community engagement in turning around our nation’s lowest performing schools, today launched its School Improvement Challenge for the 2012-13 school year on http://TFT.challenge.gov.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the launch today during a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa.  He said, “When it comes to turning around low-performing schools, the Department’s investments and the work of schools and districts aren’t the whole solution.  Our schools need the engagement of communities to support and sustain school improvement.  This Challenge will help foster partnerships to propel school improvement and produce better outcomes for students.”

"For decades, faith and community groups have been critical partners in strengthening schools," said Joshua DuBois, special assistant to the President and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  "In today's global economy, more needs to be done to provide every child an education that will enable them to succeed.  By mobilizing partnerships between faith and community-based groups and local schools, this Challenge will foster a sense of shared responsibility that is key to strengthening educational success for all our students."

“Time after time, we have seen how committed parents and community volunteers can make a powerful difference in the educational outcomes of our students," said Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer.   "Through this Challenge, we will shine the spotlight on the many ways citizens and communities can help young people achieve their best in school and prepare for success in life."

The Challenge is an opportunity for schools and districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations to join with other partners in efforts to improve their neediest schools by raising key measurable student outcomes: Attendance, Behavior, Course performance and College access, known as the ABCs.   Plans can be submitted to catalyze new partnerships as well as spotlight and expand exemplary initiatives already working to raise student achievement and strengthen a community culture of educational success.  Plans can encompass a single local community or a regional, state or national effort with multiple sites.   The Challenge is not a new grant program, but rather an approach to better coordinate  resources and efforts, including many through existing Education Department and CNCS programs.

All schools and communities that meet the criteria for the challenge will garner national recognition for their efforts and become part of the Together for Tomorrow learning network.  Selected applications will also be invited to attend a special event in Washington, D.C.

The Challenge announced today is being coordinated by the Education Department and is part of the Administration’s TFT initiative unveiled in February.  Focusing on achieving positive results for students in our nation’s lowest performing schools, TFT aims to change the fundamental relationship between schools and community partners so that education improvement is viewed as everyone’s responsibility.

Applicants have until June 29, 2012, to submit their plans.  Details on the challenge can be found at http://TFT.challenge.gov.

Promise Neighborhoods Deadline Extended

Posted on the Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods web site this afternoon.

Due to the impact of Hurricane Irene, the Department plans to extend the Promise Neighborhoods application deadline (for both planning and implementation grants) until 4:30 PM EST on Tuesday, September 13, 2011. We will officially announce the new deadline in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. Please continue to check the website for updates.

UNCA was among those asking for this extension due to flooding and power outages in much of the mid-Atlantic and northeast due to Hurricane Irene. Questions about the status of your application should be directed to the Department.


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by Dr. Radut