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Promise Neighborhoods

NRC Workshop Feature: Data and Community Engagement

The following post was written by Kendall Reingold, summer intern for the Alliance for Children and Families Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building.  She is an undergraduate student who has been assisting with the planning of the 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference.
In this digital age of transparency, the openness of data matters. Especially in issues that concern communities. To effect individual and neighborhood-level change in American communities, today’s top non-profits are putting data in the hands of community members themselves.
The 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, co-sponsored by the Alliance for Children and Families and the Center for the Study of Social Policy, addresses this connection between data and communities in a workshop entitled “Engaging Community in Data Collection, Analysis, and Planning.”  Presenters Elsa Falkenburger, Leah Hendey, and Kathryn Pettit of the Urban Institute and Isaac Castillo of Alliance member organization the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) will lead the workshop.
Castillo, DCPNI’s Director of Data and Evaluation, emphasizes the importance of presenting data to residents in meaningful ways. “At DCPNI, we strive to include residents in the data collection process," he says. "We want residents to use data; the best way to get residents to use data is to have them involved from the point the data are collected through when the data are released publicly.”  This type of inclusive approach is important for all organizations trying to enhance their engagement efforts.
The interactive skill-building workshop, held on July 24, the first day of the Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, will showcase efforts to combine the skills of research experts with the deep knowledge that community residents have of their neighborhoods, as well as examples from the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and the DC Promise Neighborhood of sharing data with community groups to spur new conversations and inform strategies.
Early bird registration for the Neighborhood Revitalization Conference is available online until June 24.  For the latest details about the conference and these presenters, stay tuned on Twitter.  Follow the Alliance’s Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building and keep up with conference news using the hashtag #NRC14.  You can also follow Isaac Castillo and the Urban Institute for updates on their work in engaging communities with data.

Department of Education Announces There Will Be No New Promise Neighborhoods Grants in FY2013

On May 17, the US Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) announced that, due to funding restrictions under the FY2013 Continuing Resolution, they will not fund any new Promise Neighborhoods grants in fiscal year 2013 (which runs through September 30, 2013). Existing grants awarded in previous fiscal years will continue to be funded according to the terms of the existing grant agreements, but no new Promise Neighborhoods competition will be held. OII will continue to fund six other existing grant competitions: Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination, Charter Schools Program Non-SEA, Investing in Innovation (i3), Magnet Schools Assistance Program, School Leadership Program, and Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED). Five of these grant competitions are currently underway, and the sixth—Charter Schools Program Non-SEA—will begin “shortly.” However, these six programs may be funded at reduced levels due to the FY2013 Continuing Resolution. The ongoing acrimonious budget impasse in Congress may lead to a permanent reduction in funding or elimination of several Education programs, as well as grant programs in other departments, as we move into FY2014. You can follow the budget discussion in the media and learn more about the White House, Senate, and House proposed federal budgets for FY2014. You can also contact your Senators and your Congressional Representative and urge them prioritize these vital community development programs as they continue to debate the budget.

Upcoming Webinar: Nashville’s Community Engaged Research

Nashville Promise Neighborhood will release the results of their recent community survey, as well as explain their innovative survey model, in a webinar on Thursday, May 16th from 4-5:30 p.m. ET. Nashville Promise Neighborhood, along with their data partner, Vanderbilt University, completed 485 door-to-door surveys in three Nashville census tracts in just three weekends with the help of graduate students, AmeriCorps volunteers, and agency staff. Learn about their survey design and execution, and how you can implement similar “community engaged research” in your own community needs assessments. This webinar is open to any individual or organization interested in learning about community surveys. Participants will learn more about: community engaged research, sampling strategies that can inform your needs assessment, rapid data collection tools, and models for successful academic and community collaboration. Such well-designed surveys are vital to measuring the impact of any neighborhood development initiative. In 2011, Nashville was one of 20 communities to win a Department of Education Promise Neighborhood grant. The Promise Neighborhoods program aims to target specific challenges faced by high-poverty communities across the country by providing resources to plan and implement “cradle to career” services. Plans are holistic and include improving a neighborhood’s health and safety, expanding access to technology and Internet connectivity, and boosting family engagement in schools. Nashville Promise Neighborhood has brought together government organizations, non-profits (including UNCA member the Martha O’Bryan Center), schools, universities and neighbors to create a zone of “effective cradle-to-career continuum of services” for over 6,000 children and families in the “Stratford cluster” neighborhood in Nashville. Register for the webinar to learn more about how they are measuring the impact of their work.

Promise Neighborhoods Winners Announced

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the winners of Promise Neighborhoods Planning or Implementation grants. The list of winners can be found on the website of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute.

Congratulations to the following UNCA members for their winning applications:

Implementation Grants
Five Promises for Two Generations (DCPNI) in Washington, DC

Youth Policy Institute and the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood

Planning Grants
Cypress Hills Promise Neighborhood  in Brooklyn, NY

ED Issues Call for Promise Neighborhoods Peer Reviewers

In anticipation of its FY2012 Planning and Implementation Grant Competitions, the Promise Neighborhoods Team has issued a call for peer reviewers:

The Department encourages individuals from various backgrounds and professions with content expertise to apply to be a peer reviewer for the FY2012 Promise Neighborhoods Planning and Implementation Competitions. If you are interested in serving as a peer reviewer for the FY2012 Promise Neighborhoods Planning and/ or Implementation Competitions, please see the FY2012 Call for Peer Reviewers, which describes the necessary qualifications. If you meet the necessary qualifications please complete the Peer Reviewer Application. All applications must be complete no later than June 8, 2012.


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by Dr. Radut