Berea College Receives $30 Million Promise Neighborhood Grant

President Obama announced today that Berea College in Kentucky is one of five Promise Neighborhood implementation grant recipients. This cradle-to-career initiative will fund work in Clay, Jackson and Owsley Counties in Kentucky.

“Berea College has had a history of serving the Appalachian region through education of students on campus and in outreach to our community and beyond,” said President Larry D. Shinn. “This Promise Neighborhood grant builds upon the already extensive educational services provided to distressed and low-income counties in Berea’s Appalachian service region. We feel privileged to be selected as the only Promise Neighborhood grantee working in rural America. We take the responsibility of service to communities beyond Berea very seriously and feel an even greater responsibility to serve well the Promise Neighborhood communities.”

More than 200 organizations from 45 states, as well as American Samoa and Puerto Rico, applied for 2011 Promise Neighborhoods planning and implementation grants. Berea College will be awarded a first-year grant of $6 million, totaling up to $30 million across the five-year life of the grant, which will support implementation of cradle-to-career services to improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children.

“Promise Neighborhoods recognizes that children need to be surrounded by systems of support inside and outside of the classroom to help them be successful in school and beyond,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“Long-lasting change for kids living in poverty is only possible if we consider the communities in which they live,” says Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs for Save the Children, a partner in Berea’s Promise Neighborhood. “A brighter future for Kentucky means ensuring a brighter future for Kentucky’s kids. We’re thrilled to partner in this Promise Neighborhood with Berea College and other community based organizations to make change for Kentucky’s kids.”

The Promise Neighborhoods program aims to address significant challenges faced by students and families living in high-poverty communities by providing resources to plan and implement a continuum of services from early learning to college and career. Plans include a range of services from improving a neighborhood’s health, safety, and stability to expanding access to learning technology and Internet connectivity, and boosting family engagement in student learning.