The U.S. Department of Education announced yesterday that the East Nashville-based O'Bryan Center, founded in 1894, is one of 20 organizations selected nationwide for federal funding under the Obama Administration's year-old Promise Neighborhoods initiative. The nonprofit was awarded a $500,000 planning grant to shore up Internet connectivity and improve its arts and humanities curricula, according to information provided by the government.
“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 in a press release. “The 20 grantees announced today are spread out across the country, reflecting a broader nationwide movement to revitalize struggling communities by providing better access to health care, social and safety services partnered by great schools.”
More than 200 organizations across 45 states applied for the grants. Five organizations were selected to receive implementation grants worth up to $6 million. The remaining grantees, including Martha O'Bryan, received planning grants and are now one step closer to true Promise Neighborhoods status. No small feat.
Adapted from the popular Harlem Children's Zone model, Promise Neighborhoods is that rare government education program that recognizes student achievement isn't something that stops beyond the walls of the classroom, and seeks to connect students, their parents and schools with social services in their neighborhoods.