Mayor Eric Garcetti in scene from slow jam video. Photo via
Mayor Eric Garcetti in scene from slow jam video. Photo via

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that eight Los Angeles schools — seven in Pico-Union and one in Hollywood — will share a $30 million federal grant for educational and community-based services to help low- income children and families.

The Promise Neighborhood grant, administered by the Youth Policy Institute, will be allocated over the next five years by the U.S. Department of Education. The initiative was former President Barack Obama’s signature education and anti-poverty program.

To execute the program in Los Angeles, Garcetti’s office, in partnership with a group of city, county and nonprofit partners, will develop and deliver services including early childhood development, social-emotional support, academic support and college and career coaching.

The grant “is more than an award — it’s a challenge that Los Angeles is proud to accept,” Garcetti said.

“Initiatives like Promise Zones and Promise Neighborhoods are broadening the idea of what we can accomplish when federal, state and local governments join forces with schools, community organizations, philanthropists and businesses to make a difference in our communities,” he said. “We’re telling every family, and every child, that a ZIP code is not a destiny — and we’re not going to stop creating opportunities.”

Of the 4,000 students located within the new Promise Neighborhood, 71 percent come from families living below the poverty line.

“The children of working-class, chiefly Central American immigrants in Los Angeles, face hurdles that a lot of Angelenos don’t have to think about,” Councilman Gil Cedillo said. “The vision of the Promise Neighborhood is to break down the barriers between them and the resources they deserve that will let them participate fully in the fabric of our city and follow their own dreams.”

YPI, the administrator of the grant, will use the funding to provide educational and community services to students from early learning through 12th grade and into post-secondary education. In addition to the federal funds, the Promise Neighborhood program requires a private funding match, $7 million of which has already been committed.

The Promise Neighborhood tells students growing up in the Pico-Union and Hollywood neighborhoods that there’s a village behind them,” said Steve Zimmer, president of the Los Angeles Unified School District board.

“By bringing educational and social supports into schools, by creating links from students and their parents to businesses, community-serving organizations and the educational system, we can start to level the playing field and create the conditions for success,” Zimmer said.

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