Last month the Obama administration awarded twenty organizations with Promise Neighborhood Grants, dedicated towards providing children who grow up in specific neighborhoods with access to good schools and strong family and community support systems. The organizations being awarded the grants include non-profits, institutions of higher education, and an Indian tribe. Originally more than 200 organizations from 45 states, including American Samoa and Puerto Rico, applied for the 2011 grants.
The Elmezzi Foundation, a local non-profit in Long Island City, Queens that runs youth and community development programs, has been one of those awarded a $500,000 Promise Neighborhood Planning Grant. With it the foundation hopes to create an educational support and tracking program, called Zone 126, for children living in the Astoria Houses complex.
Zone 126, which covers the Queens zip code areas 11101, 11102, and 11106, is a cradle-to-career initiative which has the following goals in mind:
- To prepare every child for kindergarten
- To have every student receive the best K-8 education
- To have every student succeed in high school
- To have every student build a career starting from college
- To help every child maintain optimal health
- To make every parent receive the best support
If Zone 126 has a successful run during its planning stage, it can qualify to apply for a Promise Neighborhood Implementation Grant in the future. The Elmezzi Foundation was founded by Thomas Elmezzi, a former head of operations at Pepsi-Co, and his wife Jeanne Elmezzi. For more information about Promise Neighborhood Grants, please visit the ED.gov website. Click here to learn more about both the Elmezzi Foundation and Zone 126 initiative.