The Promise Neighborhood Initiative

Berea College was awarded one of five national Promise Neighborhood grants in December 2011. The College also holds the distinction of being the first grantee to serve a rural area. Modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, our Promise Neighborhood provides deep community supports for youth. Working to ensure success for young people from the cradle to the career, Promise Neighborhood staff deliver services along the pipeline shown below, working with children as they travel through the pipeline and strengthening the support structures, both in the community and at home. This holistic approach is bringing new exper- tise to our Department as we add work in the areas of early childhood and in health and wellness.

Our Promise Neighborhood includes Clay County, Jackson County and Owsley County and is located southeast of Berea.


Our vision is that all children and youth growing up in our Promise Neighborhood have access to great schools and strong systems of family and community support that will prepare them to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and a career. The purpose of our Promise Neighborhood is to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in our most distressed communities, and to transform those communities by:

  • Identifying and increasing the capacity of organizations focused on achieving results for children and youth throughout an entire neighborhood
  • Building a complete continuum of cradle-to-career solutions of both educational programs and family and community supports, with great schools at the center
  • Integrating programs and breaking down agency “silos” so that solutions are implemented effectively and efficiently across agencies
  • Developing the local infrastructure of systems and resources needed to sustain and scale up proven, effective solutions across the broader region beyond the initial neighborhood
  • Learning about the overall impact of the program and about the relationship between particular strategies in the Promise Neighborhood and student outcomes, including through rigorous program evaluation