The “Promised” Neighborhood

Undeterred after being turned down for federal funding to create a “Promise Neighborhood,” Balsz Elementary School District took matters into their own hands.

Approximately 2,600 students in the Balsz School District face poverty, homelessness, and parent incarceration with many of the families unable to meet even their most basic needs. The Promise Neighborhood grant program in essence helps revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods and improve student outcomes by building educational programs and family and community supports.

Without federal funding, the “Promise” seemed a distant dream until the school board and a coalition of business and community partners decided to follow the “Promise Neighborhood” model anyway.

Through generous local support, in-kind donations, volunteerism, and other small grants, the Balsz Promise Neighborhood leveraged over $450,000 for their “Neighborhood” project.

The district now has a new Boys & Girls Club branch that serves more than 300 youths daily. The Promise Field is a renovated multi-use sports and recreation space for youth and adults. The Youth Advisory Council promotes leadership, civic engagement, and community service for teens. Thanks to partnerships with several health centers the community can access affordable, high-quality health care. A volunteer income tax assistance program offers free tax preparation services and has brought more than $300,000 in refunds back into the community and several organizations provide financial coaching and help individuals get jobs.

With continued work and support this board and coalition kept and built on their promise!

Learn more about Balsz Elementary School District, Phoenix, Arizona at www.balsz.org