A local nonprofit that offers education, job training and technology services to moderate- and low-income Angelenos was one of seven organizations nationwide to receive a prestigious federal education grant worth $30 million, it was announced today.
The Department of Education awarded the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood grant to the Youth Policy Institute, a nonprofit that aims to reduce poverty by providing free comprehensive social services to K-12 students and their families.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said children "must be safe, healthy, and supported by adults across an entire community to reach their fullest potential." He congratulated YPI "for their work to provide families and children with the support they need to help break the cycle of poverty in their community."
The grant will allow the agency to secure nearly $600 million in matching funds from the city, county and 69 partner businesses, private donors, colleges and other nonprofits.
YPI will use the money to fund services at 16 Los Angeles Unified School District and charter schools in Hollywood and Pacoima. The areas were selected based on a 2010 needs-assessment study that found high rates of poverty in the neighborhoods, where more than 50 percent of residents are foreign-born. The median household income in Pacoima was $36,000 the study found. About 14 percent of households in Hollywood were overcrowded and 30 percent of adults 25 years old and older had not earned a high school diploma, according to the study.
"This is a day full of hope for Los Angeles and the communities that YPI serves," the group's executive director, Dixon Slingerland, said. "The Promise Neighborhood program aligns with YPI's vision to deliver holistic quality resources that prepare every child for a successful college and career path."
The money will be used to support more full-time academic coaches and service coordinators at each of the schools to assess students' needs. Money will also be used to enhance tutoring and college-preparatory classes for students and adult literacy, job training and technology training and access for their parents.
"This is a huge shot in the arm for our work to put our kids first and make sure they are career ready," Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose district includes part of Hollywood, said. "I'm proud to have backed YPI in winning this grant. They are an organization squarely focused on results."
Which Hollywood Schools Will Benefit?
The Hollywood schools that will benefit from the funding include: Ramona, Grant and Santa Monica Charter elementary schools; Le Conte Middle School; Bernstein Complex and APEX Academy Charter.
"This significant federal grant award ... clearly demonstrates the power of partnerships in Los Angeles," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "It is a winning combination when the city, the non-profit community, and philanthropy work closely together. This $30 million award recognizes that L.A. is a model of collaboration and cooperation, and we are proud to have stepped up to the plate to support this beneficial project for Angeleno youth."
- City News Service