SouthernCarolina Alliance Region wins Promise Zone Designation to Build Community Prosperity

April 28, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration announced today eight additional Promise Zones across the country, including six cities, one rural area, and one tribal community.

Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other priorities identified by the community.  Through the Promise Zone designation, these communities will work directly with federal, state and local agencies to give local leaders proven tools to improve the quality of life in some of the country’s most vulnerable areas.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new Promise Zone designations in the following communities: 

Camden, New Jersey

Hartford, Connecticut

Indianapolis, Indiana

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sacramento, California

St. Louis/St. Louis County, Missouri

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota

South Carolina Low Country

(the counties of Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper)

“The Promise Zone designation for our region creates exciting opportunities for our people,” said SouthernCarolina Alliance President and CEO Danny Black.  “As the lead regional organization in this effort, we look forward to working with our partners at the municipal, county, regional, state and federal levels, in both the public and private sectors, to identify, pursue and implement programs that will bring real economic development, community development and workforce training opportunities to our communities.”

Black added, “There are challenges in our rural communities that need to be addressed, including infrastructure needs, educational challenges, improved workforce training, healthcare delivery, and community and economic development assistance.  We will work closely with the USDA and other federal partners to leverage public and private investment to bring real progress and opportunity to the region, especially in the creation of private sector jobs.”

“From my time as Mayor to my tenure as Secretary, I’ve seen first-hand how a Promise Zone designation can spark progress and possibilities in underserved neighborhoods,” said HUD Secretary Castro.  “A zip code should never limit the hopes that folks have for themselves or for their children.  We’re proud to be working with a wide-variety of local leaders to strengthen neighborhoods and to unlock doors of opportunity that have been closed for far too long.”

“The Promise Zone effort is proof positive that partnerships are the key to community economic development,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “Families and children in rural and tribal communities are full of potential to compete and succeed in the 21st Century.  When we invest our resources and establish long-lasting public-private alliances to strengthen educational opportunities, deliver health care, build infrastructure and create jobs, we are investing in our country’s future.”

To highlight the rural zone designations of the SouthernCarolina Alliance region and South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted media calls for South Carolina and South Dakota.

Today’s Promise Zone communities were selected from 123 applications from 36 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. Each urban, rural, and tribal Promise Zone applicant was asked to put together a clear description of how the Promise Zone designation would accelerate and strengthen the community’s own efforts at comprehensive community revitalization.  Each Promise Zone will be coordinated by a lead community based organization in partnership with the Obama Administration.  HUD will be the federal lead for the six urban designees, while USDA will serve as the lead federal partner to the tribal and rural Promise Zones.

All Promise Zones will receive priority access to federal investments that further their strategic plans, federal staff on the ground to help them implement their goals, and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage volunteers and strengthen the capacity of the Promise Zone initiatives.

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