Promesa Boyle Heights - Press Release

                                                                                                December 19, 2011



The U.S. Department of Education today announced the recipients of the Promise Neighborhood grant program that aims to improve the educational attainment and healthy development of children. While the Boyle Heights Promise Neighborhood was not selected as an implementation grantee during this round of funding, the Boyle Heights community remains energized and ready to begin implementing the ambitious plan we developed to ensure student success and community stability.

This past year, Promesa Boyle Heights galvanized parents, youth, and teachers to develop a plan on how to collectively transform a thirty-block area of Boyle Heights. The plan includes everything from instructional and school reforms to services and system changes that ensure stable housing, emotional wellness, safe public spaces, and economic development. 

“There is no turning back. The Boyle Heights community managed to build a wave of energy for school and community change that cannot be deterred,” said Cynthia Sanchez, Executive Director, Proyecto Pastoral. “There is no doubt that the Promise Neighborhood grant would have accelerated the implementation of our plan. But in the end, we are a Promise Neighborhood because of the passion and shared commitment to improving the life of children and families in Boyle Heights. We will leverage the momentum that we’ve built in the community to raise the resources that will be needed to implement the plan and to sustain our work in the long term.”
“While saddened that we did not receive the grant, Mendez is committed to continue to work with the numerous community members, organizations, and educators who have worked tirelessly during the planning phase of the grant, said Principal Mauro Bautista, Mendez Learning Center’s School of Math and Science. “In regards to our work, this is not the end, but only the beginning.”

 “Although we are greatly disappointed with the news – we congratulate the communities that received funding and hope to work together,” said Maria Brenes, Executive Director, InnerCity Struggle. “Boyle Heights has a long history of bringing together community residents to solve their own problems and we will continue to build from this legacy and work to ensure our local schools and community supports every child and young person to succeed.”

"El Centro de Ayuda is proud to be part of The Boyle Heights Promised Neighborhood,” said Raul Estrada, Executive Director, El Centro de Ayuda. “Although we were not recommended for Funding by the Department of Education, we stand committed to  continue to move forward in our effort to provide an increased level of  Clinical and Mental Health Services to low income, inner city youth in support of  a pathway to higher education.”

“The transformation of schools and neighborhoods to improve the economic and social conditions in Boyle Heights is a priority for community members. Regardless of funding from the Department of Education, we will continue to find ways to implement the strategies that community members have identified.” said Elizabeth Blaney, Director of Union de Vecinos.

“As a community we understand the importance of early care and education programs and services in narrowing the academic achievement gap,” said Angelica Solis, Executive Director, Alliance for a Better Community. “While we are disappointment with the news today, we will continue advocating on behalf of our youngest learners to ensure their success in school and in life.”

“Dolores Mission is committed to working with the various partner organizations that have worked these months on the Promise Neighborhood grant proposal,” said Father Scott Pastor of the Dolores Mission Parish. “We made this decision for the good of our young people whether we would obtain the funding or not. There is simply too much at stake for organizations like ours, Proyecto Pastoral, and others not to collaborate.”

Additional highlights from the Boyle Heights Promise Neighborhood plan:

The plan was developed and voted on over the course of sixty planning meetings by a General Assembly of 80 residents, youth, and educators and over 4,000 residents were engaged in the planning process.

At the end of the planning process, 135 residents and teachers signed commitment forms, representing their investment of time and effort that will continue throughout the PN implementation phase.

Over the last year, we have leveraged our DOE planning grant with an additional $959,000 in financial investments from private sources to support PN and have secured $34.4 million in in-kind support towards implementation of our plan.




Deycy Avitia, Boyle Heights Promise Neighborhood Project Director
(310) 500-7634
Cynthia Sanchez, Executive Director, Proyecto Pastoral
(323) 323-881-0016