South Ward Promise Neighborhood (SWPN) announced today that the organization is one of seven nationwide to receive a $30 million one-to-one matching U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods Program grant to continue its groundbreaking work to improve the lives of Newark’s South Ward families. The grant will help SWPN expand its reach to two additional South Ward neighborhoods – Lower Clinton Hill and Weequahic – for an additional five years.


“Over the last five years, South Ward Promise Neighborhood has worked tirelessly to uplift children and families in the South Ward of Newark by providing access to quality schools and creating a network of partners that offer financial assistance, healthcare resources, and community support services,” said Sen. Booker, who wrote in support of the grant application. “I was proud to support this federal grant funding, which will allow South Ward Promise Neighborhood to continue its vital work for an additional five years, and I look forward to seeing the transformative impact this organization will continue to have on Newark’s youth and families.”


SWPN is the only minority-led organization to be awarded the Promise Neighborhoods grant twice in a row. In December 2017, the U.S. Department of Education awarded South Ward Promise Neighborhood (formerly known as South Ward Children’s Alliance) with a $30 million, five-year Promise Neighborhood grant to bring partners from across the City of Newark together to serve South Ward families. Since then, SWPN has grown into a powerful, collaborative effort of more than 26 organizations working together to support families and children in the South Ward.


“The South Ward Promise Neighborhood is an organization that is doing exceptional work to create educational opportunities that prepare our youth for college and their future careers,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. “I know these Department of Education grants will help them to continue that work as well as build more quality and affordable housing, improve maternal and infant health, and open more high-quality schools in the future.”


SWPN is committed to giving all children in the South Ward of Newark access to quality schools and strong family and community support systems. SWPN serves as the anchor organization of a powerful collaborative effort working together to lift up South Ward families and children by offering critical support services, including access to high-quality early childhood education, healthcare housing, financial help, employment, medical, and mental health resources. Since the initial grant was awarded in 2017, SWPN has impacted the South Ward community in numerous ways, including:


·    The creation and management of seven Collaborative Action Networks (CANs) to collaborate and align strategies, expertise, and resources to identify needs crafting targeted approaches to address neighborhood challenges with hyper-local and population-level solutions. These CANs support a cradle to college and career spectrum, providing much-needed resources to families as they move through various stages of their lives

·    Designed the Promise Navigation Model, a longitudinal database that supports and tracks the success of South Ward students and their families across key life milestones from cradle to career, allowing one central location where service providers can review a profile of families to ensure the provision of adequate services are delivered


“South Ward Promise Neighborhood has reached so many Newark families by providing much-needed resources over the years, and the results have been incredibly promising,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were there to help residents get to doctor appointments, work, and to the grocery store, and when it was safe to be back together again, they remained committed to our community. With the continued funding, I look forward to seeing the impact this organization and its network of partners will have on the lives of children and families for years to come.”


The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on many South Ward families, and SWPN quickly sprang into action to address the urgent needs of families by launching a COVID-19 text hotline, delivering over 4,000 health and wellness care packages, providing over $100,000 in cash assistance from the SWPA Family Hub, distributing over 200,000 masks and providing critical support services during a time of need.


“South Ward Promise Neighborhood is a truly collaborative effort that is following through on its promise to ensure every child and family in Newark’s South Ward has access to excellent schools and a strong support system that will prepare them for academic and career success,” said Dominique Lee, Founder and CEO of BRICK Education Network. “Change doesn’t happen overnight, and we are thrilled to continue our work to increase access to the high-quality education, housing and health care services our families deserve.”


Over the next five years, SWPN will look to expand its reach to more South Ward families through the following:


·    Building more quality affordable housing

·    Advancing health equity and addressing maternal and infant health by opening the South Ward Wellness Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center, in the heart of the Clinton Avenue corridor

·    Supporting new parents and children through the South Ward Healthy Beginnings (SWHB), 0 – 5 initiative

·    New school development

·    Deepening and expanding the support of our 26 Partners in Promise initiatives


“South Ward Promise Neighborhood has worked tirelessly to fulfill its promise to Newark’s South Ward families by building an ecosystem of free, quality services to help our children thrive both in school and at home,” said Nichelle Holder, Chief Program Officer, South Ward Promise Neighborhood. “From birth through college and a career, South Ward Promise Neighborhood is there for the families we serve at every stage of their lives. Thanks to this additional funding, we can continue making a difference for our friends and neighbors as we look to advance health equity, improve health and educational outcomes and increase access to quality affordable housing.”


The Promise Neighborhoods Program grant supports organizations like South Ward Promise Neighborhood that are dedicated to breaking down barriers to access by providing academic and social support for children in underserved communities. The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that the department awarded over $40 million in grants to seven organizations across the nation.


“South Ward Promise Neighborhood has been a game-changer for Newark’s South Ward families, and we are incredibly grateful that our meaningful work providing a quality education will continue,” said Deniqua Matias, Executive Director, Clinton Hill Community and Early Childhood Center. “The future looks promising for South Ward families, and we are excited to increase the number of children and families South Ward Promise Neighborhood serves for years to come.”

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