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Promise Zones

President Barack Obama talks with students and law enforcement officials about community relations and programs that build trust between youth and the police, at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden, N.J., May 18, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Obama Administration Announces Competition to Designate the Third and Final Round of Promise Zones

On December 18, 2015, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that communities may now apply to be designated a Promise Zone under the third and final round competition.

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, 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.

Urban, rural, and tribal communities nationwide are invited to put forward plans to address multiple community revitalization challenges in a collaborative way. Communities that are designated will also demonstrate strong capacity to implement, accountability to clear goals, and a commitment to results.

Any community meeting the eligibility criteria can apply for a designation. HUD and USDA will designate seven Promise Zones across urban, rural and tribal communities for the final round. The deadline for submitting Promise Zone applications is Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 5:00 PM EST. Announcements will be made in the Spring of 2016.

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.

Resources for Applicants

A Notice has been posted to the Federal Register with information on how to apply.

View the urban, rural and tribal application guides, the Promise Zones Fact Sheet, and the Frequently Asked Questions.

Application related questions should be directed by email to:

To receive announcements and funding and technical assistance opportunities, please join the Promise Zone mailing list.

Promise Zones News & Announcements

View All Promise Zones News & Announcements

Promise Zones Overview

Federal Resources for Rural and Tribal Communities

Funding and Technical Assistance Opportunities

2015 Promise Zone Federal Programs - Excel Spreadsheet

Certification Form and Guidance for Promise Zone Preference Points or Priority/Special Consideration

Community Development Marketplace

Third Round Competition

Third Round Press Release

Federal Register Notice

Third Round Application Request Form

PDF of Urban Application in MAX Survey

Promise Zones Mapping Tool

Third Round Urban Application Guide

Third Round Urban Application Checklist

Third Round Rural and Tribal Application Guide

Third Round Promise Zone Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions - Updated as of February 2016

Draft Overview of Promise Zone's Communications, Reporting & Data Sharing Framework

Third Round Promise Zone Competition Informational Webcasts/Webinars

Urban Webcasts
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST
View webcast materials.

Monday, February 1, 2016
2:30 – 3:30 PM EST
View webcast materials.

Rural Webinar
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
1:30 – 2:30 PM EST
View webinar materials.

Tribal Webinar
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
3:30 – 4:30 PM EST
View webinar materials.

Mapping Tool and Max Survey Informational Sessions

Thursday, January 14, 2016
2:00 – 3:00 PM EST
View webinar materials.

Thursday, January 21, 2016
2:00 – 3:00 PM EST
View webinar materials.

Thursday, January 28, 2016,
2:00 – 3:00 PM EST
View webinar materials.

Archived Materials

Competition Application Material Archive

Third Round Public Comment Material Archive

Promise Zones Competition Webcast Archive


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The Rural Gateway is an information clearinghouse providing technical assistance, training workshops, and peer learning and resource sharing to support rural housing and economic development.


Please email questions about Promise Zones to

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