Promise Zones Overview

A child's zip code should never determine her destiny; but today, the community she grows up in impacts her odds of graduating high school, her health outcomes, and her lifetime economic opportunities. For kids who don't get an equal start in life, President Obama is committed to partnering with local leaders to give them proven tools to rebuild and put people back to work. It will take a collaborative effort - between private business and federal, state, and local officials; faith-based and non-profit organizations; and striving kids and parents - to ensure that hard work leads to a decent living for every American in every community.

Building on those efforts, in his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out an initiative to designate a number of urban, rural and tribal communities as Promise Zones. 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. The 22 urban, rural, and tribal Promise Zones were selected through three rounds of national competition, in which applicants demonstrated a consensus vision for their community and its residents, the capacity to carry it out, and a shared commitment to specific, measurable results.

Promise Zone Benefits

The Promise Zone designation partners the Federal government with local leaders who are addressing multiple community revitalization challenges in a collaborative way. Promise Zone Designees will receive:

  • An opportunity to engage five AmeriCorps VISTA members in the Promise Zone's work
  • A federal liaison assigned to help designees navigate federal programs
  • Preferences for certain competitive federal grant programs and technical assistance from participating federal agencies
  • Promise Zone tax incentives, if enacted by Congress

Altogether, this package of assistance will accelerate local efforts.   The Promise Zone designation will last for a term of 10 years.  During this term, the specific benefits made available to Promise Zones will vary from year to year, and sometimes more often than annually, due to changes in the agency policies and changes in appropriations and authorizations for relevant programs. 

Promise Zone Designations

On January 9, 2014, President Obama announced the First Round Promise Zone designations in a ceremony at the White House. On April 28, 2015, the Obama Administration announced the Second Round of Promise Zone designations.

On June 6, 2016, the Obama Administration announced the third and final round of Promise Zones designations. The announcement brings the total number of designated Promise Zones to 22 communities across the country.

Federal Government Partners

HUD has compiled funding opportunities and program information from the 13 federal partners who are participating in the Promise Zones initiative. View a list of the federal agencies along with the programs affiliated with the Promise Zones initiative.

The information made available on the Promise Zones website about programs, technical assistance and other supports will be useful to non-designated communities working on community revitalization efforts. All of the programs that provide preferential access to Promise Zones are also available to other communities.

For further updates and information on programs and activities relevant for community revitalization efforts nationwide, please subscribe to the Promise Zone mailing list.