Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Report Explores Framework for State-Level Promise Zones as Way to Tackle Poverty
Press Release

RELEASE: New CAP Report Explores Framework for State-Level Promise Zones as Way to Tackle Poverty

As New State Governments Prepare to Convene in Early 2015, State Promise Zones Offer an Area of Potential Bipartisan Compromise

Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress offers a framework for states to implement comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to revitalize high-poverty areas through state Promise Zones. CAP’s report outlines the tools already at states’ disposal to invest in high-poverty communities—as the Obama administration has done through its federal Promise Zones initiative—and to create their own Promise Zones efforts. By pairing communities committed to thoughtful planning and evidence-based models with the resources needed to generate greater economic opportunity, states can ensure that available resources are leveraged to have a greater impact in high-poverty areas, CAP’s report notes.

“As states look for innovative ways to combat poverty, the state Promise Zones model offers a pioneering and effective framework for leveraging available resources,” said Tracey Ross, CAP Senior Policy Analyst and co-author of the report. “Many state governments will convene in 2015 with one party controlling the state House and another controlling the governor’s mansion. The state Promise Zones framework offers an area of potential bipartisan compromise in those states and around the country in 2015 and beyond.”

“As a result of past policy choices, underinvested communities can today be found across the country—communities that suffer from problems ranging from inferior housing and infrastructure to poor health outcomes, underperforming schools, and little to no economic opportunities,” said Melissa Boteach, Vice President of CAP’s Poverty to Prosperity Program and co-author of the report. “State policymakers have important tools at their disposal to partner with communities and leverage their investments to expand opportunity in high-poverty areas, as outlined in CAP’s state Promise Zones framework.”

The federal Promise Zones model capitalizes on years of research and experimentation in understanding how to revitalize low-income urban, rural, and tribal communities and demonstrates new ways leaders can work with local communities. CAP’s report outlines how, building off the federal Promise Zones model, states can incentivize cross-sector teams of leaders in high-poverty communities to undertake a comprehensive planning process, identify key challenges on which to focus, develop concrete outcomes to address those challenges, and create a shared plan to meet those goals.

Since states and localities undertake most direct spending on public goods and services; bear primary responsibility for investments in education, social services, and infrastructure; and administer a large share of federal discretionary funding, state leaders have great potential to effect change through the state Promise Zones model without federal policy change.

Click here to read “A Framework for State-Level Promise Zones” by Tracey Ross and Melissa Boteach.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Allison Preiss at 202.478.6331 or [email protected].