Promise Zones: Renewed Hope for the
American Dream in PA
January 16, 2014- Tom Joseph
- Hard-hit communities across the
nation, including one in Pennsylvania, are getting the opportunity to fulfill the
vision of a brighter future. President Obama has named Mantua, in West
Philadelphia, as one of five Promise Zones. The approach, said Judith Bell,
president of the social equity advocacy group PolicyLink, is not about
Washington cutting a big check to make Mantua's problems go away.
"This is the federal government saying, 'Look, we're looking to places
that already have lots of leadership around the table - community leadership,
elected leadership, business leadership - that have already begun not just to
identify problems, but identify assets and identify approaches,'" Bell
The methodology used with Promise Zones gives those who live in struggling
communities more of a stake in their future, Bell added.
"Yes, this is the aim of the Promise Zone. This is the plan for getting
there. These are the resources that are going to be used to help this, and then
this is the way the place is going to be held accountable for making sure that
real results are seen," she explained.
The President said one key to making Promise Zones successful is for Congress
to act to offer tax credits to businesses that create jobs.
With Promise Zones, the federal government will work alongside municipalities
and neighborhood groups with conditions and clear-cut goals in mind. The
announcement of the designations came on the 50th anniversary of President
Lyndon B. Johnson's declaration of the "War on Poverty."