Business First of Buffalo

A collaborative group in the City of Buffalo has won a $500,000 federal grant to help support children and families living in poverty.

The Promise Neighborhood Planning Grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, will be used to create a "cradle to career" pipeline of educational, community development and wraparound services for children and their families.

The Buffalo Promise was a collaborative grant submission lead by the Westminster Foundation with partners including M&T Bank, Buffalo Public Schools, The John R. Oishei Foundation, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Catholic Charities of Buffalo, the Buffalo Urban League, the University at Buffalo, the City of Buffalo and Read to Succeed Buffalo.

The collaborative group was among 21 organizations nationwide to receive the one-year grants. More than 300 communities from 48 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications.

The project is patterned after the Harlem Children's Zone. Organizers selected a neighborhood around the Westminster Charter School and Highgate Heights Elementary School extending across to UB's South Campus and down Main Street to Bennett High School.

According to Helene Kramer, executive director at Read to Succeed, the grant will enable the community to work collaboratively with the Buffalo Public Schools to support children and families in poverty, giving them a fighting chance to succeed in school and in life.
The program, designed to serve children and young adults through age 23, will include continuum of accessible, linked best practice programs and high quality schools. Those programs will address such diverse issues as cleaning up neighborhoods, ensuring expectant mothers get good prenatal care, lead abatement in homes and early childhood education tightly aligned with elementary school.