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December 20, 2016

Drexel, Camden nonprofit awarded $6 million to benefit local students

Greater-Philadelphia area students will have improved access to higher education thanks to a grant awarded to local organizations, federal officials announced Tuesday.

Drexel University in Philly and the Center for Family Services in Camden, New Jersey, were among six recipients of funding from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the 2016 Promise Neighborhoods competition. The agency doled out $32.7 million this year, including $6 million each to Drexel and the Center for Family Services.

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said the grants will allow educational institutions to offer community-based services to children and families nationwide.

“These grants will provide cradle-to-career support for at-risk children in communities across the country, offering meaningful resources that will help them achieve their potential,” King said.

Drexel will receive $5,999,814 that will go toward its Promise of a Strong Partnership for Education Reform – or  ProSPER program – which is focused on improving early learning development, providing quality affordable housing and aiding high school students' transitions to college.

The program will serve students in grades K-12 at seven city schools: Alain Locke, Belmont Charter School, Martha Washington, Morton McMichael, Samuel Powel Elementary, Science Leadership Academy Middle School and West Philadelphia High School.

Across the Delaware River, the Center for Family Services in Camden will receive $6 million. Its project, the Camden Promise Neighborhood Implementation, will expand community programs in neighborhoods disproportionately affected by poverty. The target zone for the program includes the neighborhoods of Bergen Square, Centerville, Cooper Lanning and Liberty Park.

Both grants will fund only the first year of five-year plans. Additional funding will be subject to future congressional approval.

The U.S. Secretary of Education began handing out Promise Neighborhoods awards in 2010. So far, $286 million has been given out to 700 schools. However, this year's grants are the first to be awarded since 2012.

The other winners of this year's grants are Berea College in Kentucky, Delta Health Alliance in Mississippi, Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians in California and Youth Policy Institute in California.