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Macon Children’s Promise Neighborhood

Macon Children’s Promise Neighborhood (MCPN) focuses on the Central South area of Macon, GA, a city of 92,775 that is 62% African-American. Although Macon is the cultural, educational, medical, and financial hub of Central Georgia (31 counties), it has lost population and jobs for over three decades. Southwest High School serves two neighborhoods, Central South and Bloomfield, with Central South located north and east of the school.

A remarkable group of partners came together to submit a planning grant application to the Promise Neighborhood program in June 2010.

The Federal Promise Neighborhood program will award one-year grants to support the development of a plan to implement a Promise Neighborhood that includes the core features described above. At the conclusion of the planning grant period, grantees should have a feasible plan to implement a continuum of solutions that will significantly improve results for children in the community being served. 

The partners in the MCPN MOU include: Bibb County Board of Education, Mayor’s Office, Bibb County Board of Commissioners, Mercer University (including Upward Bound), Central Georgia Technical College, Bibb County Department of Family and Children Services, United Way of Central Georgia, River Edge Behavioral Health Center, North Central Health District, First Choice Primary Care (a Federally Qualified Health Center), Family Counseling Center of Central Georgia, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Heart of Georgia, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Georgia, Communities in Schools of GA, Campus Clubs, Mentors Project of Bibb County, Next Level Community Development Center, Middle Georgia Center for Academic Excellence, Centenary Community Ministries, Community Partnership. Inc, Macon-Bibb Office of Workforce Development, and Macon Housing Authority. Importantly, the Peyton Anderson Foundation has committed $100,000 in cash match to the planning project. The 26 member Advisory Council for MCPN includes 7 publically appointed elected officials from Central South and 3 resident leaders in Central South. Locally defined indicators for the project will include after school learning activities, discipline referrals, share of affordable housing stock in the neighborhood, children in foster care, children read to frequently at home, and social capital in the neighborhood.

MCPN will encompass a continuum of academic and family and community services to significantly improve the outcomes for the youth of Southwest HS, a persistently lowest-achieving school (53% graduation rate), and the children of Ingram-Pye Elementary and Hartley Elementary schools and Ballard-Hudson Middle School, all low performing schools that feed Southwest HS from Central South. As it builds capacity, MCPN will expand its services to Bloomfield children and schools as well. The 2,067 children enrolled in these four target schools come from neighborhoods where 88.1% of families are below the poverty level and 48.2% of adult residents lack a high school diploma.

The applicant, Macon-Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council (Macon-Bibb EOC), has a 24 year history as a nonprofit of managing multi-million dollar budgets, accessing federal, state, and local funding, building strong community public and private partnerships, and delivering services to an increasing number of children and families, including Head Start and Early Head Start (11 sites that serve 740 children annually, with five sites in the target neighborhood.).

The project management team that Macon-Bibb EOC has assembled includes experienced educators, inspiring providers of services to children and families, and visionary leaders from the higher education and nonprofit sectors with strong track records for forging broad partnerships and accessing external funding for neighborhood revitalization as well as for educational reform.

The agency partners and the Advisory Council for the Promise Neighborhoods grant application will meet jointly for its first planning session on Tuesday, September 14, from 6-8 PM at the Buck Melton Community Center at 841 Anthony Road (up the hill from the new Ingram-Pye School).  At this meeting, the group will also consider whether to formulate a “Plan B” to  continue the planning process in the event the application is not funded this round.

The point of contact for Macon Children’s Promise Neighborhood is Jimmie Samuel, Macon-Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council, 653 Second Street, Macon, GA 31201; (478) 738-3240;jsamuel@maconbibbeoc.com

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