EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — The University of Evansville made a major announcement Thursday afternoon, one that is expected to help children and young people by providing them access to successful schools and community support systems.

The school says they are a recipient of a $30 million federal grant program through the US Department of Education that will establish the Evansville Promise Neighborhood.

These resources will help young people prepare to achieve academic excellence, make the transition to college and embark on a successful career, according to a UE press release.

“This Evansville’s Promise Neighborhood investment is unmatched and will be critical to ensuring our community has the resources they need,” says Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “This is a major success for our city and will be beneficial in the months and years ahead.”

Additionally, 32 Evansville Promise Neighborhood agencies came together to match the grant with a total of over $32 million, bringing total investments in the community to $62 million.

“This neighborhood will be a role model for other communities and serve as the catalyst that shapes community revitalization for years to come,” Silas Matchem, Evansville Promise Zone director said. “I can’t emphasize enough how big of an impact this will truly be.”

The Promise Neighborhood includes Evans Elementary, Delaware Elementary, Lincoln School,
Bosse High School, Lodge Community School and the Glenwood Leadership Academy.

“Some people think that some of our kids lack and don’t have adequate ability , that’s not the case, they just have an abundance of barriers,” said Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation Superintendent Dr. David Smith. “So what can we do in a very systemic intentional way to remove those barriers in a two-generation process.”

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke estimates these funds will be able to help thousands in the Promise Zone community.

“I don’t know how you think about more than $60 million dollars of investments into your community and not get emotional,” said Mayor Winnecke. “There were people in our community who thought we shouldn’t pursue that but thankfully there were enough champions in our city who encouraged us to stay the course and we did.”

In June of 2016, the city of Evansville received a federal 10-year Promise Zone designation to support its most at-risk and most promising neighborhoods within its urban core.

Evansville has applied for Promise Neighborhoods four times, including 2021, which is the first year the University of Evansville became a partner which led to them now being the lead partner.

You can read more about the grant by visiting University of Evansville’s website by clicking here.