Events: Harlem Children's Zone Goes National
For Immediate Release
First national conference to be held on replicating the Harlem Children’s Zone Project, keynote speeches from U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan and
White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes
New York - Sept. 22nd - To meet the growing demand for information about the highly successful anti-poverty Harlem Children’s Zone Project, HCZ, in partnership with PolicyLink, will hold a two-day conference on November 9-10 in New York City, and feature keynotes from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes.
The HCZ Project offers an interlocking network of education, social-service and community-building programs to more than 8,000 children in a 100-block area of Central Harlem. The goal of the conference – titled “Changing the Odds: Learning from the Harlem Children’s Zone Model” – is to give a boost to efforts around the country to launch similar, large-scale projects.
More than 1,000 leaders from communities across America will come to New York to learn how to build a comprehensive anti-poverty program from the first-hand experience of Harlem Children’s Zone officials. By attending in groups of as many as 10 people-per-community, attendees will be prepared to go back to their hometowns and begin to enact real change for their residents.
With President Barack Obama’s commitment to earmark matching funds for up to 20 “Promise Neighborhoods” modeled on the HCZ Project, community leaders across the country have been approaching the Harlem-based nonprofit for information.
“Hundreds of thousands of poor children in America are heading for academic failure and all the tragic consequences that come with it,” said HCZ President and CEO Geoffrey Canada, who will address the conference. “We have always believed that saving kids just in Harlem was not enough, so we have always hoped that our successes would be a first step.”
“Communities across America are hungry for the ideas and lessons learned by the Harlem Children’s Zone,“ said Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of PolicyLink. “By working with community leaders and elected officials to spread the wisdom of HCZ, we can help millions of low-income families reach their full potential in true communities of opportunity.”
The two-day conference is being sponsored by American Express, The Atlantic Philanthropies, The California Endowment, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Starr Foundation and The Walmart Foundation, allowing the conference to charge only $350 per person. Only groups of four or more representing a specific community - not individuals - can register. In addition, a limited number of scholarships to the conference are available.
The conference will include workshops that cover critical issues for creating a local initiative, such as strategic planning, building a pipeline of best-practice programs and using evaluation data to guide programming. There will also be opportunities for participants to hear from other practitioners and learn from peers in the field.
Keynote speakers will include Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink; Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express; and Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund.
The conference will be at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, 811 Seventh Avenue in New York City. For information, go to www.hcz.org/conference2009.