USC Price School of Public Policy

Sol Price Center for Social Innovation:

Price Center chosen as partner for federal ‘Promise Zone’ program

Dear Price Community:

As many of you read recently in the Los Angeles Times, President Obama has designated Los Angeles as a federal Promise Zone. It is my great pleasure to announce that the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Price Center for Social Innovation was selected as a partner institution within this program, with Professor Gary Painter serving as the faculty lead.

By securing a Promise Zone designation, the federal government will provide Los Angeles with on-the-ground federal partners, resources, and grant funds to strategically execute holistic, comprehensive strategies for urban development, including: creating jobs, increasing economic security, expanding educational opportunities, increasing access to quality, affordable housing, and improving public safety within particular LA communities — areas that are intrinsically linked to the mission and work of the Price School and the Price Center for Social Innovation.

The Los Angeles Promise Zone encompasses areas in Pico-Union, Westlake, Koreatown, East Hollywood and Hollywood. The selection of Los Angeles as a federal Promise Zone gives the city preferential status for federal grants, and federal money will be used to improve education, housing and public safety. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti estimates the city could receive as much as $500 million in federal support over the next 10 years.

As the academic partner for this new initiative, the Price Center for Social Innovation will work with the Los Angeles Promise Zone to develop a comprehensive evaluation plan in the first year. The plan will define metrics and a strategy to measure outcomes, assess impacts, and describe alternative evidence-based approaches. Additionally, the Price Center will provide data and reports to LA Promise Zone, as well as impartial evaluation to funders and partnering entities. As the LA Promise Zone initiative grows in the coming years, our faculty will also produce academic papers that analyze the LA Promise Zone approach to urban development.

In addition to greatly contributing to urban development efforts in Los Angeles, the Center’s work with the LA Promise Zone will serve as an excellent platform for educating Price School students in program evaluation, data collection, and methodologies for assessing program outcomes. To further advance student engagement in these areas, the Price Center for Social Innovation will facilitate planning studios and other student research experiences focused on the LA Promise Zone.

The Los Angeles Promise Zone is a collaborative effort between private business and federal, state, and local officials; faith-based and non-profit organizations; community residents; and academic institutions like the Price School. It is this type of collaborative, multi-sector approach to problem solving that the Price School is so deeply invested in, and I am thrilled that the Price Center for Social Innovation and its affiliate faculty are able to contribute to this initiative.

I’d like to personally thank Richard Parks and Gary Painter for their work on the application process, and congratulate them on being selected as a participant in this historic initiative. I know I speak for the entire Price School community when I say that we look forward to closely following your work on this initiative in the coming years.


Jack H. Knott, Dean
USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

For more information, please see:,0,4009025.story#axzz2pwGbktGd