About Practitioners Institute

Practitioners Institute (PI) is committed to helping organizations across the U.S. and the world implement comprehensive, place-based solutions developed at Harlem Children’s Zone in their communities. PI does this by sharing information about their work, teaching best practices, and providing pivotal guidance.

Our approach to educating children and rebuilding communities will help transform neighborhoods struggling with issues like poverty, poor health, failing schools, and high crime rates. The key is strategically applying our core principles, not recreating our exact programs. Each community has unique needs to address and resources to leverage in building a pathway of services to empower local children and families at scale.

Public officials, educators, and nonprofit leaders are encouraged to apply. For more information on our offerings, access our application.


Since 2003, Practitioners Institute has hosted workshops for 570-plus U.S. communities from over 280 cities and 200-plus international delegations from over 70 countries.


Groups from over 280 U.S. cities visited


International delegations visited


Countries represented among delegations that have visited

Promise Neighborhoods Program

A young girl speaks at a podium at the White House. President Barack Obama, her classmates, and school leaders look on

The success of our approach has garnered the attention of community and government leaders nationwide and inspired federal initiatives.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama pledged to create a comprehensive, anti-poverty program inspired by the HCZ model to help improve the outcomes of children in under-resourced communities.

In 2010, President Obama launched the Promise Neighborhoods program. It is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education and supported by the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink, a partnership between HCZ, Policy Link, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy.


Promise Neighborhoods Program Highlights:

  • Provides federal funding to under-resourced communities to help them build comprehensive, cradle-to-career pathways of services to support children and families and significantly improve their outcomes.
  • Programs include high-quality, data-driven educational, community, health, and social services.
  • More than 850 applications for funding have been submitted from 48 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.

Other Initiatives Inspired by HCZ

In 2010, the Obama administration also launched Choice Neighborhoods under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program focuses on revitalizing public and HUD-assisted housing to promote economically sustainable, mixed-income communities.

In 2014, President Obama announced a new Promise Zones Initiative to help create jobs and increase economic security in 20-plus communities through greater access to resources and strong federal partnerships with local business and community leaders.

Apply to Practitioners Institute

Public officials, educators, and nonprofit leaders invested in leveraging solutions from HCZ’s model to build up their communities are encouraged to apply. For more information, call 212-360-3274 or email puser@hcz.org.

Apply Now
Geoffrey Canada and children smile at the camera

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