Competition Showcases Successful Efforts by U.S. Cities and Towns to Help Young People Succeed
(January 24, 2008) - America’s Promise Alliance (the Alliance), the nation’s largest alliance dedicated to children and youth, in partnership with Capital One, today announced that Oklahoma City has, for the third year in a row, been named a winner of its 2008 100 Best Communities for Young People (100 Best) competition. The 100 Best competition recognizes the 100 outstanding communities across America—large and small, rural and urban—that are the best places for young people to live and grow up. More than 300 communities in all 50 states applied for the honor this year. The 100 winning communities span 37 states.
Oklahoma City has been named a 100 Best community in large part because of the way the city has identified its challenges and continues to find ways to address them. Three partners in particular were singled out by the Alliance as contributing to Oklahoma City families.
One of the biggest supporters of young people in the region is the United Way of Central Oklahoma. The United Way has an annual unified campaign that raised $16.5 million last year for local programs serving 56 agencies and over one-third of the metro-area population.
Whiz Kids is a faith-based, one-on-one volunteer tutoring/mentoring program serving first through eighth grade students in areas struggling with high drop-out rates. Whiz Kids sites are churches in each school’s community that donate their facilities and provide tutors.
Smart Start Central Oklahoma has partnered with the Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Putnam City Public Schools to help families in need by establishing resource rooms in several neighborhood elementary schools. These rooms provide a safe, friendly place where parents and children can grow together. Most of these rooms offer computer access, conversational English classes, adult literacy classes, GED classes, and other parent education opportunities.
“The prosperity of every community and this country depends on how well we care for our children and youth,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance, “Although no place is perfect, when we have communities that make young people a priority and are working to make sure they stay in school and have all the resources necessary to lead healthy, productive lives, we must recognize them and by extension inspire other cities and towns to follow their lead.”
"At Capital One, we are committed to building stronger communities, one neighborhood at a time,” said Carolyn Berkowitz, Vice President of Community Affairs for Capital One. "That’s why we’re proud to partner with the Alliance on the 100 Best competition to recognize the tremendous work in communities across the country to create environments where children and families have boundless opportunities as well as the support systems necessary to champion their growth and encourage their success.”
The 100 Best competition was first held in 2005. This year’s winners were selected by a distinguished panel that included some of the nation’s most well-known civic, business and nonprofit leaders such as: Gayle Manchin, first lady of West Virginia, United Way President Brian Gallagher, former Mayor of Denver and President of Webb Group International, Wellington Webb, Thomas Donohue, president and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Carol Coletta, president and CEO, CEOs for Cities, Christine James-Brown, president and CEO, the Child Welfare League of America, and Dr. Suzanne Morse, executive director of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change.
“We are fortunate to live in a community that cares so deeply and contributes so much to the success of our young people,” said Mayor Mick Cornett. This recognition, for the third year in a row, is evidence that local schools and organizations are effective in improving the health, education and well-being of City families.”
All communities that completed entries in the 100 Best competition were required to submit detailed information to the Alliance on existing community programs and initiatives that help deliver the Five Promises—resources identified by America’s Promise as being critical to the development of healthy, successful children: caring adults; safe places; healthy start; effective education; and opportunities to help others; to their young people. Applicants were also asked to describe how different sectors of their community come together to deliver the Five Promises and specific efforts and programs developed to ensure that their young people graduate from high school prepared for college and/or the workforce. Each of these communities, regardless of whether they were selected as a winner, will be eligible to apply for $300,000 in grants from the Alliance next month.
For more details about the 100 Best competition and to see a complete list of the 2008 winners, please visit www.americaspromise.org.
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About the America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s leader in forging a strong and effective partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups committed to ensuring that children receive the fundamental resources - the Five Promises – they need to lead successful, healthy and productive lives and build a stronger society. Building on the legacy of our founder General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our children is grounded in experiencing the Five Promises - caring adults; safe place; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others - at home, in school and in the community. For more information on America’s Promise Alliance visit: www.americaspromise.org .
About Capital One
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com ) is a financial holding company, with 732 locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and Louisiana. Its principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank, Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., and Capital One, N.A. offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had $83.3 billion in deposits and $146.4 billion in managed loans outstanding as of September 30, 2007. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 100 index.