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Northside social-service startup awarded $28 million federal grant

Northside Achievement Zone, a joint initiative of the public schools and social service agencies in North Minneapolis aimed at boosting the academic achievement of thousands of neighborhood kids, has received a $28 million implementation grant from the federal government, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The money, from the Department of Education's Promise Neighborhood Program, will help the NAZ scale up its school-and-community work, which focuses on helping both students and families via "connectors"--mentor/coach/facilitators who assist students with schoolwork and families with issues like housing. The program is modeled on the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City.

According to NAZ CEO Sondra Samuels, who is quoted in the piece, the grant will allow the program, which currently serves 150 families, to grow exponentially. "We have about 2,000 families and about 5,500 children that make up the Northside Achievement Zone," she says, "and we want to get to as many families and kids as we possibly can."
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