The Nashville Promise Zone

Building a Better Nashville for All Communities

The mission of the Nashville Promise Zone (NPZ) is to foster intensive partnerships among Nashville’s organizations that serve high poverty neighborhoods, improve the collective impact of their service and address revitalization in a collaborative way.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded Nashville with a Promise Zone designation. This designation provides 10 years of support including priority access to federal investments in six subzones that further communities’ strategic plans, a federal liaison to help local leaders navigate federal resources and several full-time AmericCorps VISTA members to strengthen the capacity of the Promise Zone initiatives.

The NPZ is a federally designated area that comprises 46-square miles, including the neighborhoods just south, east and north of Nashville’s central business district. The NPZ is a collaboration between MDHA and community partners.

The NPZ is an Area of Need

The NPZ represents a quarter of the county’s overall violent crimes, including nearly half of its homicides and a third of its robberies. And overall, the NPZ reports a poverty rate of 37.61%. NPZ residents face low post-secondary education levels, as well as infrastructure and safety concerns that make upward mobility, affordable housing and employment more difficult to obtain.

Through the Promise Zone and the AmeriCorps VISTA programming, local organizations have received $7 million in grant funding and have formed workgroups to collaborate on areas such as education, employment and housing.

The NPZ works to strengthen Nashville neighborhoods by focusing on the following priorities:  

Priority 1: Support livable wages that provide a pathway to economic stability

Employment goal: Connect a minimum of 100 residents within the NPZ over the age of 16 to job training, transit access and workforce certification opportunities by December 2023. Activities to address this goal include job fairs and workforce training programs.

Priority 2: Reduce youth violence and improve educational opportunities for youth and young professionals within the NPZ

Mentorship goal: Connect a minimum of 100 individuals up to the age of 24 to mentorship experiences and organizations by December 2023. Activities to address this goal include academic, athletic, art and music programming.

Education goal: Connect a minimum of 100 NPZ residents between the ages of 17-24 to after-school and college-readiness programs by December 2023. Activities to address this goal include support for programs that promote post-secondary success and after-school services.

Food security goal: Connect NPZ residents and families within food deserts to hot meals, fresh fruits, vegetables, and produce by December 2023.  Activities to address this goal include support for food service programs and food drives.

Priority 3: Support obtainable and affordable housing resources that provide pathways to generational wealth.

Housing goal:  Preserve and increase access to affordable housing options for families and residents within the NPZ by December 2023. Activities to address this goal include affordable housing unit construction, monthly housing counseling sessions and financial literacy programs.

If you would like more information regarding the workgroups, or how your company or organization can join and get involved with the NPZ, email MDHA Community Development Special Projects Manager Brian Sexton.

MDHA Community Development Special Projects Manager Brian Sexton