MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The U.S. Department of Education won't give out any new grants to the Promise Neighborhood Program in 2013.
That includes the Macon Promise Neighborhood initiative, which was started to help improve life and education in the Unionville and Tindall Heights Neighborhoods.
"This work will not end because the federal government did not have the money to fund it this cycle," says executive director of MPN, Cliffard Whitby. Whitby says the initiative will go on.
"We know the early learning as well as the adult piece is crucial to helping these young students be prepared to learn."
Due to federal budget cuts, a five-year grant worth up to $30 million that would have helped some of those programs get off the ground won't be coming this year.
Whitby says while the grant would help, MPN and its 31 community partners aren't going to stop the work they've already started.
"There are some very successful pilots that we've done--the intern program, some of the early learning programs that we've put together--we think we have some solutions that will address the ills that have affected our community for years and decades."
Whitby vows the group will apply again for the grant in 2014, but he also says transforming education in communities is possible without implementation grants.
"It's been done across this country," he says. "It's also been done in this state. The East Lake Model Purpose Built Community was done without a federal grant. It is now one of the best public school systems in Atlanta. So, it can be done."
Macon Promise Neighborhood got approved in 2011 for a $500,000 planning grant. Last year, they were denied an implementation grant, and this past week found out no new grants would be issued in 2013,
Again, even without those funds, Whitby says MPN's partners have already committed to the initiative.
41NBC reached out to Bibb County Schools' acting superintendent, Susanne Griffin-Ziebart, to ask her opinion on the grant denial, but she was busy Friday with graduation.