Seal of Little Rock

Monday, Sep 26, 2005

City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421

Media Releases

Contact(s): W J Monagle 501-399-3414

America’s Promise Alliance Names Little Rock One of 100 Best Communities for Young People

Winners Recognized for Efforts to Help Young People Succeed




Little Rock, AR (26 September 2005).  America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth today announced that Little Rock is a winner of a first-ever national competition to identify 100 Best Communities for Young People.  The winning communities – ranging from small towns to urban neighborhoods across – are being celebrated for their commitment to provide healthy, safe and caring environments for young people.

Little Rock is receiving the 100 Best honor, in part, because the city, joined by a wide array of partners including local school districts, hospitals, businesses, small and large nonprofits, colleges and universities, and many others, has made a huge investment in the future of its young people.  Recognizing and reacting to the growing gang and drug problem in mid to late 1990s, the city invested over $30 million of tax revenue into Prevention, Intervention and Treatment (PIT) programs for its at-risk youth, including programs during out-of-school hours, summer youth employment programs, and drug/alcohol treatment programs for any adolescent at no charge.  As a result of programs such as the Summer Youth Employment program and 12 Anti-Gang programs, major crimes in Little Rock have dropped, especially among the adolescent population.

Members of America’s Promise Alliance — including the United Way , the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Junior Achievement and the YMCA— took leading roles in the 100 Best competition.  100 Best Communities for Young People was launched in partnership with Capital One Financial Corporation.

America's Promise Founding Chairman General Colin Powell launched the competition in May and Little Rock ’s Department of Community Programs applied for a place on the prestigious list.  Little Rock and the other winners were chosen by a distinguished selection panel of civic, business and nonprofit leaders, including United Way America President Brian Gallagher, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, baseball great Cal Ripken Jr. and former Denver mayor Wellington Webb. 

The selection panel evaluated 100 Best entries that required detailed information about each community’s efforts to fulfill five essential promises critical to the well-being of young people: caring adults who are actively involved in their lives; safe places in which to learn and grow; a healthy start toward adulthood; an effective education that builds marketable skills; and opportunities to help others.  

 “We have had an amazing response from hundreds of communities, large and small, from Alaska to Florida ,” said Marguerite W. Sallee, President and CEO of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth. “Our purpose for launching this competition is to appeal to ’s competitive spirit to encourage communities to become great places to grow up.  In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we have seen some inspiring examples of what can happen when communities across the country pull together to help people in times of urgent need.  In the 100 Best communities, we have witnessed that same spirit at work in making the well-being of their children an urgent priority.  Their outstanding efforts – to measure how well their children and youth are doing, to put more resources in place, and to form cross-sector partnerships – provide shining examples of what it means to keep ’s Promise for our young people.” 

“I am very excited to have been selected,” said Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey.  “Over the past decade, Little Rock has worked hard to implement innovative approaches to positively engage the youth of our community,” continued Mayor Dailey.  “This award is not about the City of Little Rock – it is about the people of Little Rock .  It is Little Rock’s people, community groups, faith institutions, and others who have worked with elected leaders at City Hall, the State Capitol, and Washington DC to make exciting things happen for the youth of our City.” 

To honor the 100 Best communities selected, the ’s Promise Alliance will hold a special event November 2nd in Washington, D.C. This celebration will be dedicated to the children affected by Hurricane Katrina, highlighting outstanding community initiatives across the country that are providing displaced children with the services and support that they need to thrive no matter where they are.  All proceeds from this event will go toward helping the children impacted by Katrina.     

The Alliance will also sponsor a yearlong celebration including a special day in each of the winning communities and a series of regional forums across the country that will enable communities to share their success stories and learn effective strategies from one another that will further enrich the lives of their young people. 


            For more details about the 100 Best competition and the winners, please visit

  About America’s Promise

America’s Promise is a broad-based alliance whose members work together to ensure the well-being of children and youth. Alliance partners focus attention and resources to help every child receive the Five Promises essential to success: caring adults who are actively involved in their lives; safe places in which to learn and grow; a healthy start toward adulthood; an effective education that builds marketable skills; and opportunities to help others.

Founded by retired General Colin L. Powell, following the Presidents’ Summit for ’s Future in 1997, the America ’s Promise Alliance includes nonprofit, corporate and community groups as well as individuals across the nation. Alma J. Powell currently serves as chair.

America's Promise grew out of the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in 1997, where Presidents Bush, Carter, Clinton and Ford, with Nancy Reagan representing President Reagan, challenged the country to make children and youth a national priority. President George W. Bush affirmed his commitment in 2001.