The History


Our History

The Eastside Promise Neighborhood is home to 17,955 people readily striving in the face of serious socio-economic conditions. It is an area rich in San Antonio’s history with more than 50 churches, many of them serving African-American populations, 296 private businesses, several social service organizations and six schools.

Traditionally known as the heart of the African-American community and in the ‘50s as an area of segregated housing, schools and businesses, San Antonio’s Eastside Promise Neighborhood is still home to a heavy concentration of the city’s African-Americans. The area is now majority Hispanic with population numbers reaching 67.5 percent, according to 2009 U.S. Census data.

The 3 and 1/2 square mile-area is bounded by Interstate 37 to the west, Fort Sam Houston to the north; AT&T Center Parkway to the east and East Commerce Street to the south.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education named the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County the recipient of a Promise Neighborhood planning grant, one of two federal grants awarded in Texas and only 21 throughout the country. The $312,000 one-year grant funded the creation of a plan to revitalize San Antonio’s east side.

Community members, stakeholders and community experts began groundbreaking work for Eastside Promise Neighborhood. To create the proposal to become a Promise Neighborhood implementation site, the team conducted: needs assessment, asset inventory, focus groups, segmentation analysis, regression analysis, review of scholarly literature, community conversation forums, block parties, and provider forums. The result: Eastside Promise Neighborhood leaders submitted an application for a five-year implementation grant and learned in December 2011 that San Antonio was selected as one of five implementation sites in the country.


Promise Neighborhood Abstract Grant Solutions


EastPoint is a diverse, bi-lingual 4 square mile area located on the Eastside of San Antonio, encompassing some of the City’s oldest neighborhoods. EastPoint is the initial target area within the 22 sq. mile Promise Zone. EastPoint combined the footprint of the area that makes up the PROMISE & CHOICE Federal grant initiatives. San Antonio is the only city in the nation to receive these two grants and the promise zone designation. This culturally rich, transforming and easily accessible community is bordered by downtown and the Pearl on the west, AT&T Center on the east, Fort Sam Houston on the north and the Alamodome on the south with over 6,000 homes and approximately 18,000 residents.

EastPoint thrives on the harmony and originality of its new and old historic points of interest inclusive of St. Phillip’s College, The Carver Community Theatre and Library, Dignowity Park, St Paul Square, the San Antonio National Cemetery, Sunset Station, Woodard, the Menger Creek expansion, and the redeveloped Wheatley Courts and Sutton Homes. It is also home to the Nation’s Largest MLK March route. EastPoint embodies the values of integrity, hard work and a celebrated community. It reflects the social fabric of a rebirth whose residents have been empowered to prepare their youth for success, strengthen family units and build lasting economic vitality.

The target area has three major Federal implementation grants:

  • Choice Neighborhood Initiative- Managed by the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA)
  • Eastside Promise Neighborhood (EPN)- Managed by the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County
  • Byrne Criminal Justice Grants- Managed by both SAHA and the United Way

For more information, please email: / 210-444-2319 or visit



The Promise Zone Initiative is part of President Obama’s plan to comprehensively revitalize distressed communities by partnering with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, reduce poverty, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality, affordable housing and improve public safety. The first five Zones are located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The City of San Antonio applied for the Eastside Promise Zone in November 2013. On January 9, 2014, the City was selected as one of the first five Promise Zones.

The Eastside Promise Zone (EPZ) is an initiative of the City of San Antonio, in partnership with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, the San Antonio Housing Authority, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE) and SA2020. Support partners include San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), Judson Independent School District, St. Philip’s College and private sector businesses, employers and investors. The application required that the existing Promise or Choice Neighborhood Initiative be included in its entirety and form the basis for the Promise Zone.

The EPZ is a placed-based initiative designed to provide Eastside residents with “ladders of opportunity” to improve their quality of life and connect them to :high quality education, good paying jobs, affordable housing and a safe place to live where their children can grow and thrive. The aim is to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunity, and that a child’s zip code should never determine his or her opportunity. The City is committed to working with local business and community leaders to use existing resources on proven strategies and make new investments that promote economic health and improved quality of life in the 22 square mile area.

The six key Promise zone goals are:

  1. Job Creation & Workforce Development
  2. Increased Economic Development
  3. Improve Educational Opportunities and Family Stability
  4. Reduce Poverty and Increase Supply of Affordable Housing
  5. Improve Public Safety
  6. Leverage Private Capital/ Investment

Due to this designation, the City, its partners and businesses who invest in the EPZ will be eligible for the following:

  • Specialized technical assistance on federal grant applications to cut red tape from the grant application process,
  • Preference points on subsequent federal grant applications, and
  • Employer tax incentives/credits for hiring and creating jobs in the zone (pending Congressional approval). Enactment of federal tax credits will stimulate the job creation and business development that is essential to the full realization of the Eastside Promise Zone.

For more information contact (210) 207-6502

Mike Etienne, Ph.D., Director:

Jaime Lalley, Program Manager: