For Immediate Release: April 29, 2019

SMUD partners with community leaders to accelerate revitalization in Sacramento’s underserved communities

$750,000 into the Promise Zone over the next three years


SMUD, along with UC Davis Health, Blue Shield of California, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) and the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce have partnered with five other Sacramento organizations on a long-term effort to revitalize Sacramento’s Promise Zone—an area that encompasses 22 square miles of the economically hardest-hit neighborhoods in Sacramento—from Del Paso Heights in the North Area to The Avenues in the South Area. 

Together, these partners have pledged a minimum of $750,000 towards economic and workforce initiatives that will be implemented over the next three years within the Promise Zone. Work in the Promise Zone will exceed today’s pledged amount by leveraging partnerships within the community. 

“This is a part of SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative that optimizes our public good investment,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “By working collaboratively with our partners, we can increase the use of transportation technologies and energy efficiency programs in disadvantaged neighborhoods—ultimately improving access to resources, air quality and health for everyone in our community.” 

“We need to work together to effectively address economic disparities in order to meet the needs of people in our community. This is a core value of our mission—to help the people who need us most,” said UC Davis Health CEO David Lubarsky. “Economic wellbeing is one of the social determinants of good health, so if we can improve people’s economic health, statistically it’s been proven to improve physical health throughout a person’s life. We hope this vital effort will have far-reaching, positive effects on these communities.”


“What is unique about this group of partners is they are making a significant local financial investment which will attract and leverage additional corporate, philanthropic, state and federal dollars to enhance the lives of Sacramento residents” stated Director of the Sacramento Promise Zone Tyrone Roderick Williams. “The Promise Zone provides the ideal platform and infrastructure for expanding opportunities in underserved neighborhoods.”


The Promise Zone Partnership will be anchored by the following key initiatives and projects:


  • SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative will focus on improving economic, social, and environmental condition through multiple energy savings and electric vehicle installation projects in the Promise Zone. These projects will educate and train future workforce in Del Paso Heights

    and South Sacramento. The Initiative will provide energy efficiency savings to customers while also improving local air quality through increased access to EV infrastructure. SMUD has been working closely with Roberts Family Development Center and the City of Refuge on projects that further serve the local community. 

  • The UC Davis’ Aggie Square Project is in the center of the Promise Zone and will work to embed education, workforce training and inclusive community spaces including shared workspace, and active recruitment of community members for job opportunities. Additionally, the National Society of Black Engineers Junior Programs provide students from underrepresented groups access to high-level STEM curriculum to enhance diversity and inclusion in engineering and medicine.


  • The Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce and Blue Shield of California are collaborating on a health and wellness training program. The Community Economic Wellness Training and Entrepreneur Academy and Health Training Programs will develop community health workers through STEM education at locations throughout the community.


“For years the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce has understood the importance and need for collaboration,” said Azizza Davis Goines, CEO of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce. “We welcome the opportunity to work through SHRA and the Promise Zone with SMUD, Blue Shield of California, UC Davis Health and our other community partners. It has been our mission to work in Sacramento’s underrepresented communities. Having the partnerships of these businesses and community partners is humbling and so very much appreciated.”


“We are proud to be a part of this effort,” said Blue Shield National Director William Jahmal Miller.  “We have significant economic disparities in Sacramento that we must address directly to ensure that our communities have ample access to education, jobs and health care.”


About the Promise Zone Collaborative

The Promise Zone Collaborative includes SMUD, UC Davis Health, Blue Shield of California, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, SAFE Credit Union, Roberts Family Development Center, Greater Sacramento Urban League, United Way and Sacramento Area Council of Governments. Its mission is to coordinate resources, build capacity and create public-private partnerships through shared goals to drive revitalization in Sacramento’s most underserved communities. This collaborative partnership builds on the work established in 2015 when Sacramento received the Promise Zone federal designation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Promise Zone cross sector initiative has grown from 30 partners to partnerships with over 150 corporate, non-profit, governmental and local organizations. Focus areas include education, job training and placement, heath care and nutrition, economic development and sustainable community development. To date Promise Zone partners have been awarded or leveraged $140 million in local, state and federal funds. 


For more information on the Sacramento Promise Zone, visit