What is Community Action and why is it unique?


Virtually every county in the United States has a Community Action Agency (CAA) – typically a nonprofit organization with the sweeping mission of fighting poverty in the community it serves.

California has a state network of 52 CAAs, which in turn are part of a nationwide network of over 1,000 local agencies. These agencies help ensure a safety net for low-income individuals and families, but even more importantly, they create opportunities for people to move from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.

CAAs address local causes and conditions of poverty with input from the entire community, including the low-income populations they serve. What makes these agencies unique?

  • Each CAA has a broadly representative governing board, with mandatory representation from the low-income community, local elected officials, and a wide array of public and private community stakeholders, including local businesses and others with the capacity to create jobs and opportunities for low-income individuals.

  • Each CAA designs programs and antipoverty strategies based on a comprehensive community needs assessment. This assessment identifies local causes of poverty and barriers to self-sufficiency, and determines effective and innovative ways to address these causes and conditions of poverty.

  • Each CAA operates through partnerships with numerous public and private sector organizations and individuals, so that local communities benefit from a broad but coordinated range of resources and initiatives.

The National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) was founded in 1981 with the purpose of representing CAAs and their state and regional associations in Washington, D.C.

Current Executive Director David Bradley, with the mentorship of Sargent Shriver, co-founded the organization in an effort to ensure that the federal government continued to support the Community Action Program.

We invite you to engage with us: http://www.ncaf.org/engage-with-us/

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