What is Community Action?
Community Action is the idea that by engaging the entire community, especially low-income individuals and families, in addressing the causes and conditions of poverty progress can be made towards the elimination of poverty.
What is a Community Action Agency?
Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are private or public nonprofit organizations dedicated to fighting poverty in geographically designated areas. CAAs were first enabled and funded by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, as part of the War on Poverty.
Status as a Community Action Agency is the result of an explicit designation under federal law and recognition as an eligible entity under the Community Service Block Grant Act. Community Action’s authorizing legislation mandates the maximum feasible participation of the poor in the conception, planning, administration, delivery, and evaluation of anti-poverty programs.
A Community Action Agency has a tripartite board structure that is designed to promote the participation of the entire community by including elected public officials, private sector representatives, and especially low-income residents in its governance.
Most poverty-related organizations focus on a specific area of need in a community, such as job training, healthcare, housing, or economic development. At KOOTASCA, as a Community Action Agency, we work to address the multiple causes and conditions of poverty through a comprehensive approach, by developing partnerships with other community organizations, involving low-income clients in our program planning and leadership, and by providing a full-range of coordinated programs designed to have a measurable impact on poverty
America’s Poverty Fighting Network
Community Action Agencies form America’s largest poverty fighting network. There are more than 1,000 CAAs in all 50 states. Together they serve 99% of communities across America and tens of millions of people each year.