Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, Inc. (CAPC) is a private non-profit, multi-service agency serving the citizens of Jefferson County since 1966. CAPC is one of 50 Community Action Agencies in New York State and one of over 1,000 nationwide. Community Action was born out of the Equal Opportunity Act of 1964, initiated by President John F. Kennedy and brought to fruition by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Community Action Agencies are founded on a common purpose: to support low-income households as they develop their abilities to be self-supporting and develop family and community relationships that will sustain self-reliance. Community Action recognizes that needs vary by community and agencies develop specialized services tailored to their home community.

  • 1964 – President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act authorizing the funding of Community Action Agencies. As a result, 75 Community Action Agencies were created nationwide.1965 – Community action of Jefferson County Inc. was created through action taken by the League of Women Voters and the Council of Social Agencies.

    1966 – Community action of Jefferson County Inc. became incorporated and received a grant to operate a Head Start program.

    1967 – 1000 Community Action Agencies nationwide. Mr. Ed Eastman was hired as our first Executive Director.  A grant was received to support a center in Carthage and to develop a Foster Grandparent Program; a year-round Head Start program and 4 day care centers were created.

    1970 – The Community Center on Alcoholism was developed through a grant to COMMUNITY ACTION from the Office of Economic Opportunity and joined Planned Parenthood as a delegate agency of COMMUNITY ACTION.

    1972 – Community action received funding for the North Country Children’s Clinic as a delegate agency.

    1974 – Community action continued programming in Food and Nutrition with a grant to serve four counties.

    1975 – Received first Women Infant and Child (WIC) grant.  Head Start now in the 7th year of operation, serving 45 children.  Delegate agencies received individual incorporation and spun off to become independent community agencies.

    1976 – Weatherization Assistance Program began.

    1977 – The Retired Senior Volunteer Program had started its fourth year with community action. The first community garden was organized.

    1979 – Head Start expanded to a third center in Theresa.

    1980 – Community action expanded the umbrella to provide support services to Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Literacy Volunteers, Senior Action Council and the Clayton Paynter Center.

    1981 – Community action received core funding through the NYS Community Services Block Grant instead of directly from the Federal Government.  Tax Counseling Program began.

    1982 – Community action organized a Fellow Companion program that was the forerunner in Jefferson County to the Big Brother/Big Sisters program. Community action became involved in major distribution of commodities.

    1985 – Community action’s location at North Junior School was terminated due to the anticipated expansion of Ft. Drum; the agency moved to Trinity Church.  The Food Pantry received a large Member Item to maintain services.

    1987 – Community action began phase 1 of stabilizing and renovating the abandoned Cooper Street School.

    1988 – The STOPLIFT Program was initiated.  Judges would refer first time teen theft offenders to our Program designed to decrease recidivism.  A short-lived Homeless Shelter was opened.  The Homeless Intervention Program (HIP) began.

    1989 – Summer Food Service Program began.  The Child and Adult Food Program (Formerly the USDA Child Feeding Program) was added as a program of the agency.

    1990 – Community Action moved to a new and permanent home on Cooper Street.  The Day Care Center was opened.  The Child Development Associates Certification is now taught at the in the Cooper Building.

    1995 – Family Center was created and staff was able to work with families/individuals on a long term basis, but continued to provide emergencies as well.

    1997 – Community action held first Family Development Credentialing course for agency staff and have since been providing the class for community members as well.

    1998 – Community action contracted with Watertown City School District to establish Universal Pre-K program.  Our first contract with Jefferson County Planning to be the Fair Housing Office for the county was born.

    1999 – Purchased a 25,000 square foot warehouse on Morrison Street that houses our Weatherization Program and storage for food and supplies.

    2002 – The Jefferson-Lewis Child Care Council merged with Community Action’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) department and the Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project was created. Received our first Even Start grant in partnership with the Watertown and Carthage School Districts.

    2003 – Received the Community Solutions to Transportation (CST) grant through the Jefferson County Department of Social Services.

    2005 – Received funding for two more new programs, Army Child Care in Your Neighborhood and Empower.

    2007 – Universal Pre-K expanded in partnership with Indian River School District.

    2009 – Community action received $1.5 million in additional funding through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

    2010 – Received an Agreement with Child Care Solutions to provide Infant and Toddler Care Training and Technical Assistance, expanding our Jefferson Lewis Child Care Project services.

    2011 – Our ‘Ready to Work” program was funded by the Community Services Block Grant Discretionary funds.  This program provides financial assistance for individuals that enroll in education focused on a career path to a sustainable wage job.

    2012 – The Family Center expanded their services to include Community Action Angels Programs, such as the backpack program, Back to School in Style, Grow with Community Action and more.  We extended hours to accommodate working families by lengthening daily access to services and being two nights per month.

    2013 – The 5th Annual Golf Tournament was held in August.  We survived the Federal Government Shutdown that stopped funds for federal programs, which also in turn, affected some NYS Programs as well.  Head Start was the most affected program, but we managed to keep operations going through the date the funds were released.  Received our first Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) for direct purchases of locally grown produce from local farmers for use in pantries.

    2014 – Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Community Action throughout the year with events held; including a time capsule, receptions for volunteers, Armed Forces Day Parade, Grow with Community Action/Open House. Bridges Out of Poverty training, Gala 50th Dinner, Community Action Voices (a forum for customers and low-income area residents to advise what gaps in services they encounter and how to address current needs), and many more.  One lucky golfer hit a hole-in-one during the Golfing for Community Action event, taking home a $10,000 cash prize.

    2015 – The Full Day Pre-K Program classroom was started in an agreement with Watertown City School District and we opened one classroom at Starbuck.  Made several changes in fiscal policies and procedures to be in compliance with the new OMB Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR Part 200.  Revised By-Laws, policies and procedures to comply with the Nonprofit Revitalization Act.

    Although experiencing cuts in funding over the past few years, Community Action strives for collaboration within the community to best serve the individuals and families that we see in all of our programs.  Our volunteers and donors provide increasingly important time, talent and resources to help us maintain our quality services.

    Over the years, our Community Action Agency has grown from a staff of 2 to a staff of 147 full and part time employees and from a first grant of $31,380 to a current budget of over $6,500,000.  In Fiscal year 2015, we served 9,437 unduplicated individuals through a variety of Community Action programs.  We continue to grow, expand and change as local needs arise.