50 years ago, during a memorable State of the Union address, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared unconditional war on poverty, and he urged Congress and all Americans to join in the effort. Sargent Shriver was assigned the mighty task of developing the bill that would become known as the Economic Opportunity Act. Signed into legislation on August 20, 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act spurred the birth of Community Action and inspired the introduction of Head Start one year later.
Community Action Planning Council joins more than 1,000 agencies across the nation in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Community Action. Throughout the year, Community Action Planning Council will celebrate its rich history through a series of special events. Plans are underway to recognize community partners – the cornerstone of Community Action – during a 50th Anniversary Fare, scheduled for May 28. In the fall, the agency will celebrate its roots with a special dinner recognizing those who have impacted Community Action locally.
Community Action Planning Council was created through the efforts of the League of Women Voters and the Council of Social Agencies. The agency received a grant to operate a summer Head Start program, with a staff of two and a budget of $31,000. Half a century later, Community Action Planning Council operates four major programs – Head Start/Universal Pre-K, Housing and Energy Services, Jefferson-Lewis Childcare and the Family Center. The agency has grown to 135 full-time employees and an annual operating budget in excess of $5.5 million. More than 10,000 unduplicated individuals are served each year through a multitude of anti-poverty services.