"Because it is right, because it is wise, and because, for the first time in our history, it is possible to conquer poverty,
I submit for the consideration of the Congress and the country, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964."
President Lyndon B. Johnson
In 1964, Community Action was introduced with the enactment of the Economic Opportunity Act. The Act was the centerpiece of the "War on Poverty", and was a major thrust of the "Great Society" legislative agenda of the Lyndon Johnson administration. The ambitious purpose of the Economic Opportunity Act was to mobilize the human and financial resources of the nation to combat the causes and consequences of poverty in the United States.
The Economic Opportunity Act developed and provided funding for a nationwide network of community action agencies. Community action agencies create, coordinate, and deliver an array of comprehensive programs and services to people living in poverty. These programs and services reduce conditions of poverty, revitalize communities, and enable low-income families and low-income individuals to secure opportunities needed for them to become self-sufficient. Today, there are approximately 1,000 community action agencies throughout the United States.
Community action agencies are private nonprofit and public organizations. They are governed by a uniquely structured tripartite volunteer board of directors, comprised equally of elected public officials, private sector representatives, and low-income representatives. This structure is designed to promote the participation of the entire community in assessing local needs and attacking the causes and conditions of poverty.
“The Promise of Community Action”
Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.