What is Community Action?
In August 1964, President Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act creating the nationwide Community Action Network. President Johnson’s sweeping plan to improve the lives of all Americans regardless of their circumstances was inspired by President Kennedy’s New Frontier. Johnson pledged to fulfill Kennedy’s promise of equal opportunity by enacting several comprehensive changes within the federal government.
Community Action equips low-income citizens with the tools and potential for becoming self-sufficient. The structure of the program is unique—federal dollars are used locally to offer specialized programming in communities. It is a coordinated effort to address the root effects of poverty and to, ultimately, move families and individuals to self-sufficiency.
This work is not easy, and demand is always shifting and changing. Over the years, the federal government has changed as well. The funding is now part of the Block Grant System, which allows for the flexibility and specialization of unique programs. Poverty is viewed as a systemic problem and Community Action is a systems approach to resolving those issues. There are now over 1,000 Community Action Agencies throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.