A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

August 21st Newsletter – MASSCAP

Massachusetts Association for Community Action

Road to Opportunity: Finding the Way Forward

sMASSCAP newsletter – August 21, 2019

DID YOU KNOW: Community Action Facts
  • There are 23 Community Action Agencies in MA serving the entire state.
  • We are part of a national network of +1000 Agencies serving +15M low-income individuals.
  • Community Action has been helping people for more than 50 years – formed during President Lyndon B. Johnson's "war on poverty" through the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
  • Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are governed by Tripartite Boards made up in equal parts by low-income people, members of the business community, and local public officials.
  • Public programs (programs CAAs run and refer to) help keep more than 920,000 people in MA from poverty annually.

More information and access the data: Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward, May 2018

Learn more!  Watch our webinar  What We All Need to Know About Poverty in Massachusetts – featuring report author, Nancy Wagman, Kids Count Director, MassBudget.

Learn more in our NEW 2018 Annual Report.

POLICY MATTERS: Creating Opportunity

The state support and funding for policies and programs that create opportunity is critical.  We advocate for policies that strengthen families, bridge the wage gap, create economic opportunity and strengthen the human services infrastructure.

We are thrilled that our top priorities were included in the FY20 Budget. Thank you to the Governor and the legislature for prioritizing the needs of our low-income residents and providing opportunity.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Community Initiatives

Community Action Agencies conduct comprehensive community needs assessments to identify the needs of low-income individuals in their communities and develop strategic plans defining services, strategies and initiatives to meet those needs and strengthen the community.   Meeting community needs involves providing a wide range of integrated services as well as working with local partners on longer term community initiatives marked by collaboration and organized around a shared vision and goals.

A sampling of Community Initiatives happening around the state currently:

  • North Shore Forward: A collective impact initiative addressing substance use disorder on the North Shore, focused on prevention, intervention, and stabilization, with the goal of decreasing the prevalence of substance use disorder in the community.  The group includes Action Inc. along with Lahey Health, Gloucester Police Department, Gloucester Public Health Department, North Shore Health Project and others.
  • Financial Capability in Fitchburg/North Central MA: An initiative to coordinate resources and ensure accessible financial education, products, and services critical in families' efforts toward achieving economic stability.  Montachusett Opportunity Council is working with local financial institutions and partners as well as Fitchburg State University with goal of establishing a Financial Capability Center.
  • Affordable Housing Preservation in Lowell: A Community Teamwork initiative to preserve affordable housing units on Broadway Street in Lowell.  Partners include Common Ground Development Corporation, Department of Housing and Community Development and the City of Lowell.
  • Greater Framingham Food Network: An initiative to improve collaboration, coordination and expansion around food access and security in the MetroWest.  South Middlesex Opportunity Council is working with many local providers and nonprofits including the United Way of Tri-County and Salvation Army as well as the Framingham Health Department.
  • South Shore Family Network: An initiative led by South Shore Community Action Council to increase parenting and early childhood development education opportunities and accessible resources across the region.  Partners include public schools, libraries, shelters, churches, early intervention programs, Head Start/Early Head Start, Department of Children and Families, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and more.

Learn more in our NEW 2018 Annual Report.


Our next Poverty Forum will take place in Fall River in conjunction with Citizens for Citizens and the Community Action Agencies serving Fall River, New Bedford and the surrounding communities, on October 11 at 9:00 a.m. at the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, UMass Dartmouth, in Fall River.  Watch for more details and registration.

Save the date for our Constituent Services Briefing on November 13 in Room 428 at MA State House.

Check out our Comprehensive Job Readiness Curriculum Guide.  Now an Open Source Document!


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