A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

The Learning Community – Community Action Partnership

Last Revised: Jan 19, 2017 - Initial Posting: March 11, 2016

A project of the Community Action Partnership’s Learning Communities Resource Center, The Learning Community is comprised of topical Learning Community Groups which consist of a cadre of Community Action Agencies that are currently working on a program or service delivery strategy aimed to fight poverty more effectively and to improve outcomes for families and communities.



The Community Action Partnership’s Learning Communities Resource Center features The Learning Community that consists of Learning Community Groups (LCGs) related to eight focus areas – see 2016-2017 Learning Community Groups.

LCRC-logo (149x150)The Learning Community provides an opportunity for Community Action Agencies to build capacity to increase impact by:

  • Capitalizing on Peer Knowledge and Expertise;
  • Creating Effective Strategies; and
  • Promoting Promising Practices

LCG members meet bi-monthly, either virtually or in-person and assist each other by:

  • Discussing “what works”
  • Sharing data findings
  • Solving problems and
  • Offering support for implementing new ideas, unmet needs, new organizational goals or proving that a strategy works.

LCGs are designed to be informal enough to ensure genuine, “unjudged” discussion, yet formal enough to ensure continuity and follow-through.  Though LCG members will concentrate on the same poverty-related topic, the work activities they generate will be unique to the agency and community they represent.  Each participating agency will be required to create a goal plan to assist them with identifying specific program enhancement goals and associated strategies to achieve those goals.

2016-2017 Learning Community Groups

LCGs have been established under the eight focus areas listed below.

Become a FOLLOWER of any or all of the Learning Community Groups to receive resources shared as well as topical group updates – 2016-2017 LCG schedule.

  • Decreasing Family Homelessness – Increasing affordable housing in safe neighborhoods, and expanding shelter supports and other services leading to home ownership. (OPEN ENROLLMENT)
  • Increasing Financial Empowerment for Families – Designing strategies to help families with low and moderate incomes stabilize their financial lives and rise above poverty. (ENROLLMENT COMPLETED)
  • Health Intersections – Collaborating with the health sector to strengthen anti-poverty outcomes for families. (CLOSED ENROLLMENT)
  • Trauma Informed Approaches for Alleviating Poverty – Understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma in antipoverty efforts. (ENROLLMENT COMPLETED)
  • Place-Based Strategies for Community Revitalization – Developing and/or obtaining tools and resources to transform neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity that support the optimal development and well-being of children and families. (SPACE AVAILABLE - EMAIL Tiffney Marley )
  • Bundling Services to Improve Outcomes – Affirming the existence of comprehensive, bundled services in the Network and identifying which bundle of services are most impactful for serving low-income families. (ENROLLMENT COMPLETED)
  • Poverty Trends – A survey course on the causes and conditions of poverty today and its impact on Community Action. (OPEN ENROLLMENT)
  • Rural IMPACT – A demonstration project working with 10 U.S. communities to make systems change in rural communities to implement a focused and intentional two generation approach to poverty. (ENROLLMENT COMPLETED) – see Rural Integration Model for Parents and Children to Thrive (IMPACT) Demonstration Launch!

Learning Community Process

Learning Community Groups convene virtually and in-person throughout the project and transition through four phases: Formation, Knowledge Building, Piloting, and Practice Transformation.  Learn more by reviewing the outline of 2016-2017 LCG process and The Learning Community: 2016-2017 Member Handbook.

LCG-Process_2016 (346x150)

LCRC Resources

Recent webinars can be found on the LCRC web page.  Additional resources will be featured on the Partnership's new LCRC web page, which is currently under development.


As of February 2016, 43 States plus DC and the Virgin Islands are represented in the Learning Community.  Participants include members and followers from more than 100 CAAs plus others from State CSBG Offices, NASCSP and HHS.
Of the 265 members of the 2013-2015 Learning Communities Resource Center, 52 completed an overall evaluation.  Most respondents had attended three to four cluster meetings. A foundational goal of the Learning Communities Resource Center was to offer opportunities for the sharing of information, tools, and resources from peers as well as experts.
  • 81% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the information, tools, and resources shared by their peers.
  • 90% agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with that shared by the Subject Matter Experts of their respective cluster group.
  • Frequently, LCRC staff or the Subject Matter Expert would reach out to CAAs or other nonprofits to share their knowledge and experience of the cluster topic during meetings. 77% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the information, tools, and resources shared by mentoring agencies.

Looking at the skills gained by cluster members as a larger group, 62% of respondents felt that as a result of participation they were able to put into practice concepts and ideas from their cluster peers. 52% of respondents agreed that their ability to locate and/or access promising practices and relevant research improved as a result of participation in the Learning Community.

81% of respondents felt their participation in cluster group meetings was valuable; likewise 83% said they were satisfied with the overall learning community experience. Comments speak to the ability to be in communication with other organizations, understand the struggles and successes that other agencies face, as well as topic specific ideas learned throughout the experience.


Tiffney Marley, LCRC Project Director

Hyacinth McKinley, LCRC Program Associate

Lisa An, T/TA Program Associate

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This resource page was created by the National Association of Community Action Agencies – Community Action Partnership, in the performance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services Grant Number, 90ET0452. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.