A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
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The Learning Community – Community Action Partnership

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.

Accountability of Charitable Organizations

The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector has published recommended actions to strengthen governance, transparency, and accountability among charitable organizations including 501(c)(3) agencies.

Across Ages Intergenerational Mentoring Program

The Community Action Commission sponsors Across Ages as an intergenerational mentoring program working to increase the protective factors for high risk youth in order to prevent, reduce, or delay the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and the problems associated with such use.

Apartment Licensing Ordinance

The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley was a leading force with an advocacy campaign to gain broad community support for passage of a local ordinance for licensing of rental apartments.

Appreciative Inquiry Process for Strategic Planning

Springfield Partners for Community Action uses the Appreciative Inquiry Process for strategic planning that builds upon an organization’s underlying strengths and values to create a vision for the future building on what worked best in the past.

Board of Directors Training

The Office of Community Services/Virginia Department of Social Services has developed a training presentation to help Community Action Agency board members learn about and effectively fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

Board Transformation Toolkits

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence has developed a series of free Board Transformation Toolkits that provide the groundwork for boards to learn new skills, reflect on their strengths and plan steps to become even stronger.

CAA Annual Reports

Annual Reports help broaden understanding and support for Community Action and attract attention to poverty issues and solutions.

Building Future Leaders Diagnostic Survey

Are you doing what you can to develop your organization’s next generation of leaders? Take the Bridgespan Group’s free survey, see how your organization compares to others, and jumpstart your thinking on what successful leadership development could look like in your organization.

CAA Best Practices, Award Programs and Success Stories

CAA Best Practice and Award Programs and CAA Success Stories help gain recognition of the positive results of Community Action, assist CAA’s in identifying initiatives that could be replicated, and serve as motivation for additional support and involvement with CAA efforts.

CAA Board Self-Assessment Tool

Learn more about the Indiana Community Action Association’s training and technical assistance initiative to strengthen board governance and improve CAA financial management and accountability.

CAA Board Self-Evaluation Instruments

Effective governance is an element of National Goal 5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results. CSBG Information Memorandum 82 emphasizes that CAA boards are ultimately responsible for assuring that an agencies continue to assess and respond to the causes and conditions of poverty in their community, achieve anticipated family and community outcomes, and remain administratively and fiscally sound.

CAA Board Training Manual

The Iowa Community Action Association has created a Board Training Manual, which can be adapted for use by CAAs across the nation.

CAA Board Training Presentation

Community Action Kentucky has developed a Board Training Presentation to help Community Action Agency board members learn about and effectively fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

CAA Media Services Department

The Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity established a Media Services Department to market program services and to promote community awareness of Community Action.

CAA Training and Capacity Building

State CAP Association Training and Capacity Building activities help strengthen and expand CAA governance, management, and program activities through (a) increased awareness of emerging trends and anti-poverty strategies, (b) skill building, (c) information exchange, and (d) access to materials and resources.

CAA Tripartite Boards – CSBG Information Memorandum 82

The Office of Community Services has developed information about the roles and responsibilities of tripartite boards as required by statute, along with suggestions on how State CSBG authorities, State community action associations, and local agency officials can help assure that boards function effectively.

Campus of Services

Fayette County Community Action Agency has developed a Campus of Services as a community development initiative to promote integrated human services in combination with affordable housing.

Cass River Enterprises

The Human Development Commission established Cass River Enterprises to generate revenue for the agency while addressing needs of the general public, as well as enhancing the local economy and improving the lives of area residents.

Centralized Employee Performance Review Process

The Fayette County Community Action Agency’s uses a Centralized Employee Performance Review Process with an emphasis on coaching and continuous feedback in order to foster staff growth and to maximize productivity.

Certified Community Action Professional Program

The Community Action Partnership offers the Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) program for Community Action leaders dedicated to creating more opportunities for their agency and to enhancing their leadership skills.

Circles® USA

Circles® has been developed to serve as a national model by the Move the Mountain Leadership Center. South Central Community Action Programs became involved with the initiative as a way to effectively engage the community to end poverty.

Communications Planning Guide

This California/Nevada Community Action Partnership Reference Manual is designed to provide valuable information on how to approach the implementation of a successful communications program.

Community Action Financial Services

The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley promotes asset building as an essential mechanism to help low- to moderate-income families move toward self-sufficiency. Protecting those assets, though, is an important part of the strategy, so advocacy against predatory lending practices is undertaken as part of the agency’s Community Action Financial Services division.

Community Action Poverty Simulation

The Missouri Association for Community Action developed the Community Action Poverty Simulation to help raise awareness about different aspects of poverty that can lead to discussion about the potential for change in local communities.

Community Assessment Resources

Needs assessment studies are one component of the Results Oriented Management and Accountability cycle. This process is a key feature of an agency’s planning and evaluation process that relates to ROMA National Goal #5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results.

Community Assessments – Examples of CAA Needs Assessment Reports

Needs assessment studies are one component of the Results Oriented Management and Accountability cycle. This process is a key feature of an agency’s planning and evaluation process that relates to ROMA National Goal #5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results.

CSBG Information Memoranda

The Division of State Assistance within the Office of Community Services publishes regulations and notices related to the Community Services Block Grant Program through Information Memoranda that are distributed to CSBG program administrators.

Developing a Basic Communications Plan

This publication from the Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencie is designed to provide a step-by-step guide for creating the framework for a basic communications plan.

Discovering “What Works” Webinar Recording

This webinar starts by reviewing the movement toward evidence-based programs and practices and scrutiny of CSBG over the past 4 years. Next, learn about ways your agency can capitalize on research-based and other strategies that will strengthen your programs and your entire organization.

Duluth Blueprint to End Poverty Initiative

Community Action Duluth created the Duluth Blueprint to End Poverty Initiative as a Call to Action to generate community involvement and support to build economic prosperity and hope for every citizen of Duluth.

Effective CAA Board Governance

The National Association for State Community Services Programs supports a focus on Effective CAA Board Governance to help increase board involvement, management and accountability.

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Resources to support disaster planning are featured along with tools from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that can be used by Community Action Agencies and others to develop effective Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief plans.

Establishing Effective Workforce Development Programs

The Massachusetts Association for Community Action has published a Resource Guide on Establishing Effective Workforce Development Programs to help Community Action Agencies and others in their efforts to assist individuals in moving toward self-sufficiency.

Family Economic Mobility Webinar Recording

This webinar highlights resources available through the CSBG Resource Bank that produce positive outcomes for low-income youth and families. It also highlights three distinct models for increasing economic mobility.

Financial Management for Federally Funded Organizations

The Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides information to help Federal grantee agencies understand and comply with the requirement to have financial management systems that provide for timely, accurate, current and complete disclosure of financial information while providing for oversight and protection of Federal funds.

Financial Oversight by Governing Boards

The Office of Community Services/Virginia Department of Social Services has developed a training presentation to help Community Action Agency board members learn about and effectively fulfill their financial oversight roles and responsibilities.

Fiscal Oversight by Program Managers

Northeast Kingdom Community Action provides its program managers with real time access to fiscal information as a mechanism to fulfill their role with fiscal oversight.

Framework for Economic Self-Sufficiency

The Community Action Partnership of Kern has developed a Framework for Economic Self-Sufficiency to support strategic planning by CAA’s with the primary purpose of cohesively fighting the causes of poverty.

Free to Grow

The Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc. is part of the Free to Grow national demonstration program that brings together broad-based community partners to support locally tailored, integrated approaches to strengthening families and communities. Free to Grow is implemented through Head Start and works to enhance protective factors and decrease risk factors in both the family and the community to serve as a buffer against substance abuse and child abuse.

Grant Opportunities

Expansion of an agency’s financial resources is a key element of ROMA National Goal #5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results.

Grassroots Prevention Coalition

Community Action of Southern Indiana coordinates the Grassroots Prevention Coalition to reduce youth alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse.

Nonprofit Hiring Toolkit

The Bridgespan Group’s Nonprofit Hiring Toolkit explores important steps to the hiring process that, when done well and thoroughly, will help you find and hire the best talent for your open positions.

Housing and Community Facility Development

Garrett County Community Action Committee has developed extensive affordable housing ventures, as well as community and commercial facilities, to improve the quality of life for County residents. GCCAC is also supporting small local towns in creating and implementing strategies for revitalizing business districts and neighborhoods.

Immigrant Advocacy

New Opportunities, Inc. established the Immigrant Advocacy Center to assist the growing population of immigrants with their efforts to gain legal status or citizenship.

Joint Coalition on Health

The Joint Coalition on Health is a group of committed individuals and organizations working collaboratively as catalysts for change and advocates for the underserved to improve the health and well-being of everyone in North Central Massachusetts.

Kindergarten Club

Community Action Southwest established the Kindergarten Club to increase school readiness and school success for children entering kindergarten.

Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program

The Salt Lake Community Action Program coordinates the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program to help parties involved in eviction proceedings in settling their dispute cooperatively prior to appearing before a judge.

Living Wage Calculator

The Living Wage Estimator helps reflect poverty rates among the working poor for use with public policymaking and planning, as well as advocacy initiatives.

Living Wage Campaign Resources

Efforts to promote living wage job opportunities combined with efforts to help families meet basic living expenses such as food, housing, childcare, transportation, and health care are vital toward achievement of ROMA National Goal #2: The Conditions in Which Low-Income Live are Improved.

Membership Structure for State CAP Association

The Missouri Community Action Network has developed a three-level membership structure to build broad-based involvement and support toward accomplishment of the Association’s purpose and mission.

MinnCAP Return on Investment Reports

The Minnesota Community Action Partnership has conducted Return on Investment research on the impact of the Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota Program.

Mutual Self-Help Housing Program

The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program expands affordable homeownership opportunities and also helps develop bonds of community and provides children with positive aspirations for their future.

On-Line Needs Assessment Survey

LKLP Community Action Council uses an On-Line Needs Assessment Survey as a method to gain information for use in developing priorities and strategies as part of the agency’s annual planning process.

Planning and Evaluation Tools

Strengthening an agency’s planning and evaluation capacities is a key element of ROMA National Goal #5: Agencies Increase Their Capacity to Achieve Results.

Poverty: A–Z

Both the Kansas Association of Community Action Programs and Community Action Kentucky have developed powerful Poverty: A-Z exhibits to communicate the realities of poverty and efforts to combat poverty.

Professional Standards for Fiscal Staff

The Virginia Community Action Partnership has developed recognized standards of competence for Community Action Agency fiscal staff through a program of professional registration and continuing education.

Public Awareness and Advocacy

The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley regularly conducts research on poverty-related issues to promote public awareness that will lead to subsequent policy and programmatic responses.

Quality Review Process

The Fayette County Community Action Agency established a Quality Review Process as a mechanism to promote continuous improvement in all aspects of the agency.

Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practices

Independent Sector has launched an online Resource Center for Good Governance and Ethical Practice, a comprehensive collection of tools for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to enhance the accountability and transparency of their operations and ensure they operate in ethical ways.

Resources for Nonprofit Boards

BoardSource is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations by strengthening their boards of directors.

ROMA Resources

The National Association for State Community Services Programs maintains the ROMA Web Site that contains information concerning Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA), a performance-based initiative designed to preserve the anti-poverty focus of community action and to promote greater effectiveness among state and local agencies receiving Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds.

Rooting Out Poverty: A Campaign by America’s Community Action Network

The Community Action Partnership has issued the Rooting Out Poverty Report to serve as the bedrock of a national campaign with suggested strategies for local action to promote a more just, more economically stable, more future focused national policy that helps people and communities reach their full potential.

Rural Family Economic Success

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has developed Rural Family Economic Success to help rural families increase their income, stabilize their financial lives, and acquire assets and build wealth.

Silent Partners Program

The Community Action Partnership of Mercer County developed the Silent Partners Program as a method to build a pool of funds to resolve family needs that cannot be addressed by other resources.

State CAP Association Facebook Pages

State CAP Association Facebook Pages help broaden the understanding of Community Action and attract attention to poverty issues and solutions.

Statewide Needs Assessment Study

The North Dakota Community Action Partnership established a Statewide Needs Assessment study to help Community Action Agencies evaluate the needs of and services for low-income individuals and families.

Strategic Communications Planning

As stated by the SPIN Project, a strategic communications plan has the power to transform an organization: both in terms of your credibility and status in your community, and in terms of the way you work together as a team to achieve your mission and vision for your community

Strategic Planning Toolkit

The Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies has published this toolkit to provide a simple framework and tactical tools to aid in real time planning.

Thresholds and Decisions Program for Offenders

Southern New Hampshire Services sponsors the Thresholds and Decisions Program to help reduce recidivism by helping offenders improve their decision making abilities, set goals, solve problems and build self-esteem.

Training Book for Community Action Boards

The Office of Economic Opportunity/Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning has developed a training manual to help Community Action Agency board members learn about and effectively fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

Unified Organizational Structure

The Fayette County Community Action Agency developed a unified organizational structure in order to create integrated agency services and to maximize efforts dedicated to accomplishing the agency’s mission.

Victims Assistance Services

Westchester Community Opportunity Program sponsors Victims Assistance Services to provide free comprehensive clinical and support services to all crime victims, to provide educational activities to prevent victimization and re-victimization, and to raise the awareness of government, law enforcement, health care providers, schools, the criminal justice system and the community-at-large about the unique needs and strengths of crime victims.

Virginia CASH Campaign – EITC Outreach Initiative

The Virginia CASH Campaign (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) was created to help low- and moderate-income workers move toward greater self-sufficiency (a) by receiving the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that can supplement earnings and (b) through financial literacy and other asset-building activities.

Volunteer Lawyer Program

The Community Action of Skagit County’s Volunteer Lawyer Program provides free legal assistance in civil matters (not criminal) to eligible low-income residents of Skagit County.

WeCanEndHunger – Overview

WeCanEndHunger provides an in-depth look at innovative food and nutrition programs and projects developed by anti-hunger organizations in Virginia and around the United States.