Join the Community Taking Action Movement!

In 2014, the Community Action Network celebrated 50 years of fighting poverty and creating opportunity for millions of Americans nationwide. Community Taking Action is a movement to honor our state’s progress with helping disadvantaged families and individuals achieve prosperity and promote our vision and commitment over the next decade and beyond.


50 Years of Progress

Our nation came together to declare a War on Poverty in 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson created Head Start and other programs serving low-income families. Later in 1964, he signed the Economic Opportunity Act, which created Community Action Agencies, Job Corps, VISTA, and other programs to fight poverty. We also saw broadly shared economic growth and the creation of vital programs serving our most vulnerable, including Medicaid, Medicare, and the permanent food stamp program.

Get the Facts

Hear the Stories

Community Action programs have helped
cut poverty nearly in half, reducing poverty
from 19% to 11%                                   
Deeanne:  A mom with 3 small boys fleeing domestic violence with $30 in her pocket goes from homeless to homeowner.        
Income among the bottom fifth of American households is more than 75 percent greater than in 1964.
Deborah:  A self-sufficient senior traces her Community Action roots back to the 1960s.

Genice:  Community Action is a part of a single mother's support system.

Celebrating 50 Years and Beyond

The Next 50 Years

Washington State’s Community Action Partnership, in addition to helping people weather our recent economic downturn, has a deep-rooted commitment to further reducing poverty over the next decade and beyond. Through a connected network of 30 agencies statewide, we are passionately working at the state and local levels to ensure all people in Washington get their basic needs met today and are empowered to build a better tomorrow. We are deeply committed to continual examination of our work and improving our impact to help each of our communities thrive and prosper. Healthy communities benefit everyone. Our path of progress focuses on eight key areas aimed at healthy and vibrant communities:

  • Housing: We believe everyone should have a safe, affordable place to live and call home.
  • Asset Development & Financial Stability: We believe access to financial knowledge, affordable credit and personal savings build a powerful bridge to prosperity.
  • Employment: We believe everyone who is able to work deserves the tools, skills and opportunity to succeed. Education: We believe everyone deserves the education they need to succeed and thrive. 
  • Health: We believe securing a family's health and well-being is a long-term investment in individual lives, and in our community.
  • Food/Nutrition: We believe everyone should have access to enough healthy, nutritious food to thrive in school, work and at home.
  • Community Engagement: We believe in unleashing the power of neighbor helping neighbor and working together with a more common vision of the path to prosperity.
  • Economic Vitality: We believe people thrive in communities with strong local economies; we also believe local economies thrive when people thrive.

Taking Action

To accomplish these ambitious goals, we need your help! Here are some ways that you can get involved with the Community Taking Action movement:

· Donate money or volunteer time at a Community Action Agency near you. Click to find your local agency

· Bring items to satisfy a variety of needs to your local agency such as food, clothing, children’s toys, etc. Check with your local agency for what is needed. Click to find your local agency

· Contribute your specific knowledge and expertise to assist your community overcome barriers that hold people back from thriving. In some communities this could be aimed at improving the reach of public transport, assisting people in their pursuit of their GED, helping folks navigate the legal of healthcare systems, to name some. Click to find your local agency

· Speak up! Join us as we provide a unified voice for Community Action Agencies in advocacy, policy, programmatic and legislative issues to positively impact families and communities in the State of Washington. Contact us today to get involved

Deeanne ’s Story

Deeanne was a single mom fleeing domestic violence with 3 small boys.  She had $30 dollars in her pocket when she arrived at the shelter.  Community Action Center in Whitman County worked with Deeanne and helped her with basic needs to get stabilized, and skills to exit poverty.  Deeanne's dream was to be a homeowner.  Watch her whole story here.

Deborah ’s Story

Centerstone (one of Washington’s 30 Community Action Agencies) is in my blood. We go back a long ways, to the 60’s when I got my first job with the Community Action agency. It had a great teen drop-in center, a place for teens and parents to feel safe. Now I’m a senior and I have worked my entire life. I was at Boeing for over 15 years but was laid off in October of 2000. Technology was really taking over and a lot of our jobs went to machines. They didn’t need actual people. It took me almost a year to find a new job at the Recovery Centers of King County in Kent where I worked as a receptionist until the summer of 2007. I wanted to follow my dream of opening my own salon so in the summer of 2007 I began the process, but my timing could not have been worse. I opened in July of 2008, just as the economic downturn started. In less than 2 years I was forced to close my business, ending my dream, which turned into a nightmare. I lost everything I had, my savings, my 401k, my business, and my condo. I fell into a deep depression and generally I can deal with anything, but not knowing how you are going to survive really makes you lose it. I was trying to get by with seasonal work from H&R Block, but I couldn’t recoup my losses. I wasn’t eligible for Social Security yet (although I’m a senior, I’m a ‘young’ senior).

Which brings me to 2011 when I relocated from Puyallup back into the Central Area, making me eligible for assistance from Centerstone. Centerstone paid my Seattle City Light bill, and prevented my eviction by paying my past due rent. I would have been a homeless senior without their help.

Now I enjoy volunteering at Centerstone because it fulfills my life, fills a void, and keeps me active. I feel empowered to help others who are in similar situations and it lets me take control of my life. I want to thank Centerstone for being such a supportive part of my life. We go back a LONG WAY.”

Genice’s Story

Genice was only sixteen when she first learned about Centerstone (a Community Action Agency). It was the summer of 1978. Her family was low on food and her mother came to her and said, “I’m going to get food and I don’t have to pay for it.” More than thirty years later, Genice still depends on Centerstone’s services from time to time. As a single mother with two sons, things haven’t always been easy for her. “I’ve never hesitated to count Centerstone as part of my support system,” Genice said. Some of her family members have taken a job training program at Centerstone, and recently Genice was faced with a $1,400 light bill and an increase in her rent, which she couldn’t pay. She called Centerstone and had a significant amount of her bill paid and she also received rental assistance to keep from being evicted.