The Community Action Network


Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are nonprofit private and public organizations established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America's War on Poverty. Community Action Agencies help people to help themselves in achieving self-sufficiency. Today there are approximately 1000 Community Action Agencies, serving the poor in every state as well as Puerto Rico and the Trust Territories. Washington State has 30 CAAs.

CAAs address causes of poverty, not the symptoms, which means:

  • CAAs work to ensure their community offers everyone opportunities to become economically secure, and:
  • They invest in individuals and their families who are striving to develop skills.
  • Once these opportunities and skills are obtained, CAA programs are designed to move people toward self-sufficiency, not continued reliance on public assistance.

Local Solutions to Local Problems

Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are governed by a tripartite board of directors. A tripartite board means the representatives must reflect a unique composition of:
  • at least one-third members from the low-income community
  • exactly one-third public officials
  • up to one-third members from the private sector
In addition, CAAs are required to conduct a comprehensive Community Need's Assessment at least once every three years. This means, CAAs are out in the community talking to residents, neighbors, community partners, service recipients and tax-payers about what community needs are being over-looked and how to fix them.


Community Action Agencies would not be successful without the overwhelming support of community members who volunteer their valuable time and talents.
In WA State last year:
  • Nearly 16,000 individuals volunteered at Community Action Agencies
  • Those volunteers donated nearly 1.3 million hours helping families in need
  • Almost 700,000 of those hours were donated by low-income volunteers

“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don't live in a world all of your own.”
― Albert Schweitzer