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National Community Action Month – May 2023

National Community Action Month is held annually in May. It was established by the Community Action Partnership in order to strengthen the role of Community Action Agencies in assisting low-income families in achieving economic stability. Certain governors and mayors have declared May to be Community Action Month in their respective states and cities. During this month, Community Action Agencies assist individuals in making positive changes in their lives through the Promise of Community Action. They accomplish this in an interesting way by hosting events that help put a face to families struggling to gain self-sufficiency. Personal achievements and success stories are celebrated.

History of National Community Action Month

The Community Action Partnership established National Community Action Month in May to highlight the critical role that Community Action Agencies play in helping low-income families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Community Action emerged from former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who fought poverty with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Johnson planned to improve the lives of all Americans. As inspired by President Kennedy, Johnson pledged to provide equal opportunity for everyone by making inclusive changes within the federal government.

In August 1964, Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, a set of social initiatives designed to improve underprivileged Americans’ education, health, employment, and well-being. In the same year, the Economic Opportunity Act created Community Action Programs — to combat poverty — administered by Community Action Agencies, which are regional private and public non-profit organizations in the U.S. and its regions. Accordingly, Community Action Agencies were also part of Johnson’s War on Poverty. They make use of National Community Action Month to draw attention to the excellent initiatives that assist thousands of families in achieving self-sufficiency.

The demonstration of Community Action Programs provides residents, who are oblivious of the poverty in their communities, with an up-close and personal view of the difficulties low-income families face, as well as an understanding of how Community Action Programs can assist these families in achieving financial security. These individuals and families are constantly confronted with tremendous problems, and they have conquered numerous roadblocks. Instead of focusing on the past, Community Action Month encourages people to think about the future of the areas affected by poverty. Certain governors and mayors have designated May as Community Action Month in their respective states and cities.

National Community Action Month timeline

1964
The Month’s Begining

It traces its origins to the Civil Rights Movement and is formalized by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

1965
The Establishment of a Community Action Agency

The Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties is founded and has been an active participant in this movement.

1973
The Community Action Program Funding

Community Action Programs get a message informing them that funding for CAPs is no longer available and several community action programs are being closed.

1975
The New Name is Given

The Office of Economic Opportunity, an autonomous agency responsible for War on Poverty programs, is renamed the Community Services Administration.

National Community Action Month FAQs

What is the total number of community action agencies in the U.S?

The number of Community Action Agencies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico has risen to over 1,000 in recent years.

Is the Economic Opportunity Act still around today?

No, it was abolished in 1981 by Congress.

Who is referred to as the ‘Father of Community Action?’

Robert Sargent Shriver Jr. — the first Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity.

How to Observe National Community Action Month

  1. Give financially to this cause

    The collective mission of the month is to lessen the causes and consequences of poverty in the lives of individuals in the community. They need cash to do this, so donating is a great way to celebrate.

  2. Spread the word

    It is very important to let others know the importance of the month. It can make a huge difference, especially for the organizers and the recipients when more people know.

  3. Volunteer your time and expertise

    Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to give back to your community by offering your time and expertise. With community action, you are taking actions to help your neighbors overcome the adverse effects of poverty on their lives.

5 Facts About Community Action

  1. What community action means

    Community action is any activity that promotes greater understanding, engagement, and empowerment of communities.

  2. What the goal of community action is

    The main purpose is to show policymakers, partners, and the general public that it is possible to help individuals, families, and communities realize economic security and well-being.

  3. Volunteers are always needed

    Any form of community action cannot be realized without the help of volunteers and in fact, millions of hours are volunteered during National Community Action Month.

  4. There are numerous agencies

    There are over 1,000 agencies whose focus is on community action.

  5. It’s also known as ‘social action’

    Community action can refer to a wide range of actions that are sometimes defined as ‘social action’ or ‘community engagement.’

Why National Community Action Month is Important

  1. It helps alleviate poverty

    This day focuses on alleviating poverty. Not only does it try to alleviate poverty, but it also helps encourage people to do more for their community.

  2. It increases self-reliance

    It provides people with the knowledge and tools they need to make positive changes in their lives. Participants and their relatives are encouraged to make choices that lead to self-sufficiency.

  3. It helps in meeting basic needs

    It is difficult for anyone who wants to improve their economic state if they are concerned about their basic needs, such as having a decent, comfortable, and secure home or having enough food in the fridge. This day helps people overcome these obstacles, so they can concentrate on improving their financial situation.

National Community Action Month dates

YearDateDay
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
2026May 1Friday
2027May 1Saturday
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