Saginaw County Community Action Center
Who Are We?
Our Mission

To serve as a proactive and dedicated community organization providing programs and services to low-income individuals and families helping them to achieve economic security.

Our Vision

A Community were self-sufficient, financially capable members have the opportunity to thrive where they live, work and play.

What we have to offer

Saginaw Community Action Center has a number of well established programs in the community which include its Gardening Program, Dental Care Program, Information and Referrals, Minority Senior Outreach and Advocacy, Neighborhood Environmental Code Enforcement, Emergency Services/Housing, Food and Nutrition Services, Minor Home Repairs and Weatherization Programs to name a few.

What is a Community Action Agency?
Saginaw County Community Action Committee, Inc. was established on January 29,1965, less than a year after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) that established the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) on August 20, 1964. Seven Pillars came together to combat poverty in Saginaw County by establishing an organization geared toward mobilizing and utilizing resources, both public and private, to provide services and assistance which give promise of progress toward the elimination of poverty and the causes. They set out to achieve this through the development of employment opportunities, improving human performances, and motivating productivity for better living conditions under which people in Saginaw County Live, learn and work in. Those Sever Pillars: Kenneth V. Anderson, Henry Marsh, Thomas Retherman, R Kenneth Letherar, Henry Nickleberry, Emilio Martinez and Jack Frye, set the tone for the work in which we continue to provide within Saginaw County today. Community Action Agencies help the poor in the areas of self-sufficiency, employment, housing, education, management, information, and referral. Over half the nation’s Head Start programs are administered by CAA’s, and most CAA’s are heavily involved with Weatherization and Rental Assistance Programs. CAA’s are a primary source of support for more than 38 million Americans living in poverty. For the estimated 12 million Americans below the poverty line, who do not receive welfare benefits – the working poor, intact families and childless adults – CAA’s are their chief source of assistance. There are many rural areas and sections of urban American where the CAA is the only group able and willing to reach out to the poor.
Community Action was the cornerstone of the EOA, embodying these fundamental ideas: that the poor know best what their problems are and how best to allocate resources to correct them and that the poor need a hand up, not a hand out. Hence, the requirement for “maximum feasible participation of the poor” in the direction and work of Community Action Agencies was built into the organization: one third of the board of directors of Community Action Agencies are representatives of the poor, one third are public officials, and the other third are representatives of the broader community: including business, the clergy, labor, education, and the arts. Approximately three quarters of the CAA’s are private, non-profit agencies and one quarter public agencies; that is, departments of local, city, or county government. Local Community Action Agencies, like Saginaw County Community Action Committee, Inc. were the embodiment of this belief, and remain the centerpiece of the anti-poverty program. The stated purpose of the EOA was to strengthen, supplement, and coordinate efforts “to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this Nation by opening to everyone the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity.”
Originally, CAA was given local initiative” funds to support locally designed and administered programs to combat poverty in their communities. As the years went by, the local initiative programs became more entrenched and the local CAA had less “free” money with which to start new programs. But, at the same time, other program funds became available, not only through Title II of the Economic Opportunity Act, but through other Federal and State agencies and departments as well. By 1970 there were some 1,200 CAA’s nationwide, serving areas in which 90 percent of the nation’s poor resided. During the 70’s, the number of CAA’s nationally leveled off at about 1,000 as a result of consolidation of a number of small, rural, single county CAA’s into larger multi-agencies, but the coverage actually increased to 95 percent of the nations counties.
The Economic Opportunity Act, and with it the Community Services Administration, expired on September 30, 1981, but Community Action lives on under the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), administered by the Office of Community Services in the Administration for Children and Families, HHS. Today, these 1,000 CAA’s are spread through all fifty states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Trust Territories, serving 95 percent of the nations counties. On average, seven percent of the CAA’s funding comes from the CSBG; 93 percent comes from other Federal, State, local, and private sources.