CAP Networks

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.” CAAs help individuals of all ages to achieve self-sufficiency. Today there are approximately 1000 CAAs, serving low income individuals in every state as well as Puerto Rico and the Trust Territories.

The CAA Network
Community Action Agencies Across America

The service areas of Community Action Agencies (CAAs) cover 96 percent of the nation’s counties. These agencies are connected by a national network that includes the Community Action Partnership national association, regional associations, state associations, a national lobbying organization, and a national association of Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) administrators.

CAAs are a primary source of direct support for the more than 34.5 million people who live in poverty in the United States. The majority of CAA program participants are extremely economically challenged with incomes below 75 percent of the federal poverty threshold, or $9,735 for a family of three (the average family size for the client population).

The Community Action network serves more than:

  • 16.2 million individuals per year
  • 3 million families per year

CAAs serve all regions and populations:

  • 54% of CAAs serve rural areas
  • 36% of CAAs serve areas considered both urban and rural
  • 10% of CAAs serve urban areas

The average population a CAA serves is approximately 300,000 people. The average number of low-income people within each service area is 37,600.

Board, Staff, and Volunteers

CAA boards of directors have 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
  • The average size of a CAA board is: 25 people
  • The typical size of agency staff is: 115 full-time equivalent workers
  • On average each CAA has: 813 people volunteering at the agency each year

What CAAs Do

Because each CAA is governed locally, each provides a different mix of programs and services. The following represent the percentages of CAAs that deliver these services:

Community Coordination – 94%
Citizen participation, neighborhood and community organization, information and referrals

Emergency Services – 91%
Food Pantries, energy assistance homeless shelters, domestic violence

Education – 89%

Head Start, youth mentoring ,literacy, Adult Basic Education

Food and Nutrition – 84%  
Meals on Wheels, congregate feeding, food banks

Family Development – 68%   
Day care, case management, counseling, supportEmployment

Training/Employment  - 63%
Job readiness, job training, job creation

Income Management – 53%  

Budget CounselingTransportation – 49%
Rural transportation systems, on-demand transportation

Housing – 46%  
Self-help housing, homeownership, rental assistance, Weatherization

Economic Development – 39%  
Business planning and loans, water and sewer

Health Care – 29%
Health Clinics, WIC, prescription assistance

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