Community Action Agencies
“Because it is right, because it is wise, and because, for the first time in our history, it is possible to conquer poverty; I submit, for the consideration of the Congress and the country, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.” President Lyndon Johnson.

In 1964, Congress passed legislation establishing the Office of Economic Opportunity. It was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s dream of a better society for all people of the US, aimed at eliminating poverty.

CAAs are nonprofit, public or private organizations created to fight poverty at the local level. The CAA network was established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which was signed by President Lyndon Johnson to declare an “unconditional War on Poverty”.

The video on the right gives a good overview of Community Action Agencies in the Twin Cities and surrounding area. This video is provided by ECHO Minnesota.
Today, Community Action Agencies can be found in 96% of the cities and counties in the United States, including the Trust Territories. There are nearly 1,000 local CAAs connected by a national network that includes a national association, regional and state CAA associations, a national lobbying organization and a national association of Community Service Block Grant administrators.

Community Action professionals have over 40 years of experience in mobilizing and targeting scarce resources to best meet the needs of the low-income community. CAA staff work closely and with great success in both the public and private domain, leveraging support from diverse sectors of the community.

It was at that time the area’s county area officials came together to form and introduce into the seven county area of East Central Minnesota a new service organization...Lakes and Pines Community Action Council, Inc.

The Agency’s original staff of 10, which operated out of small office space in Braham, provided by East Central Energy, endeavored to discover where poverty was located, the causes of it and the possible correction for it. The annual agency budget was $60,000 in 1964-65.

Today the Agency employs over 100 staff and partners with hundreds of volunteers and community organizations. Although the central office facility is housed in Mora, satellite offices and weatherization warehouses are located throughout the target area.
The Employees of Lakes and Pines
      Lakes and Pines CAC employes over 100 staff members who provide dedicated services with a personal connection between lower-income households and community resources. Within the central office located in Mora administrative personnel, fiscal and dataprocessing technicians, secretarial support, fuel assistance certifiers, advocates, program managers and coordinators oversee project management.

      Our field staff provide valuable "hands-on" services, which includes weatherization crews, field managers, and heating system specialists who provide energy-conservation measures to homes. Family advocates, home visitors, classroom teachers, child care leads, and lead home visitors, providing services to parents and children.

Agency Administrative Team
Board of Directors
The 21 member board assists with the develpment of policies, procedures and regulations to govern the operations of the 501(c)3 private, non-profit corporation, as well as to monitor the finances, programs and performance of the Agency.

The five key board responsibilities are to:
  •    • Work toward the mission of the agency and meet the needs of the lower-income people of the seven county area.
  •    • Set policies that guide the agency.
  •    • Monitor the progress of the strategic plan for the non-profit's growth and development.
  •    • Monitor and approve budgets and financial reports.
  •    • Provide the direction and support for the administrator (Executive Director).

The Board of Directors of a Community Action Agency Consist of:
  •    • 1/3 of it's membership from the community at large representing business, industry, labor, faith groups, law enforcement education of other major groups and interests in the community served.
  •    • 1/3 public officials or their chosen representatices.
  •    • 1/3 being persons representing low-income individuals and families in their local community.
Advisory Council
A variety of Advisory Councils aid us in focusing more locally on the causes and issues affecting the area's low-income residents.

Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program Advisory Committee provides guidance in administering projects to overcome housing barriers that exist within our communities; including homeless services planning ensuring compliance with administering the projects, selection of participants for MURL homes, advocating for more income-based housing.

Membership includes volunteers from community organizations, both private and public, and groups served (homeless representation).

The Head Start Policy Council is comprised of parents elected from each community group, parents previously involved in the program, and representatives from community organizations.

Head Start believes "Parents are Partners" in accomplishing the goals of building families. An important part of this growth is helping adults develope new skills, In addition to being the focus on the home visit, volunteering at socializations, and participating in group social times, parents form the policy making board for Head Start.