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CMCA celebrates 50 years

CMCA celebrates 50 years

Like other Community Action Agencies across the nation, Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA) is currently commemorating 50 Years of Community Action. Throughout these 50 years, CMCA has advocated on behalf of millions of low-income families.

The agency’s mission has been “to help income eligible individuals and families achieve self-reliance through partnerships with the community.” They primarily act in the community to meet the needs of those in poverty and have partnered with outside agencies such as the Missouri Food Bank, Community Garden Coalition, Planned Parenthood of Mid-Missouri and Mid-Missouri Legal Services Corporation.

According to its official website, CMCA was started in 1964 after former President Lyndon Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Law that authorized the formation of local Community Action Agencies to fight against poverty. It was one of the many agencies established to fight Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Upon the mid-Missouri agency’s official establishment on December 6, 1965, it was initially called Human Development Corporation (HDC) and only served Boone County. However, within the first year HDC became Central Missouri Counties Human Development Corporation (CMCHDC) and extended its reach to Audrain, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau, Osage and Randolph counties; the latter was eventually transferred to another CAA.

CMDC, its name since 2006, now offers services such as Head Start, a child development service and its largest program; Foster Grandparents; Weatherization, which helps families reduce heating and cooling costs by increasing energy efficiency; Family Support and Housing Development, among others.

Although income inequality has reached its highest level since the Great Depression, positive trends have also been noted. According to a CMCA press release, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that federal support programs for low-income families reduce poverty and have long-term effects. Columbia University also discovered that Johnson’s War on Poverty safety net programs reduced poverty by 10 percent — to 16 percent — between 1967 and 2012.

The national Community Action Partnership will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a gala on August 22nd in Washington D.C.



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