Honoring Our Action Heroes

Each year, WCAC hosts an annual Action Hero Awards Celebration to publicly recognize individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in supporting the agency’s mission.

WCAC’s 14th Annual Action Hero Awards and agency’s 55th Anniversary Celebration will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at the AC Marriott, 125 Front Street, Worcester. We are thrilled to welcome Mark K. Shriver as our keynote. Sponsorship opportunities available – please contact ">Ellen Ganley at 508.762.9807 if interested. Details about our 2020 honorees and invididual tickets coming soon!

Thanks to everyone who attended WCAC’s 13th Annual Action Hero Awards on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at Mechanics Hall. . The 2019 Action Hero honorees included: MAPFRE Insurance for its financial support of our Head Start nutrition program and significant volunteer commitment to the agency; Lamoureux Pagano Architects and Madigan Construction for their generosity and support throughout the construction of WCAC’s new Webster Head Start Center; and our Bank On Worcester County partners – Bay State Savings Bank, Berkshire Bank, Cornerstone Bank, DCU, Fidelity Bank and UniBank, for their leadership in addressing the needs of unbanked households in our region. Additionally, we enjoyed keynote remarks from our soon-to-be retiring Executive Director Jill Dagilis. Thank you for helping us recognize her remarkable leadership, dedication and spirit of community action. View photo gallery from the event here.

WCAC held its 12th Annual Action Hero Awards on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. We were thrilled to welcome Massachusetts Senate President Harriette Chandler as our keynote speaker. 2018 Action Hero honorees include Donna & Randy Becker, the Remillard Family Foundation, Apple Tree Arts, James Alkire and Robert Blackman. We are most grateful to all of our corporate sponsors without whom this event would not be possible. Check out photo gallery from the event HERE.

On May 24, 2017 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, WCAC celebrated its 11th Annual Action Hero Awards. We were thrilled to welcome Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito as our special guest along with keynote speaker Noah Berger, President of Mass Budget & Policy Center. Our honorees for 2017 include University of Massachusetts Medical Healthcare, Charlton Oil, Biodun Akande and our own Head Start program celebrating 25 years of service. We are most grateful to all of our corporate sponsors without whom this event would not be possible. Check out our photo gallery from the event HERE.

WCAC's 10th Annual Action Hero AwardsOn May 25, 2016, WCAC celebrated its 10th annual Action Hero Awards. Thank you to everyone who made our 10th Annual Action Hero Celebration such a success. WCAC is truly fortunate to enjoy such strong support from all of the communities we serve, and to count so many ‘action heroes’ among our friends! Check out our Photo Gallery from the celebration HERE.

WCAC’s Golden Anniversary

On May 21, 2015 the WCAC happily celebrated its 50th anniversary on the historic Worcester City Hall Plaza. In attendance of this momentous celebration were Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, as well as nearly 500 guests. EstablishedWCAC.WBDC.Logo.FINAL in 1965 the WCAC has tirelessly spent the last half-century working to address issues of poverty, unemployment, and underemployment in the city of Worcester and 43 neighboring communities. Throughout its fifty years of service WCAC has successfully been able to assist those in need through four primary focus areas: Fuel & Energy Assistance, Job & Education Center, Children & Families, and Community Programs. Highlights of a few of the extraordinary accomplishments in five decades of service include:

  • WCAC has provided more than 20,000 youth job experience
  • WCAC has provided approximately 1,000 youth the training they need to earn their high school certificate (HiSET – formerly known as GED)
  • WCAC has hosted more than 3,800 children in the agency’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs
  • WCAC has processed Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) fuel assistance benefits for a quarter-million households
  • WCAC has overseen weatherization projects for 5,000 homes as well as completing 10,000 home heating system repairs or replacements
  • WCAC is an active participant and host site for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which has, in just 12 years, generated some 14,000 income tax returns, prepared free of charge, which results in an estimated $20 million dollars in refunds returned to local economy to date
  • WCAC employees more than 120 individuals throughout its service programs in Worcester and 44 Central Massachusetts communities
  • WCAC works with 130 local utility vendors and energy subcontractors to carry out its various energy programs, providing gainful employment for hundreds of local workers

The WCAC 50th Anniversary event celebrated the fact that the WCAC is responsible for developing and implementing programs designed to address the needs of the area’s low and limited income population which has been met with great success over the last fifty years. Lead by Executive Director Jill Dagilis, WCAC continues to focus on education, employment training, and emergency assistance programs to achieve their mission of helping individuals and families move to economic self-sufficiency. The WCAC plans to make the next fifty years just as extraordinary as the last five decades have been! Take a look back on the exciting celebration by scrolling through the photos below from the WCAC 50th Anniversary event.

Action Hero Celebration Archives


In the wake of the murder of Mr. George Floyd, we are still searching for words adequate to express our disgust and horror over the actions of those responsible for his death; our deep sadness for Mr. Floyd’s family, friends and community; and our anger over the repeated dehumanizing and fatal oppressive actions that threaten our nation. On behalf of the Worcester Community Action Council, we unequivocally condemn the police brutality that led to Mr. Floyd’s death. We join the call for justice, unity, peace and reform.

Worcester Community Action Council is directly and indirectly affected by the tragic events in our country that have reopened wounds that were never healed.  Our board of directors, staff and clients feel the impact of these events in deeply personal ways, and struggle with the feelings of fear, mistrust, separation, and anger.  We stand together in solidarity with the thousands of peaceful demonstrators across the country who are demanding justice for Mr. Floyd and an end to the systemic and intentional acts of oppression imposed upon communities of color.  George Floyd is now among countless, precious Black lives lost due to the imbalance of power in this country that has been perpetuated by racism.  Systemic racism must end.  We must hold ourselves accountable as allies to act as a relentless force for positive change.

Community Action was created in 1964 from the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement as part of the federal Economic Opportunity Act in the “War on Poverty”. In our role in the community, WCAC must renew and strengthen our calls for an end to the poverty and inequity that threaten our society.

We will be a strong voice against injustice, oppression and hate by advocating for policies that create equitable access to education, health, social and economic systems.

We will continue to work to stabilize individuals and households through our programs while deepening our resolve to create economic self-sufficiency through financial building blocks.

We will continue our leadership role in the City of Worcester’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative in partnership with the Worcester Police Department and Worcester Public Schools, recognizing youth employment and education are pathways for success.

We will continue to invest resources in our youngest children across Southern Worcester County from ages zero to five as we help prepare them for long-term success in school and life.

We will use our agency’s purchasing power to support African American, Latinx and Immigrant- owned businesses by purchasing goods and services.

We will support a diverse staff at all levels to work within our own agency staff to examine, change and navigate ourselves and our community into a just and equitable era.

We will listen to the needs of our community and routinely shift our work to address these needs directly.

We will partner with you, and like-minded organizations, to support initiatives that help our community heal, unify, and become stronger.

Together, we can make meaningful reforms, and change the course of the future for our children.


Marybeth Campbell, Executive Director                    Noreen Johnson Smith, WCAC Board Chair

Statement endorsed by WCAC Board of Directors 6/2/2020