We all have a role in combating poverty. Although everyone experiences bumps along the way, too often there are real barriers which present obstacles to success. Just as some public policies create conditions for success, other policies have created obstacles to opportunity for some, or allowed those obstacles to persist. Together we can – and must – work to strengthen programs which help move households to economic self-sufficiency, while making changes to policies which trap families in the poverty cycle.


On March 4, 2020, WCAC hosted its 2nd Annual Poverty Forum featuring a keynote address by Mary Ann Bates, Executive Director of the North American Office of the Nobel Prize winning Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT. Entitled Driving Solutions in Partnership, the event also featured a dynamic panel discussion including Ken Bates, President & CEO of Open Sky Community Services; Gina Plata-Nino, staff attorney for Mass Legal Services/Community Legal Aid; Dr. Luis Pedraja, president of Quinsigamond Community College and Laurie Ross, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Director of Clark University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning. See photos from the event here.

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Effective programs that help families to make ends meet, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, SNAP, fuel assistance, Head Start, and Social Security cut the number of people in Massachusetts living in poverty by almost half and reduce the number of children living in poverty by more than half, according tothe report on poverty called Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward Together.”

WCAC was proud to first host a community forum exploring strategies & solutions to addressing poverty here in Central Massachusetts on October 5, 2018, and invite you to remain engaged with us to address the struggles facing those in need.

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STATEMENT FROM WCAC

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.

Signed,

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

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