As I See It: Driving solutions to poverty in partnership

I live and work in two distinctly different cities. In one city, I am a lifelong resident of Worcester lviing through an incredible renaissance and notable winning streak that tells a proud story of a persistent and committeed city, civic and private sector leadership. In the other city, i am the relatively new executive director of the Worcester Community Action Council, where my team and I work with thousands of individuals from the City of Worcester and Southern Worcester County and who are included in Worcester’s 22% poverty rate, in Southbridge’s 18.5% poverty rate in Webster’s 17% poverty rate and so on, and for whom the renaissance remains out of reach. Read full article here.

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Fundacion MAPFRE grant supports Head Start nutrition

Worcester Community Action Council has received a $62,000 grant from Fundación MAPFRE to support the nutrition program at the agency’s Head Start program. This is the second consecutive year the Fundación has supported the agency’s early childhood education nutrition program. Read more here.

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Fun with Science

WCAC’s Head Start program has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the National Grid Foundation to support a continued collaboration with MA Audubon Broad Meadow Brook to enhance its pre-school science and nature curriculum. This is the second year the Foundation has supported this effort, this year with a focus on ‘teaching the teacher’ in order to broaden the impact on Head Start classrooms for years to come. Lesson plans include such topics as dinosaurs, rocks, trees, animals and more – with correlating hands-on learning and fun! See science in action in the classroom here.

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February 2020 Enews

What you need to know: March 5th Poverty Forum – be there! Youth Works Summer Job apps now available! Mark Shriver to headline WCAC’s 14th Annual Action Hero Awards! Read more here.

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MASSCAP/Health Foundation ready to support early educators

During the Massachusetts Association for Community Action’s (MASSCAP) public policy briefing at the State House last week, READYGO, a new early education and care workforce development initiative made possible through a planning grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts (THFCM), was announced. Assisted by evaluators form the Institute for COmmunity Health, MASSCAP will use a research-based approach, working closely with Mount Wachusett Community College and Quinsigamond Commuity College, as well as Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC) and Making Opportunity Count (MOC), to develop both courses and curriculum to be included in early educators’ degree work and certification.  Learn more here.

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$155K donation supports emergency home heating assistance

WCAC received a donation of $155,000 from the United Way of Central Massachusetts directed by National Grid and designated to support the agency’s Emergency Fuel Fund of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), commonly known as heating/fuel assistance.  Read more here.

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Free Tax Prep Program Launched

Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC) today joined the Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) and its colleagues throughout the community action network in kicking off this year’s tax season by launching the annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, celebrating 50 years of the program and the importance of accessing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Click here for more details.

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February Board Meeting Scheduled

Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. will host its first meeting of its Board of Directors of the new year and 54th Annual Meeting on Monday, February 10, 2020 at 5 p.m. in the WCAC Board Room, Suite 201, 484 Main Street, Worcester. Click here for agenda. Meetings are open to the public.

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2nd Annual Poverty Forum

WCAC will host its 2nd Annual Poverty Forum on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, featuring keynote speaker Mary Ann Bates, Executive Director of the North American Office of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), home of the 2019 Nobel Prize winning researchers recognized for their research and approach to alleviating poverty. Keynote to be followed by dynamic panel discussion. Free to attend but please click here to register.

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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