President Barack Obama, during his State of the Union address, stated that federal cuts to the Community Services Block Grant funding are part of a unique opportunity to “right our fiscal ship and begin to reduce our massive deficits and debt.” Cutting this program support for community action agencies is an attack on over 20.7 million income-limited children, seniors, veterans and families across the country. This is unreasonable and unacceptable.
CSBG funds the Community Action network — 1,100 nonprofit service providers nationwide, 24 of which are in Massachusetts. It’s one of the most significant and comprehensive approaches by the federal government to provide a safety net and build economic security for struggling Americans. Worcester Community Action Council receives this funding and currently services over 72,000 people in 49 Central Massachusetts communities.
L to R: Joe Diamond, Executive Director, Massachusetts Community Action Programs, Kathleen Polanowicz representing Congressman James McGovern; Anita Hill, IRS, Director of Field Assistance Area 1; Jill C. Dagilis, WCAC Executive Director; Elice Chiapulis, WCAC Fuel Assistance Staff; Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray; Timothy Garvin, President, United Way of Central Massachusetts; Mark Bilotta, CEO, Colleges of Worcester Consortium.
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. welcomed Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray on Friday, January 28, 2011, as one of many statewide agencies to kick-off Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. The Lt. Governor met with customers who filed in the past, volunteer tax preparers, as well as members of the Worcester Alliance for Economic Inclusion.
I have been to a number of anti-poverty agencies across the state and my awe at the dedication and effort of the people who work at these agencies has yet to subside.
I know that I have written before about how Governor Patrick wants to make sure that we know in detail how the stimulus funds are working, so for this trip I paid a visit to the Worcester Community Action Council to see firsthand the impact of its stimulus funds. Once again, I was amazed at what this agency does to help some of the poorest in its city. Jill Daglis, the energetic executive director of the agency told me that the agency works with 72,000 families annually with that number rising consistently by 1,000 every year for the last few years. “Everyone here jumps in and does what it takes,” she said.
WORCESTER — Victoria Reggie Kennedy told the audience gathered last night for the Worcester Community Action Council’s 45th anniversary celebration that the antipoverty organization is as vital today as it was when it was created as an outgrowth of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.
Ms. Kennedy, widow of the late Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, said her husband respected the work the Worcester organization does, and commended it for recommitting its efforts even as similar organizations are suffering in the tough economic times.
“Some people said caring for the poor was a luxury we couldn’t afford, that it was out of style, that it was a losing political issue,” Ms. Kennedy told the audience of around 500 people at Mechanics Hall. “But you knew we were talking about human beings, not politics, and you never stopped doing everything you’re about, to make lives better.”
The 45th anniversary celebration also included the organization’s Action Hero Awards, given to individuals, groups, and businesses who have had an impact on the council’s efforts.
The organization also announced the creation of the Edward M. Kennedy Scholarship Program, which will provide assistance for tuition, books, and supplies to college-bound youths. The scholarship will be funded by National Grid and the Quinsigamond Community College fund.
Deborah Penta, chairman of the board of directors at the council, called the late senator the organization’s “superhero,” and said his support of anti-poverty initiatives over the years, including the Economic Opportunity Act, which helped create organizations like the council, made him a worthy namesake for the scholarship.
Ms. Kennedy said organizations such as the Worcester one create hope for many individuals and families, and show them there are people who are there for them.
She said the organization reflects an ideal that the community and government can work together to make a difference in the lives of the poor.
She said the organization, which oversees groups that provide fuel assistance, summer jobs programs and green energy initiatives, has goals that dovetail nicely with anti-poverty initiatives included in President Barack Obama’s efforts to provide economic stimulus.
She also said that Mr. Kennedy’s passion for health care reform, which was recently signed into law, fits into the Worcester council’s mission to help the poor.
“Health care reform is the most important social program since the War on Poverty started 45 years ago,” Ms. Kennedy said.
“We know that despite its great history, the Worcester Community Action Council’s greatest days are still ahead,” she said.
The 45th Hero Award recipients were: Unum; Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce; Blackstone Valley Education Foundation; Center of Hope; Seven Hills Foundation; Energy All-Stars; NSTAR; Main South Community Development Corp.; Webster Five Cents Savings Bank; Smith & Jones; Greater Worcester Community Foundation; and Charter TV3.
(Back Row- left to right): 45th Action Hero Honorees: J. Christopher Collins, Unum; James Howard, Center of Hope; Richard Leahy, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank; Bill Van Dam, NSTAR; Mrs. Victoria Reggie Kennedy; Andy Lacombe, Charter TV3; Lee Gaudette, Blackstone Valley Education Foundation; William Breault, Main South Community Development Corporation (Front Row- left to right):Tony Simas, NSTAR; Kathleen Reville, Seven Hills Foundation; Jeannie Hebert, Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce; Ann Lisi, Greater Worcester Community Foundation; Jean Giguere, Smith & Jones; and Tony Shirley, Energy All Stars.
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc, (WCAC) held its 45th Anniversary Celebration Event on April 28, 2010 at Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA. WCAC’s 45th Event celebrated the many organizations that have helped to contribute to WCAC’s achievements over the years, along with key action heroes. This year’s Action Heroes recognized included: Unum, Seven Hills Foundation, Main South Community Development Corporation, Center of Hope, Energy All Stars, Smith & Jones, NSTAR Electric & Gas Corporation, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce and Education Foundation, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, and Charter-TV3.
At the same time, WCAC was thrilled to announce the establishment of the Senator Edward M. Kennedy Education Scholarship Program that was generously sponsored by National Grid and Quinsigamond Community College Foundation. The Scholarship Program will assist young people graduating from WCAC’s GED and Job & Education Center programs, as they pursue higher education. WCAC also recognized the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy; his support and advocacy have been invaluable to our success over the past 45 years. We were honored that Mrs. Victoria Reggie Kennedy served as our keynote speaker and accepted an award on the late Senator’s behalf.
Thank you to the many sponsors, in-kind donors, WCAC employees, volunteers, agency partners, community members, and guests for making WCAC’s 45th Anniversary Celebration such a special and momentous occasion.
Legislative Breakfast Feb. 12, 2010: (left to right) Senator Harriette L. Chandler, Jim Kersten for Rep. Vincent Pedone, Stuart Loosemore for Rep. Anne M. Gobi, WCAC Board Member Winnie Octave, WCAC Board Treasurer Jack Foley, WCAC Board Chairwoman Deborah Penta, Rep. James J. O’Day, Stephanie Kozlowski for Rep. Paul K. Frost, Senator Michael O. Moore, WCAC Board Member Sue Obiero, and Rep. Robert P. Spellane.
What do you do? “My responsibilities include fundraising, technical writing and editing reports and proposals; public relations, events, program development, legislative work and being a representative of the agency on different community projects. It’s quite broad.”
How did you get into this job? “WCAC was started in 1965 under president Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and funded under the Economic Opportunity Act. Under the federal regulations for the agency, it must have a tripartite type board, with one-third from the private sector, one-third community sector and one-third public sector representatives.
On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, sixteen students, ages 16-24, from the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. Job & Education Center (JEC), accompanied by the WCAC computer instructor, opened library cards at the Worcester Public Library to assist with their individualized career readiness program.
Dr. Judy Finkel, JEC Project Director and President of the WPL Board of Directors, believes that this is a truly beneficial opportunity for these young people. “We have formed a perfect partnership. The library cards will enable the students to borrow from the full range of library resources, and, most importantly, at this stage of their job and career search, to provide access to the library’s vast resources including on-line data bases and services.”
The JEC students, who have been enrolled in the program for 5 weeks and have completed 37.5 hours of Pre-Employment Training, are excited about this new resource, as well. “Obtaining a library card will give me the opportunity to have access to books so I can improve my reading skills. If people do not have computers like me, they can go to the library to access materials on-line. I am also looking forward to bringing my daughter there to get books, rent movies, and play computer games,” said Leslie Gonzalez, JEC student.
Students were provided with a guided tour of the library, as well as a thorough explanation of the library’s many valuable resources. Students were delighted to learn about free internet access, a computer lab, resume writing support, mock interview assistance, and many workshops that are open to the public. They were informed that their newly-opened library cards provided them with discounts at local attractions such as museums and theaters. For the majority of the students, this was their first-time utilizing the library.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federally funded Job & Education Center connects participants to educational and employment supports including Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED classes, college readiness skills, High School Credit Recovery, college certificate programs, career exploration, internship opportunities, job coaching, and job placement. Each JEC participant will receive case management and support in the transition to meaningful employment and an improved quality of life.
“We are thrilled to be able to host an alternative education program at WCAC,” remarked Jill C. Dagilis, Executive Director.
Worcester Cares for Kids! Upcoming training opportunity for ages 11-14! Through this FREE, innovative community project youth participants will receive Certification in Babysitting, youth development, and partake in hands-on learning by providing kinship to their own families. $100 stipend upon completion.Register here: ow.ly/TNvi50Jbwje... See MoreSee Less
IMPORTANT NOTICE: WCAC's main office remains closed. All staff are working remotely. Fuel clients can now call 508-754-7281 to check on the status of your application by entering your social security number and/or to leave a voicemail for staff to call back. For all other home heating inquiries please contact For all other matters contact (Updated 4/6/2022)