Cornerstone Bank donation to keep WCAC clients warm

Cornerstone Bank recently presented a donation of $40,000 to the Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC). This major financial contribution will go toward assisting local residents with home heating costs. The donation will support the agency’s Emergency Fuel Assistance Fund. Every year, this fund provides critical support to clients who are most vulnerable to high home heating costs and whose needs often extend beyond what they receive in federal assistance. Read more here.

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December Board Meeting

The Board of Directors for Worcester Community Action Council will hold their next meeting on Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5 p.m. in the WCAC Board Room, Suite 201, 484 Main Street, Worcester.  Full agenda available here. All meetings of the Board are open to the public.

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MassDevelopment awards $1M Loan

MassDevelopment has issued a $1 million loan to the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. (WCAC), an agency that offers a wide range of education, employment, and social service programs throughout 45 communities in Central Massachusetts. WCAC is currently in the process of converting the facility into classroom space for its Head Start program for South Central Worcester County. WCAC has received $1.7 million in federal and state grants for building renovations and has raised over $500,000 in capital campaign contributions for the project. The organization will use proceeds of the MassDevelopment loan to complete the proposed renovations and improvements. Read the full story here.

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Celebrating Diversity

WCAC’s Head Start program will host its annual Multicultural Night on Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 4-7 p.m. A highlight of the evening is sure to be a performance by the Southeast Asian Coalition’s Worcester Youth Nian Dancers. The performance is supported in part by a grant by the Southbridge Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Click here for more details.

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Cheers for VITA Volunteers

Worcester Community Action Council recently hosted a thank you reception for its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program volunteers. This year’s group logged 620 volunteer hours, preparing a total of 895 returns (up over 710 returns prepared in 2014) and generating over $1.5 million dollars in refunds (up over the $1,060,100 generated in 2014). Special thanks to the team of volunteers from UNUM, pictured above with WCAC Board Chair and UNUM Senior VP Steve Joseph, which has been a strong supporter of the VITA program.

VITA volunteers with WCAC staff (compressed for web)WCAC participates in the VITA program through the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition which works to promote free tax preparation services available to individuals and families who qualify. IRS-certified volunteers prepare taxes and specifically look for tax credits the household may be eligible for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) and other credits. Some households with children are eligible for tax refunds of over $6,000. Utilizing the free tax preparation services allows families to retain their full refund, avoiding typical preparation fees which can often run into the hundreds of dollars.

WCAC is among the Coalition’s 20 members city wide, comprised of a collaboration of businesses, financial institutions and non-profit organizations who work to promote free income tax credit benefits to low and moderate income working individuals and families as a strategy to build household assets and increase economic self-sufficiency.
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Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition

With a new name, the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition (formerly the Worcester Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition) renews its commitment to maximizing refund benefits for low to moderate income families. An information session for local organizations working with those who may benefit from the free tax preparation services the coalition provides is planned for December 9th. Read full story here.

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November Enewsletter

As the temperatures begin to drop, programs really heat up at WCAC. From our annual Coat Drive for Kids, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (fuel assistance), and a special holiday happening at the Hanover Theatre, read all about it here.

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Future Focused: April ENewsletter

 

WCAC launched a new electronic newsletter to educate the community about the many programs the agency manages, to encourage public advocacy for the issues which impact limited-income individuals and families, and to motivate the support of our neighbors. Features in the inaugural edition include Head Start Works, LIHEAP records set, A Push for Priorities, and a preview of the Summer YouthWorks program. View the Enewsletter here.

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Legislative Breakfast 2015

Worcester Community Action Council hosted its annual Legislative Breakfast and was pleased to have the strong support of so many of our colleagues in the Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives. 

Pictured left to right: WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis; WCAC Vice Chair Noreen Johnson-Smith; WCAC Chair Steve Joseph; Rita Turo for Senator Harriette Chandler; Senator Michael Moore; Representative Joe McKenna; Nathan Dearent for Representative Paul Frost;  Amanda Copeland for Representative Kevin Kuros; and Representative Jim O’Day.
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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