Lisa Evans
Executive Director

Message from our Leaders

It is our pleasure to present the FY2014-15 annual report for Community Action of Allegan County (CAAC).  CAAC is part of a national network of state and federally funded Community Action Agencies (CAAs), created by the federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. CAAs across the country administer various programs and services at the local community level, to assist and empower low-income families in finding their unique path out of poverty. Nationwide, CAAs help 11.5 million people achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

Mike VanDenBerg
Chairman of the Board

Founded in 1965, Community Action of Allegan County is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that has provided a variety of self-sufficiency services to low-income people in Allegan County for 50 years. Our organization’s focus, from its earliest beginning to present day, remains: to serve, advocate, and engage individuals, families and communities to overcome the effects of poverty and encourage self-reliance.  More than just providing direct service and assistance, CAAC staff work with children and families to achieve dreams of education and economic security.

The CAAC Board of Directors’ vision continues to focus on advocacy and “action” … mobilizing community resources through collaboration to build programmatic bridges that allow children and adults to achieve their aspirations for success. Our organization’s strategic plan was developed to guide all service efforts toward reaching positive measurable outcomes in the lives of families and individuals.

Although part of CAAC’s vision is to provide various safety nets for crisis intervention and emergency service, it is equally critical to supply supports that help families identify poverty barriers while demonstrating ways they can overcome these enabling factors. In this way, CAAC allows families to identify their strengths and focus on opportunities. Some highlighted strategies include: teaching tools that educate our community on poverty conditions and the unique struggles faced by those at or near poverty; energy education that encourages low-income households to conserve and decrease consumption to lower household utility bills; participation in employment fairs and providing referrals to employment assistance as mechanisms to improve household income and encourage continuing education, training and skills development; and parent and family engagement activities that provide mentoring, coaching, and individualized guidance in skill development to underscore the possibility for positive change.

All of these strategies are “action” based and designed to empower families in their path out of poverty. The success of CAAC’s work would not be possible without the support of so many community partners, the Board of Directors, volunteers and staff. Our thanks to all for your continued support, as we continue to mobilize our community to address economic disparities, empower and support families through “action” oriented services that continue to … help people and change lives in our community.

Sincerely,

Mission Statement


The Community Action Agency of Allegan County will serve, advocate, and engage individuals, families and communities to overcome the effects of poverty and encourage self-reliance.

Community Action Agencies’ History


In 1964, The Great Society, as envisioned by President Lyndon Johnson, was a sweeping plan to improve the lives of all Americans, regardless of their circumstances. Inspired by President Kennedy and his New Frontier, Johnson pledged to fulfill his promise of equal opportunity for all by enacting several comprehensive changes within the federal government. In August of that same year, the Economic Opportunity Act was signed into law by President Johnson creating the nationwide Community Action Network.

Helping People. Changing Lives.