As part of the War on Poverty, President Johnson established the Community Action Program in 1964. This Community Action Program established Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in communities throughout the United States in order to coordinate poverty relief programs. Popular programs administered by CAAs include Head Start, Weatherization Assistance Program and Meals on Wheels. Since its foundation, the Community Action Approach emphasizes local priorities and maximum feasible participation—a requirement that individuals from communities-served be represented in the decision-making body of the agency. In short, the Community Action Approach empowers struggling individuals through including them in the community’s problem-solving process and ensures a collaboration of all the community’s stakeholders in determining the community’s priorities and actions. CAAs serve 99 percent of counties in the United States.
The National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) was founded in 1981 with the purpose of representing CAAs and their state and regional associations in Washington, D.C. Current Executive Director David Bradley, with the mentorship of Sargent Shriver, co-founded the organization in an effort to ensure that the federal government continued to support the Community Action Program.
Our mission is to ensure the federal government honors its commitment to fighting poverty, especially through the work of Community Action Agencies. Our platform is to:
Achieve Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) recognition as an essential community program
Protect Community Action Agencies (CAA) interests in core programs
Stabilize and grow federal resources for Community Action
Manage Community Action’s legislative agenda
Develop and achieve new opportunities for CAAs
Broaden and deepen our base of support among Democrats and Republicans in Congress
NCAF is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors comprised of Executive Directors of Community Action Agencies, ten of whom represent one of the ten Community Action Regional Associations and an eleventh who is elected as an At-Large Member by NCAF membership.
Region I Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont
John Drew / Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. in Boston, MA
Region II New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
Adrian Fassett, President / Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. in Patchogue, NY
Region III District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia
Gene Brady, Vice President / Commission on Economic Opportunity in Wilkes-Barre, PA
Region IV Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee
Belva Dorsey / Enrichment Services Program in Columbus, GA
Region V Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin
Janice Warner / Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron, and Richland Counties, Inc. in Sandusky, OH
Region VI Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
Bill Powell, Jr. / South Plains Community Action, Inc. in Levelland, TX
Region VII Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
Richard Jackson / East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation in Ottawa, KS
Region VIII Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming
Kent Keys / Red River Valley Community Action in Grand Folks, ND
Region IX Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Trust Territories
Robert Piper / Honolulu Community Action Program, Inc. in Honolulu, HI
Region X Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington
Robin Corak, Secretary / Multi-Service Center in Federal Way, WA
At Large Elected nationally by NCAF members
Tay Waltenbaugh, Treasurer / Westmoreland Community Action in Greensburg, PA
Photo Credit : Lars Plougmann
For more than 30 years, David Bradley has been one of Washington’s leading advocates on behalf of low-income programs. In 1981, David helped found the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF). As a private non-profit organization funded solely by non-governmental contributions, NCAF represents funding and policy interests of the nation’s 1000 community action agencies before Congress and the Executive Branch. David currently acts as NCAF's Chief Executive Officer.
In this role at NCAF, David was the primary architect of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Besides the CSBG, David’s legislative activities include the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Head Start and job training programs.
In an age in which partisan gridlock is too often the norm, David has shown an uncanny ability to make poverty issues a concern to both parties. After facing elimination in the 1995 House Republican’s Contract with America, David was able to work with key House Republican leaders to ensure CSBG funding procured the largest percentage received of any domestic program in FY 1997. In his role at NCAF, David has also helped power CAPLAW, a legal resource center for the Community Action Agencies (CAA) network and CAPPAC, a Political Action Committee.
In addition, David Bradley has helped foster a unique partnership between the private sector and the CAA network. His work with Exxon-Mobil provided first hand job training to thousands of workers. His development of a graduate program in Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University has allowed numerous students the opportunity to earn a graduate degree affordably.
Prior to joining NCAF, David worked in Congressional Affairs at the Small Business Administration under President Jimmy Carter. He has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from George Washington University. In 1987, he was a Senior Executive Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.
He and his wife Nancy reside in Fredericksburg, Virginia. David’s passion for politics and poverty is matched by his interest in reading and baseball. David is part owner of a number of minor league baseball teams including the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies; the Bowie Baysox and the Frederick Keys, both in the Orioles System; and the Biloxi Shuckers the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A franchise.
David’s mentor, Sargent Shriver, perhaps described David’s advocacy best when he wrote “no one has done more to keep the War on Poverty fresh in the hearts and minds of individuals than David Bradley.”
Tara is from Escanaba, a town on the shores of Lake Michigan in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University's James Madison College, with a major in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy. During her time at MSU, Tara played women’s ice hockey in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, interned at the Free Legal Advice Centres in Dublin, Ireland, and was the Statewide Director for Michigan Students for Barack Obama.
In 2008, she organized for Schauer for Congress (MI-07). After the successful campaign, she continued her career in Cong. Mark Schauer's District Office predominately working with the veteran, immigrant and labor communities on relevant issues. Prior to joining Community Action, Tara received a Master of Public Policy from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, at the University of Virginia, during which time she worked in New Orleans, LA as a consultant for Good Work Network, a nonprofit that seeks to expand the local economy by building minority and women owned businesses. In 2012, The Virginia Policy Review published Tara’s policy research piece “Detroit’s Empowerment Zone: Evaluation of Success.”
Tara resides in the District of Columbia with her husband Pete and plays hockey with the Washington Wolves in her free time.
Dr. Meg Power serves the National Community Action Foundation of Washington, D.C. as a Senior Policy Advisor. She assists NCAF’s legislative policy development and provides policy analysis and strategic support to the Community Action network. She has years of experience in the analysis of the network’s data that she applies to NCAF’s continuous work to strengthen and modernize the Community Services Block Grant. Dr. Power specializes in the federal state and private policy governing low-income energy affordability programs.
Meg Power is also the President and Executive Director of Economic Opportunity Studies (EOS) of Washington, DC, a non-profit research group she co-founded, that supports Community Action Agency programs with technical assistance regarding program partnerships and the uses of results measurements.
From 1975 - 1981, before joining NCAF’s team soon after its founding, Dr. Power served on the US Senate staff; first, as Legislative Assistant to Senator Edward W. Brooke (R, MA) and, from 1979 – 1981, as Minority Staff Director of the Energy and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Subcommittee of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
She holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. from Radcliffe College in Harvard University.
Frances joined NCAF in 2014, during our legislative push to reauthorize the Community Service Block Grant. As the National Program Analyst, her focus is building a comprehensive record of the impact that CAA's have on their communities and translating that record into support on the Hill. She works with members of Community Action Agencies to pull district specific data on the programs run by the agencies in order to educate Congress on the network. Frances also assists with conducting research on the policies that govern Community Action, which is aligned with her professional interest in public policy.