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 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.