Our History


Our History


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.


Our Board


Our Board


NCAF is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors comprised of Executive Directors of Community Action Agencies, each one representing one of the ten Community Action Regional Associations.

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
Janice Riley, Secretary / Ninth District Opportunity, Inc. in Gainesville, GA 

Region V Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin
Mike Thorsteinson / Three Rivers Community Action, Inc. in Zumbrota, MN

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
Clarence Ray, Treasurer Community Action Partnership of Orange County in Garden Grove, CA

Region X Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington
David Hardenbergh / Rural Alaska Community Action Partnership in Anchorage, AK


Photo Credit : Lars Plougmann


Our Staff


Our Staff

David Bradley, Co-Founder and chief executive officer

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.

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 Weatherization Assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, 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 Los Angeles Dodgers; the Bowie Baysox and the Frederick Keys, both in the Orioles System; and the Huntsville Stars, 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 Clark, Chief of Staff

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 boyfriend, Andrew, and plays hockey with the Washington Wolves in her free time.  


Meg Power, Senior Advisor

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.


Amy Kalmbach, Policy and Program Development Officer

Amy Kalmbach is the Policy and Program Development Officer for the National Community Action Foundation. In this role, Amy is responsible for communications, events, and special projects. She also works on some policy and Congressional issues. Most recently, Amy planned NCAF’s social campaign plan and designed this website. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and French from Austin College, and her Masters of Global Policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

Amy worked previously in the political sphere on Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 in Southeastern Ohio. However, most of her experience is in the global development space. She has worked on indigenous development issues in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. In those roles, she primarily planned and designed projects with local civil society organizations.

Amy is a proud Texan, but happy DC transplant. She lives with her boyfriend, Bryan, and their cat Eleanor Roosevelt.


Frances Yator, Research and Data Assistant

Frances joined NCAF in 2014, during our legislative push to reauthorize the Community Service Block Grant. As the Research and Data Assistant, 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. 


Brett Bauer, Communications and Legislative Assistant

Brett Bauer is the Communications and Legislative Assistant for NCAF. In this role, Brett works on NCAF's communications and fundraising efforts, performs policy research and helps David with legislative affairs.

Brett is originally from Nashville, TN. He graduated cum laude from Washington and Lee University, receiving a degree in Politics (American Government) and Religion. He also earned a minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies through the Shepherd Poverty Program. It was his work with the Shepherd Program and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia that inspired him to pursue a career devoted to poverty alleviation. His previous work in politics includes an internship with Congressman Jim Cooper, the Obama Presidential campaign and the Brett Carter for Congress campaign.


Carla Verkoren, Executive Assistant to David Bradley

As David Bradley's executive assistant, Carla takes care of all David's scheduling. Whether it is network related or for Capitol Hill, Carla is the one taking care of all the details. Besides this, she also takes care of the more basic Office Management tasks. 
Carla moved to the United States from The Netherlands with her husband and two young daughters in December of 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in Office Management from the international Schoevers Institute. They currently reside in Vienna, VA.