In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson's administration waged the War on Poverty and passed the Economic Opportunity Act which gave birth to Community Action in the United States. There are 30 Community Action Agencies in Michigan and nearly 1000 across the country. Like SMCAA, most are private, non-profit organizations.
The Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency (SMCAA) is a private, non-profit Community Action Agency - part of a state and national network. In 1982, the agency started servicing Van Buren County. In 1986, our agency was incorporated and began providing human services to Cass and Van Buren Counties. In 1992, Berrien County was officially added to its service delivery area.
SMCAA brings together federal and state grants funds as well as dollars from local, private, and public sources. These resources are then directed into programs which aid the low income and otherwise disadvantaged throughout the age spectrum, from preschoolers to the elderly of southwestern Michigan. The funds include dollars which are targeted at very specific problems, as well as dollars which are more flexible in nature.
Our Mission: Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency (SMCAA) is dedicated to empowering diverse people in need and supporting their journey towards economic security.
Our Vision: To be a beacon of support in a strong, thriving community by helping people and changing lives.
In order to accomplish our mission and reach our vision, SMCAA establishes,
coordinates, and carries out programs to promote the health, education, and
welfare of low-income individuals and families across the tri-county area.
SMCAA abides by the Promise of Community Action: Community Action
changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities,
and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community,
and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.
SMCAA Board members shoulder significant responsibility for the oversight of
finance, executive leadership, human resources, strategic planning, customer
input, community engagement, community assessment, data analysis, and
planning supported by Community Service Block Grant (CSBG). The Board
accomplishes this responsibility through direct action and oversight. Each
member ensures SMCAA is meeting legal compliance and works together to
remain intact. Per CSBG guidelines, the SMCAA Board of Directors is equally
represented by the three sectors: public, private, and consumer. This is so the
Board may keep the community well-informed about issues affecting the poor
and facilitate communication between the poor, the locally elected public
officials, and the private sector. The various perspectives from each sector's
representatives help SMCAA identify and address the causes of poverty. You can
meet the members of our Board, read the monthly meeting minutes, and learn
more about SMCAA's tripartite Board of Directors here.
SMCAA’s growth and success in serving the low-income individuals and families of the tri-county area could not be achieved without the many forms of support so generously provided by our Community Partners. Some of these partners are listed below: