To develop economic and social capacities of individuals, families, and communities in Dane, Jefferson, and Waukesha counties.
Community Action Agencies like CAC were established as one part of the Economic Opportunities Act of 1964, better known as President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty initiatives. Originally conceived as a way to empower low-income communities with direct support, CAAs eventually grew into non-profits governed by tripartite boards who represent public, private, and low-income interests in the community.
We formed in 1966 as the Community Action Commission for the County of Dane and the City of Madison. We expanded to Jefferson County in 1992 (and became Community Action Coalition for South Central WI, Inc), and Waukesha County in 1996. CAC is a member of the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP), which coordinates Wisconsin’s 16 Community Action Agencies. Many anti-poverty programs had their start at CAC, including Head Start and Madison-area community gardens (now run by Community Groundworks).
Today, CAC strives to provide hope, support, and opportunities to our participants. We work to build on the strengths, assets, and capacities of low-income people and communities. To that end we’ve narrowed our focus to three key areas: housing, food, and clothing. Making sure that our participants have roofs over their heads, food on their tables, and clothes on their backs so they can feel safe and secure is how we accomplish our mission: ‘To develop the economic and social capacities of individuals, families, and communities to reduce poverty in Dane, Jefferson, and Waukesha counties.’”