The year is 1964. Lyndon B. Johnson is President. The Beatles hold the top five positions on the Billboard Top 40, we are deep into the Vietnam War, and the average cost of a new home is around $13,000.
Twenty three percent of all children in the US are living in poverty and political forces demand change. August 20, 1964, President Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act in the White House Rose Garden.
This Act establishes the Office of Economic Opportunity to direct and coordinate a variety of educational, employment, and training programs. These concepts are the foundation of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” The plan is to fund local Community Action Programs as the primary vehicle to end the war. Community Action Programs are to be overseen by a board made up of residents in the neighborhood being served. This gives people a voice and allows them a direct say in how their funds are to be spent and establish the top priorities.
In 1967, the Sonoma County People for Economic Opportunity (SCPEO) opens. Throughout the years, several comprehensive changes within the federal government result in the evolution of the PEOs producing what is currently Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County. Around 1,000 Community Action Agencies are operating today across the United States. Community Action Partnership creates opportunities for all people to thrive, helps the whole family flourish, and ensures a more equitable society for future generations.