Celebrating Community Action Month
Monday, April 30, 2018
In May, community action agencies nationwide observe Community Action Month, a period set aside to recognize the contributions that nonprofits, volunteers, and other committed citizens can make in improving their communities. The Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program (NESDCAP) dba GROW South Dakota has been at it for 50 years. It was created in 1966, soon after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which created Community Action Agencies as part of the War on Poverty.
GROW South Dakota was established to wage the war on poverty by implementing innovative and cost-effective programs to improve the lives and living conditions of families and individuals by providing support and instruction for people in need of assistance. With a mission of “GROWing sustainable communities through housing, community, and economic development,” GROW South Dakota has had a tremendous impact in the 17 counties it serves as a Community Action Agency. In 2017, GROW South Dakota housing programs—ranging from lending for home purchases to weatherization home improvements to housing counseling—benefited more than 2,200 households, and support for emergency needs impacted more than 200 families.
In the past 50 years, it has provided over $170 million in loans and grants to individuals, businesses, and communities to support its key areas of affordable housing, small business, and community development. These investments have impacted more than 20,000 households, more than 2,000 businesses, and almost 13,000 jobs. It’s safe to say that GROW South Dakota contributed to a more than halving of the poverty rate in the 17 counties, which averaged 33.8% in 1960, before GROW South Dakota came on the scene, and is currently at 13.06%.
“Community Action Month is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the impact community action has in the lives of families and communities across the country,” stated Marcia Erickson, GROW South Dakota CEO. “Agencies are successful every day in helping families achieve economic security. Given that the needs of each family and community are unique, community action is able to use a range of resources and programs to meet local needs in creative and impactful ways.”
National Community Action Month was created by the Community Action Partnership to reinforce Community Action Agencies' role helping low-income families achieve economic stability. GROW South Dakota serves the following 17 counties: Beadle, Brown, Campbell, Day, Edmunds, Faulk, Hand, Hughes, Hyde, Marshall, McPherson, Potter, Roberts, Spink, Stanley, Sully and Walworth.
Category: GROW SD