President Lyndon Baines Johnson launched the War on Poverty with the signing of the Economic Opportunity Act on August 20, 1964. Community Action Agencies (CAA's) were developed as a result of this legislation. CAA's take a localized approach to planning and running programs to fight poverty and improve access to resources for all people. - See Community Action Partnership
Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council was incorporated in 1965 by the State of South Carolina. Today Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. is one of fifteen (15) community action agencies located in the State of South Carolina. More than one thousand community action agencies exist throughout the United States. Nationally our services address areas of need such as education, employment, housing, transportation, as well as basic physical needs.
Chesterfield-Marlboro EOC received it's charter from the State of South Carolina on September 21, 1965. Chartered members were:
Attorney John I. Rogers, the agency's legal counsel, helped to secure the 501©(3) in order for the agency to solicit funds. A joint letter from the legislative delegation from Chesterfield and Marlboro Counties, Sen. Edward M. Leppard and Sen. John C. Lindsay was sent to Sargent Shriver, OEO on January 10, 1966 recognizing CMEOC as the agency in Chesterfield and Marlboro Counties to coordinate and administer programs under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
The agency received its first Program Development Grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity on March 17, 1966 to combat poverty in the bi-county area and to implement the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
Our first grant was in the amount of $15,738.00 in 1966 and we had to write grants to survive. We have experienced a growth in revenue from %15,738.00 to in excess of $5 million dollars in 2005. We have spun off 7 programs and developed two 2 pilot projects (Add a Bath in Marlboro County and a Rural Water project in the Cash community of Chesterfield County). Poverty still looms great among us and we are still committed to our mission and to improving the lives of those in need. We continue to work directly with families through the case management and through partnering with other agencies.
From the beginning, Community Action Agencies were expected to act as laboratories for innovative methods of eliminating consequences and causes of poverty. The nation’s 1,000+ Community Action Agencies are a robust, national, state, and local force, reaching children and families in 99% of America’s counties with life changing services that create pathways to opportunity and prosperity.