Our History

Missouri Community Action Network has its roots in the War on Poverty.

1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty. In signing the Economic Opportunity Act, Johnson created the Office of Economic Opportunity, as well as local Community Action Agencies throughout the country. 

1965: Every county in Missouri was served by a Community Action Agency, providing services directly to low-income clients. 

1971: Soon, the executive directors of these agencies began meeting informally to discuss common issues, and then the group was officially named the Missouri Association of Community Action Agencies. To increase its strength as an advocacy organization, it eventually expanded membership to include anyone who worked for a Community Action Agency. 


1975: The organization's name was officially changed to Missouri Association for Community Action (MACA) to represent its enlarged scope. Missouri CAN's early mission was twofold: to serve as an effective advocate for community action and to provide training for community action staff within functional groups. 

1976: Membership grew and the association held its first annual congress. In the years since, Missouri CAN has continued to advocate for legislation and funding to aid the fight against poverty and to provide training opportunities and technical support to enhance the ability of agencies to serve their clients.

2016: The organization's name was officially changed to Missouri Community Action Network (Missouri CAN) to represent its statewide role on behalf of the network. Missouri CAN is an active nonprofit association and widely respected as a strong advocate for services that help communities reduce poverty.