The 1960's were a turbulent time in the history of America. Many social issues, including civil rights, unemployment, poverty and juvenile delinquency were
at the forefront. During the administration of President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson, several pieces of legislation were passed including the
Area Redevelopment Act, the Peace Corps Act, and the Manpower Development and Training Act. These provided communities with assistance to deal with pressing
social issues. In 1964, during the administration of Lyndon Johnson, the Civil Rights Act and the Economic Opportunity Act were passed. As a result of the Economic
Opportunity Act, Community Action Agencies were organized across the country as part of the war on poverty. Community Action Organizations were unique for several
reasons. They were created to be advocacy organizations and the first agencies to include and involve low-income citizens in the planning, priority setting, and
delivery of the services that affect their lives. The funding policy for Community Actions was projects and programs that the agency felt would eliminate local
problems contributing to poverty. Only later did Congress start to mandate funds for specific programs. The establishment of private, non-profit citizen groups
such as Community Action Boards was also unique. In 1967, legislation required that the Board consist of low-income individuals, the private sector, and local elected officials. Over the years, changes have occurred in the administration of Community Action Organizations, but the focus has remained to meet the needs of the
members of the local community.
On March 2, 1965 a group of local concerned citizens had the first meeting of what was to become the Community Action Organization of Scioto County. The local
effort was lead by the Shawnee Labor Council. At the organizational meeting, "goals were to discuss the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, define poverty problems
in Scioto County and organize for Community Action". Scioto County CAO was incorporated on March 17, 1965.
Vernon Flannery was named the first Executive Director of Scioto County Community Action on February 25, 1966. George R. (Bob) Schwable succeeded him in that
position in 1968. Robert Walton was named to the position in 1972 and continued to serve until his passing in 2012. He was succeeded by Willian Thacker as the new Executive Director that year. Wilber Morgan was the first Board Chairman. He was followed by Eugene Collins, Robert Arnett and the present Board Chairman E.P.
A concept called "New Federalism" was established during the Nixon administration. This resulted in a shift from direct federal support of social change and
anti-poverty efforts. Tax monies that had gone directly to local communities were rebated to states. State and local governments began to administer much of the
funding. The results were Community Action Agencies which formely had a single funding source, now had to make applications to numerous local, state and federal
agencies for support. In 1971 a group of Community Action leaders in the Ohio Appalachain region joined together to form the Corporation for Ohio Appalachain Development
(COAD). Bob Schwable and Bob Walton participated as original planners of COAD. The motivation for establishing COAD was to allow agencies in this region to apply for
many program grants that require a large population base.
CAO was the driving force that obtained and implemented the Greater Portsmouth Enterprise Community initiative, a ten year effort resulting in hundreds of new living wage jobs and expansion of education, health and social services in the county
Throughout the years, the Scioto County Community Action Organization has established and administered many programs. These include a legal aide program, family
planning services, redidential group home, a child development program which included infants, and a program to build and rehabilitate single family dwellings and