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The Charlotte Area Fund (CAF) established on August 29, 1963 pre-dates the Office of Economic Opportunity! CAF is one of the first five agencies funded by the North Carolina Fund in 1963. With the enactment of the Economic Opportunity Act in 1964, the agency was designated as the Community Action Agency for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Community Action Agencies (CAAs) were created in 1964 to initiate and operate the local War on Poverty. A provision of the Economic Opportunity Act called for the poor themselves to have “maximum feasible participation” in identifying problems and in developing solutions. The Charlotte Area Fund assisted in the formation of neighborhood organizations in an effort to teach people how to work effectively within the system and how to “change the system.”

The basic purposes to which CAF is dedicated as a community action agency is as follows:

• To aid the poor in their ability to influence social decision-making processes.
• To expand the participation of the disadvantaged, or their representatives, in anti-poverty efforts.
• To promote changes in the methods of providing local services that are more conductive to target area conditions.
• To provide professional expertise and service to anti-poverty efforts where such expertise and/or service is needed and is not commonly available in the community.
• To coordinate the anti-poverty efforts of private and public agencies currently providing services to target area resident.

By 1969, many successful self-help programs had been initiated by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity and Community Action Agencies. These included Head Start, Family Planning, Community Health Centers, Legal Services, VISTA, Foster Grandparents, Economic Development, Neighborhood Centers, Summer Youth Programs, Adult Basic Education, Senior Centers, Congregate Meal Preparation, and many others. Many of these programs started as programs within OEO/CAAs and were later picked up and turned into new programs and federal agencies by the Congress.
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History Of The Charlotte Area Fund, Inc.
As A Community Action Agency
Advocacy for the poor
Community Organization/Leadership Training
Community Development
Manpower Training Program
Head Start
Youth Programs
Senior Citizens Program
Energy Conservation (Weatherization)
Day Care Program
Some of the initiatives developed and programs operated by the Charlotte Area Fund in the past are:
Food Stamp Outreach
Outreach and Referral
Summer Youth Recreation
Summer Garden & Canning Project
Credit Union
Consumer Education/Counseling
Feeding and Nutrition
Food Bank (currently Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina)
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Charlotte Area Fund
Helping People Changing Lives
901 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 372-3010