Community Action of Greater Indianapolis (CAGI) was incorporated in 1965 as Community Action Against Poverty (CAAP). CAAP was formed as part of the “War on Poverty” and the federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, extensive legislation that President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced in 1964 in response to a national poverty rate of about 19 percent. It is one of approximately 1,000 community action agencies in the country.
Early CAAP programs included Operation Late Start, Legal Services Organization,, Mapleton-Fall Creek Association, and the Near Eastside Multi-Services Center. CAAP served only Marion County until 1982, then expanded to include Boone, Hamilton, and Hendricks counties. The agency’s name changed in 1982 to Community Action of Greater Indianapolis (CAGI) to reflect its expanded catchment area.
One of most important services that Community Action initiated was, a federally funded education program for low-income, preschool parents and children, which the organization managed from 1965 until 1996. Under Community Action, Head Start’s programs in Indianapolis included case management, youth and grandparent programs, housing support including Section 8 certification, energy assistance and weatherization, vocational training assistance, financial literacy training, and mobile food pantries.
CAGI is governed by a board of directors represented equally by the public (government) sector, the private sector, and its client constituency in Central Indiana. CAGI is dedicated to the reduction and ultimate elimination of poverty among its clients. Since its formation, it has served more than 50,000 households and over 200,000 residents of Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Marion, and Tipton Counties in Indiana. The majority of CAGI’s annual budget of approximately $5 million comes from grant revenue.