On August 25, 1965 the Marshall Morgan Community Action Committee was incorporated to serve poor families in Marshall and Morgan County. Its main objective was to identify the needs of the poor and develop an organization and resource development strategy to meet those needs identified. Its first director was S.M. Dollar, a retired Army Officer from the Tennessee Valley area, who retired in mid-1968 and was replaced by Mary Chambers. Lawrence County was annexed into the service area in 1968 and in October 1969, Marshall County withdrew to form its own organization.
Early activities of the organization included:
- Information and referral services
- Emergency food and medical service
- Community organization
- Self-help program development
- Summer Head Start
In June of 1970, Mary Chambers resigned and the Board of Directors hired Thomas M. Wood III as her replacement. Mr. Wood assumed the helm of a struggling agency plagued with interagency coordination issues and a service delivery system accused of fast-shuffling clients and making brief referrals. During this decade, Head Start services expanded from a Summer Head Start Program to a Full-day/Full-year Head Start Program serving Morgan and Lawrence Counties. In 1975, the Agency provided Meals-on-wheels service to Morgan, Lawrence and Cullman County through an initiative of the Alabama Pensions and Securities System. In 1976, the agency officially adopted the name of Morgan Lawrence Community Action Committee.
Services during this decade included:
- FD/FY Head Start
- Manpower employment services
- Emergency food and medical service
- Summer feeding programs
In 1981, the Foster Grandparent program added the Senior Companion program to its National Older American Volunteer Program list of services. Later in 1981, the Morgan Lawrence Community Action Committee added Comprehensive Housing Counseling and Section 9 and 18 Transportation Services to its portfolio of services to help low-income people move out of poverty. In 1982, Alabama Pension and Security eliminated State funding for the Meals-on-wheels program and a Decatur church affiliated organization, the Committee on Church Cooperation, stepped in with local community funding to continue the work of the Meals-on-wheels program in Morgan County. In 1986, Cullman County was annexed into the service area of the Morgan Lawrence Community Action Committee and its name was changed to Morgan Lawrence Cullman Community Action Agency on September 19, 1985.
Services in the 1980’s included:
- Comprehensive Housing Counseling (1981)
- FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter (1983)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program - LIHEAP (1984)
- Exxon Oil Overcharge Fund Program – EHEAP (1986)
- Weatherization - Department of Energy (1986)
- USDA Commodity Food Distribution (1986)
- Discretionary programs fund through a State General Fund appropriation (1987)
The 1990’s generated significant growth. Head Start of Cullman County merged with the Morgan Lawrence Cullman Community Action Agency Head Start program in 1989. Winston and Blount County Head Start was added by expansion in 1991. Marion, Franklin, and Colbert County Head Start joined the agency as a result of a competitive bidding process. In May of 1994, Morgan Lawrence Cullman Community Action Agency changed its name to the Community Action Agency of North Central Alabama, Inc. then to Community Action and Community Development Agency of North Alabama, Inc. in July of 1996. Also in 1996, East Coast Migrant Head Start contracted with the Community Action and Community Development Agency of North Alabama to provide Migrant Head Start Services to Blount County migrant families - this contract ended in 2003. In 1999, the Partnership produces its first affordable housing complex in Morgan County Alabama.
2000 to 2010 was another decade of growth. The Community Action and Community Development Agency of North Alabama added Early Head Start services in Morgan and Blount County in 2001, and expanded to DeKalb, Cherokee, Jackson, and Marshall Counties in 2010; Alabama Pre-K services were added in Blount, Morgan, and Cullman Counties in 2002. In 2004, Weatherization services expanded to Marion and Winston County and to Walker County in 2008.
In April 2005, long-time Executive Director Tom Wood retired and the Board of Director selected Michael Tubbs to be the agency’s fourth executive director and Chief Executive Officer. In April 2006 after much growth and expansion, the Community Action and Community Development Agency of North Alabama changed its name to the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama, Inc. (the Partnership) to better align its identity with the national brand of Community Action and the Mission of the organization.
Today the Partnership exists to be the premier and preferred non-profit partner in Alabama and works daily to reduce or eliminate the causes and consequences of poverty. It does this by producing results in low-income families through a comprehensive portfolio of services and community partnerships.