The Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency
Serving Our Michigan Communities
Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency, Inc. (NEMCSA) is a private, nonprofit Community Action Agency, part of a state and national network of Community Action Agencies. The basic service area of the agency is eleven northeast Michigan counties covering 6,300 square miles. The counties are
- Presque Isle
Other counties are included in several program areas. The agency is governed by a 30 member Board of Directors. This Board, in compliance with P.A. 230, brings together equal representation of the public and private sectors and the clients who receive services. In this manner, policy and fiscal matters as well as program and service issues are reviewed by those who have the insights to provide meaningful guidance to NEMCSA.
NEMCSA brings together federal and state grant funds as well as dollars from local private and public sources. These resources are then directed into programs which aid the poor and otherwise disadvantaged throughout the age spectrum, from pre-schoolers to the elderly of northeast Michigan. The funds include targeted dollars aimed at very specific problems as well as dollars which are more flexible in nature.
In addition, the agency provides assistance to local governments and other non-profit agencies in securing funding for a range of projects which benefit communities and individuals within the NEMCSA service area.
The concept of Community Action was initially pioneered in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy through a new initiative that brought together local officials, service providers, and neighbors to address juvenile delinquency in the United States. Building on the success of JFK’s program, activists began recruiting people from all community sectors to plan and implement programs that would help people grow out of a life in poverty. The core principle behind these projects focused on entire communities working together to improve conditions for the disenfranchised.
After becoming President in 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson further expanded on those ideas. In his State of the Union message to Congress in January, 1964, President Johnson declared: “Let us carry forward the plans and programs of John F. Kennedy, not because of our sorrow or sympathy, but because they are right…This administration today, here and now, declares an unconditional War on Poverty in America.”
From the “War of Poverty” came the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which was designed to eliminate poverty by providing opportunities for education, training, and employment for all United States Citizens. Many initiatives developed through the Economic Opportunity Act are still in place today, including Community Action Agencies like Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency, Inc