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About Community Action Center
Community Action Center Food Support
Community Engagement

Our community is at the heart and soul of everything we do. No matter the challenge, CAC provides opportunities for community members to stand in solidarity with our neighbors. Many CAC programs are led by volunteers who are passionate about needs like feminine hygiene, school supplies and environmental sustainability. There are countless creative ways to engage with the mission!

Community Advocacy Council

Current and former CAC participants provide leadership and voice in all major CAC decisions, including hiring, program development, and service improvement.

What is the Community Advocacy Council?

The Community Advocacy Council is an external group of CAC participants, friends, and neighbors that meet regularly to consider the impact of CAC’s programs on those served, to voice concerns, and hold space to assess priorities, to advocate for diverse community based resources, and to advise on critical areas of need.

What purpose does the Community Advocacy Council serve?

Hear a broader community perspective: Advocacy Council members represent diverse viewpoints from across our community. They are experts in their experiences and offer insights to form a larger community voice.

Draw together the wisdom of the group: Advocacy Council members stay informed of what’s happening and are able to recommend action and change. CAC is able to utilize their expertise because they have so much knowledge of systems and resources, and know how to get things done well.

Lift up natural leaders: Advocacy Council members are natural advocates. They are connectors and gatekeepers that CAC relies on to ensure our work is of the community and for the community. The Advocacy Council creates opportunities for internal and external leadership.

Create a bridge between the community and the organization: Advocacy Council members are trusted and respected members of the community. They have the opportunity to listen, share, and advocate for their neighbors through established relationships, creating connections essential for the long-term success of the organization and the community alike.

What impact does the Community Advocacy Council have on CAC?

Programmatic Improvements – Advocacy Council members offer guidance across the spectrum of programming including seasonal programs, housing support systems, resource development, and more to ensure participant experience stays our highest priority.

Hiring Decisions – Advocacy Council members have been instrumental in the promotion, screening, and selection of candidates to join CAC’s leadership and front line teams.

Community Outreach – Advocacy Council members have established relationships to share resources and support opportunities within their networks much faster and more efficiently than traditional outreach methods.

Direction and Vision – The Community Advocacy Council has a direct line to CAC leadership to inform the vision and influence decision making through a community centered lens provided by individuals with unique insight and lived experiences.

These core principles guide how we approach our work:

Strength Based

We focus on strengths, desires, interests, experience, and knowledge, rather than on deficits, weaknesses, or problems.

Solidarity over Charity

We walk alongside each other. Our experiences, successes, and struggles are intrinsically tied together. We’re in this together.

Trauma Responsive

We build trust and relationships while creating safe spaces where people can heal and thrive.

Equity & Justice

We seek full and equal participation of all people in our community and strive to give power and voice to everyone, especially to those who are marginalized.

Person Centered

Putting our community members first and at the center of all decisions made, programs offered, or services created.

Cultural Humility

The lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but starts with an examination of their own beliefs and cultural identities. To practice true cultural humility, a person must also be aware of and sensitive to historic realities like legacies of violence and oppression against certain groups of people.

Abundance Mindset

We believe there is more than enough for everyone and that abundance creates security and relieves fear and anxiety in uncertain times.

Community Action Center History

Community Action Center of Northfield was founded by community leaders who valued serving those around them and believed in the power of service. Their values have stuck with the CAC for five decades.

Service Expansion

CAC expanded during its first few years. By working with other local programs, it added new services. The Clothes Project and Operation Santa Claus became official CAC programs during the early 1970s. During the mid-1970s, CAC added services for seniors, working with Community Education and Recreation and Trinity Lutheran Church. In 2020 during the global pandemic, CAC expanded to serve individuals and families living throughout Rice County.

Serving Our Community

We have been able to serve over 4,000 people each year. This is thanks to our volunteers, individual donors and foundation grants. Hundreds of children benefit from scholarships and gifts. Families are helped with gas vouchers, housing assistance and groceries. CAC remains committed to programs such as the Food Shelf, Clothes Closet, support for youth, and services to seniors.

CAC’s vitality depends on the community — from volunteers to donations to program-specific support — so that we can continue to meet our neighbors’ basic needs.

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