Innovative Community Action Programs Recognized


Four innovative Community Action Agency programs dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing community well-being were presented with Best & Promising Practices Awards Wednesday.

The Best & Promising Practices Awards Ceremony provided an opportunity to acknowledge our most impactful and innovative Community Action programs across the state. A distinguished review team from the University of Minnesota evaluates local programs based on their success in achieving significant and measurable impact in strengthening families with low incomes.

The initiative is a collaborative effort between Minnesota Community Action Partnership, Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity, and the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development.

Agencies and programs demonstrating exceptional achievement in these areas receive a Best & Promising Practices Award. The following Community Action Agencies are 2024 awardees:

  • Minnesota Valley Action Council - Wheel Get to Work

Promising Practice

Wheel get to Work is an initiative promoting financial literacy and work dependability. MVAC matches agency funds to grant dollars through the DEED Getting to Work Grant to purchase new vehicles, which are leased to participants. They enroll in Family Assets for Independence Minnesota, with a commitment to complete financial literacy and vehicle maintenance training, along with a 2-year-savings plan. Participants receive a 3:1 match on their savings, helping to buy down their lease. At the end of the lease, participants own the care outright. Lease payments go to a revolving pool to purchase additional vehicles, creating a self-sustaining program.

  • United Community Action Partnership - Community Connectors

Promising Practice

The Refugee/Immigrant/Migrant (RIM) communities in Willmar area often encounter obstacles and barriers within the social determinants of health that affect their ability to meet basic needs, receive needed health care services, establish and maintain safe and stable housing, and experience equity inclusion within the larger community. The Community Connector program strives to improve the standards of living for the Hispanic/Latino, Sgaw/Karen, and East African/Somali communities of the Willmar and Marshall areas, to such a point that basic needs are met and services are accessible in such a way hat recognizes diversity, inclusion, and equity as necessary components to each RIM community and community member’s success.

  • CAPLP – Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership - Family Childcare Shared Services Alliance

Promising Practice

To save child care providers’ cost and time, and to support their overall quality of care for children and families, CAPLP is offering a Family Child Care (FCC) Shared Service Alliance Program that employs and schedules qualified, subsidized family child care substitutes to serve throughout Region 4. The goals of this project are to increase child care provide monetary and time savings, elevate provider sense of support, contribute to improved provider mental health through time off, and support overall recruitment and retention for the field of family child care.

  • MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership - Tribal Liaison/Indigenous Outreach Coordinator

Promising Practice

MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership’s Community Needs Assessment found we were serving fewer Native Americans than are represented in the population. An assessment of staff, clients, board, and partners identified opportunities for increased awareness of Native American culture, history, and governance. The organization created a full-time Tribal Liaison/Indigenous Outreach Coordinator to build connections externally and build understanding and awareness internally.