Company:Community Assistance Network
Current Opportunities (4)
Location(s):7900 E. Baltimore Street
Hello and welcome to Community Assistance Network, Inc. (CAN). We are Tony Coffield, CAN's Executive Director, and Deborah Harris, President of CAN's Board of Directors. As a private, nonprofit, community action agency, CAN responds to local needs. Community action agencies were established over 45 years ago as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty legislation known as the 1964 Equal Opportunity Act. CAN celebrated its own 40 year anniversary in October-November, 2005. The legislation was far-sighted enough to ensure three things. First, that the structure of the agency would be adaptable to local issues and new trends. Second, that the required tripartite Board of Directors (1/3 elected and appointed government officials, 1/3 private citizens, and 1/3 low income people or their advocates) maintained “maximum feasible participation” from all sectors of the jurisdictions served. Third, and most important, the flexibility and grassroots nature of each agency would enable us to follow through on our basic goal: “Helping People. Changing Lives.” Along with our flexibility and grassroots status, Community Assistance Network is part of a larger network of community action agencies. We are one of 17 members of the Maryland Community Action Partnership and one of more than 1,000 agencies who make up the National Community Action Partnership. Other related community action agency organizations that we belong to are the National Community Action Foundation and CAPLAW . There is also a political action committee that advocates for community action programs known as CAP-PAC. Currently CAN has approximately 45 full-time staff, several part-timers and hundreds of volunteers. We work in eight different locations in Baltimore County so that our services are accessible to all, whether they own a car or not. As CAN's leaders, it is our jobs to manage this group effectively and efficiently for our day-to-day operations (for instance, our overhead costs, according to our recent audits, hovers between 12 and 13 percent). The Board of Directors sets policy goals and long range strategies for reaching them. The Board has named five issues as advocacy positions CAN promotes on behalf of low income people. These are affordable housing, living wages, affordable childcare, universal health care, and improving public transportation. In Baltimore County, and throughout Maryland and the nation, these five topics must be addressed before the American Dream is truly within reach of all citizens. If everyone is going to have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of an ownership society then those fruits must be within the reach of all people. One basic question we are often asked when speaking to groups is, “How does a relatively small agency with a relatively small budget such as CAN’s help thousands of low income families and individuals each year?” Our answer is always the same, “We could not do it without the partnerships we have developed during our 40 years of service to the community.” Our domain name “canconnects” is meant to highlight that fact. In a given year we have more than 500 partners in the community who assist us and our clients as they strive for economic and social stability.
CAN's mission is to work in partnership with the community to develop, operate and support programs that reduce vulnerability and promote personal growth, stability, and self sufficiency among low-income residents.