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Values, Mission & History


Washington County Community Action Council’s mission is to assist people in economic need in our community to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency while respecting their diversity.


At CAC, we operate under a set of core values that not only dictate how we interact with our clients, colleagues, and community – they set the expectations that keep our clients moving forward towards self-sufficiency.

  • Dignity
  • Compassion
  • Honesty
  • Trustworthiness
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Consistency
  • Nonjudgmental


The Washington County Community Action Council (CAC) was established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America’s War on Poverty.

The brick building at 101 Summit Avenue was constructed as a U.S. Post Office at the end of the 19th century. It features imposing columns on the front façade and a prominent bald eagle in the frieze. The building was turned over to the Washington County Commissioners in the late 1930s for use as an annex. During the 1960s, the Cooperative Extension Service moved into the upper level.

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty and started the Community Action movement. A newly formed Community Action Council took up residence in the lower level the very next year.

In 1990, CAC took over the entire building. The Board of Commissioners of Washington County deeded the building to CAC in September 2003.  Since then, nearly all client services have been located to our handicapped-accessible upper level adjacent to the parking lot.

In 2005, CAC celebrated its 40th anniversary. We did so without fanfare – not even a cake or a press release. CAC has always dedicated its energy and resources towards achieving its mission, not seeking recognition

In 2017 CAC moved two doors up the street to 117 Summit Avenue

There are about 1,100 community action agencies across the nation, and 17 in the State of Maryland, all dedicated to changing the lives of neighbors in poverty. As the county’s designated community action agency, CAC is dedicated to helping county residents become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community.

Browse the site and learn more about our programs and opportunities for you to help make a difference.