Rocky Mountain Development Council, Inc., strives to improve quality of life and promotes self-sufficiency for individuals and families.
Rocky Mountain Development Council, Inc. — a Community Action Agency (CAA) that primarily serves Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, and Jefferson Counties—was established in 1965, a year after federal authorizing legislation.
Over time, RMDC has sheltered programs including Helena Food Share and the Helena Indian Alliance until they got their feet on the ground. Head Start has been a component throughout RMDC’s life. Currently, RMDC encompasses senior services, affordable housing, energy assistance, child care, Head Start and provides senior volunteer opportunities.
Unique Characteristics of CAP Agencies
1. Board Structure: a required tripartite board consisting of equal parts local private sector, public sector, and low-income community representatives and leaders.
2. Volunteer Support: CAA agencies attract and enjoy assistance from many different volunteers.
3. Leverage for Other Resources: Every CSBG dollar spent leverages nearly four dollars of state, local, and private contributions.
4. Innovative Solutions: CSBG funds give CAA agencies the flexibility to design programs that address specific community needs.
5. Low Administrative Costs: CAA organizations are committed to keeping administrative costs low, putting maximum dollars toward community and client needs.
6. Comprehensive and Responsive: CAA agencies are designed to work quickly and flexibly as needs arise and funding is available.
7. Community and Family Programs for All Ages: Every CAA agency includes a different range of services, but most address children and youth, older adults, the working poor, and families facing crisis.
Rocky Mountain Development Council, Inc. is a nonprofit Community Action Agency (CAA). In Montana, we are one of ten such organizations called Human Resource Development Councils (HRDCs).
Like our 1,000 counterparts around the nation, we exist to improve the lives of community members and promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families. We work primarily, but not solely, in Broadwater, Jefferson, and Lewis & Clark Counties.
The War on Poverty
In 1963, shortly before he was assassinated, President John F. Kennedy had asked his economic advisors to prepare proposals to address the problem of poverty in America. President Lyndon B. Johnson continued this initiative. In his first State of the Union address, Johnson called for an unconditional war to defeat poverty and ultimately prepared the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which became law that same year.
The Act authorized a variety of programs including Head Start, the Job Corps, VISTA, and Community Action Agency programs. Congress slowly appropriated funding to match the Act’s initiatives. Beginning in 1981, many CAA agency programs were funded through federal Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) dollars, which are awarded and monitored by state agencies.
The Community Action Agency component of this legislation was modeled on two successful urban renewal projects both of which emphasized active participation by low-income citizens.