BGCAP - Our History
In March of 1964, President Johnson declared a War on Poverty and presented to Congress his direction to Sargent Shriver to assist in drafting legislation for the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Congress passed this act and on August 20, 1964, President Johnson signed the Act into law.
In the fall of 1964, Ms. Ruth Slack Roach, social activist and racehorse farm owner, of Midway, Kentucky, heard about this new federal program for economically disadvantaged children called Project Head Start. Mrs. Roach was actively involved in her community of Midway, working with low-income families and their children and was deeply concerned about the needs of these children. With a degree in social work, Mrs. Roach knew that almost one million children from low-income families enter school for the first time each year. She also was aware that while their classmates from higher-income families may face the new challenge with assurance, many children from low-income homes begin school with health problems and a lack of self-confidence and cognitive skills.
She was interested in starting an agency to sponsor the administration of Project Head Start so she contacted the county judges in Woodford, Jessamine, Anderson Franklin, and Mercer counties. She then contacted the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington DC and was given information that she needed to begin the process of organizing interested community leaders in starting an agency to sponsor the administration of Head Start. She met with school superintendents, judges and other leaders in the communities of these five counties. These individuals represented the private, public and target sectors of the communities. Starting in the fall of 1965 and for the ten years following, classes of Head Start were held in the remodeled basement of her home on Parrish Hill Farm in Midway. When interviewed in 1993, Ms. Roach stated that she had fond memories of the children playing in the apple orchard on the farm and swinging from the tree branches. For years to come these children who became adults would share with her the joy they had in being a part of the big house and farm in their childhood.
In September of 1965, Articles of Incorporation were filed and the Blue Grass Community Action Agency was founded. A one room office opened in Lawrenceburg in the Elementary School. This office was to oversee the Head Start program in four counties. In August 1966, the Agency became a 501(c)3 private non-profit corporation. During the ensuing years, the Blue Grass Community Action Agency enlarged its service area to include nine counties (Anderson, Boyle, Franklin, Garrard, Jessamine, Lincoln, Mercer, Scott and Woodford). For the many years that followed Blue Grass Community Action Agency continued its growth. The Agency added various programs that served the needs of the low income and motivated them to become self-sufficient. With this growth, the Agency's central office was moved to Paul Sawyer Park in Woodford County. In 1987, the Agency had an annual budget of $3,350,000 with a staff of 180 and 450 volunteers. In 2004, the board approved building and purchasing our current central office at 111 Professional Court. Also that same year, with a recommendation from the National Community Action offices, the board voted to change our name to Blue Grass Community Action Partnership. By 2009, the Agency had grown to an annual budget of $17,000,000 with a staff of 415 and 2,000 volunteers. The 2010 fiscal year budget has grown to more than $20 million dollars due to Federal stimulus dollars.