1964 – 1965

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act, starting the War on Poverty. Local grassroots organizations – known as Community Action Agencies – from across the country to address the root causes of poverty. Action Inc. is founded in 1965 as part of this movement.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act


Action Inc. is formally designated to cover Gloucester, Ipswich, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Action Inc. offers services for seniors and starts Cape Ann’s first Meals on Wheels program.


Action Inc. forms the Fisherman’s Wives Association, which later operates independently.


Action Inc. begins operating Gloucester’s public transportation system and continues until Cape Ann Transportation Authority forms in 1978.


Action Inc. trains its first group of Home Health Aides and operates adult and youth work experience programs under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.
Bill Rochford is appointed to the position of Executive Director and will serve in this role for nearly 40 years.


Action Inc. begins administering weatherization and fuel assistance programs.


Action Inc. establishes the Cape Ann Food Bank, now operating independently as The Open Door. Pathways for Children spins off from Action Inc. as Cape Ann’s first Head Start program.


Action Inc. opens its Emergency Shelter for homeless adults on Main Street in downtown Gloucester. Around this time, Action Inc. also helped initiate the Furniture Barn, Farmers’ Market, and Gloucester Home Buyers Group.


Action Inc. starts the Project Uplift holiday toy and clothing drive for Cape Ann children. Additionally, Action Inc.’s Weatherization Program expands to the Haverhill area.


Action Inc. begins running Welfare to Work. Action Inc.’s education and job training services expand to include the Fishing Families in Transition re-training program, new computer center, and adult education. Action Inc.’s Weatherization Program expands to include the Lynn and Peabody areas.


Action Inc. starts the COMPASS Youth Program for at-risk Gloucester teens.


A big year for Action Inc., the organization now owns and operates affordable housing for individuals. Action Inc. also begins a housing program for people living with HIV/AIDS. Action Inc.’s COMPASS Youth Program awards high school diplomas to its first graduating class. The organization moves to its current location at 180 Main Street in Gloucester.


Action Inc. establishes satellite offices in Ipswich and Rockport. The Emergency Shelter undergoes renovations and Action Inc. creates more affordable housing for homeless individuals. Long-time Action Inc. employee Tim Riley is named Executive Director as Bill Rochford retires.


Action Inc. co-founds the Gloucester High Risk Task Force, a collaborative group dedicated to serving the city’s most at-risk residents.


Action Inc. builds housing for homeless families in Gloucester. The agency also creates a Housing First program to provide housing and services for chronically homeless adults. The Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action gives Action Inc. one of its highest ever assessment ratings. Action Inc.’s Energy Services department expands dramatically as National Grid provides funding for work on housing developments across Massachusetts. Action Inc. partners with North Shore Community College on adult education classes.


Action Inc. opens the Timothy L. Riley Education and Training Center at 180 Main Street, dedicating it to Tim Riley as he retires after 39 years with the agency. Peggy Hegarty-Steck is named Executive Director. Action Inc. celebrates its 50th anniversary.


Action Inc. is working with North Shore Community Development Coalition on Harbor Village, a 30-unit affordable housing development that will be located on Main Street in Gloucester. Action Inc. continues to work with partners to create opportunities that promote a thriving Cape Ann for all.

Harbor Village