Kathryn, Communications Director, has over a decade of nonprofit experience with more than half of that time spent directly in the Community Action Network. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications Summa Cum Laude from Franklin University and her associate’s degree from Ohio University. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public relations from Kent State University. Kathryn manages the association’s public relations and communications efforts to share the stories and successes of the Community Action Network.
Last week, the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA) hosted the 2015 Winter Legislative Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Nearly 300 Community Action professionals, partners and legislators joined the OACAA board and staff to discuss, learn and inspire each other. New and innovative approaches were pursued as the Community Action Network continued to do what they do best—help people and change lives.
The conference kicked off with visits with state legislators and agencies discussed their progress, ideas, and successes while advocating for their community’s low-income population. That evening, we were joined by several cabinet members, representatives, senators and legislative aides at the Legislative Reception and discussions continued regarding our network’s programs and initiatives to alleviate poverty across Ohio.
Thursday morning began with breakfast and speaker Denise Harlow, chief executive officer of Community Action Partnership, who discussed the newly released Community Action Standards. The Standards were coordinated by the Partnership over a three-year period along with 50 individuals connected to CSBG funding. Following breakfast, five breakout tracks commenced which included Leadership, Fiscal/Human Resources, Family Development, Public Relations, and Weatherization.
During lunch, OACAA was honored to host Governor John Kasich as the keynote speaker during which he released a preview of the next state budget proposal. Included in the preview was the initiative to expand child care assistance to families and individuals at up to 300 percent of the poverty level as opposed to the current 200 percent limit. In addition, Kasich aims to coordinate state services to eliminate barriers to low-income people to increase their successful transition to self-sufficiency. Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey and Office of Human Services Innovations Director Douglas Lumpkin followed the Governor’s speech with additional details.
The conference wrapped up on Friday with a discussion among members and OACAA executive director Philip E. Cole, as well as a federal policy update from speaker David Bradley. Mr. Bradley, co-founder and executive director of National Community Action Foundation, discussed NCAF’s work toward the federal reauthorization of CSBG, which he expects to accomplish in 2015.
Photos from the conference can be viewed on our new Flickr photo feed: OACAA Flickr. OACAA would like to thank all of those throughout Ohio’s 88 counties who participated in this year’s conference. All attendees, speakers, workshop presenters, staff and members of board of trustees played a vital role in the success of the conference. We are excited to begin working on the 2015 OACAA Summer Conference and look forward to seeing you there! Stay up to date with more details for the next conference and other activities by subscribing to our blog.