Volume 1, Issue 5                                                         June 2015
In This Issue


Expanded Training Facility


Quick Links
MCA Website
Contact Us
Legislative Priorities
Member Services
MCA's Mission
To serve member agencies  and strengthen their capacity to alleviate the causes and circumstances of poverty.

June 16

Measuring Success Webinar


June 23


Building Relationships Webinar

sidestory2Register now for July Summer Conference
at Shanty Creek
     Join friends and colleagues in celebrating Community Action at MCA's annual Summer Conference at Shanty Creek Resort July 28-30.  
     We are preparing a comprehensive agenda to make the Summer Conference the biggest professional development event of the year.

Among the featured topics:

  • Organizational standards
  • ROMA
  • FACSPro
  • Regional collaboration
  • Model programs
  • Early childhood development
  • Self-sufficiency programs
  • Senior services

    See the latest conference draft agenda here.

     To register, please click on the link below. 

Please register for the conference online here! 
MCA's Political
Action Committee
needs support
    Show support for Community Action by contributing items for our live and silent auctions to benefit Friends of Michigan Community Action, our state Political Action Committee. 
    You can become a member of FMCA by joining our "Club 52" for a $52 contribution.  Be sure to attend the FMCA reception on Wednesday evening, July 29,  on the Lakeview Patio at Shanty Creek.
Have a Catalyst story idea?
     Is there a story or issue you'd like to see covered in Catalyst?       Let us know what's happening in your agency or region.  Recent events?  People news?  We welcome your input and feedback.   Please send your comments and ideas to:
MCA urges EITC protection
MCA testified before a Senate committee June 2.


     Stressing that eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be detrimental, MCA testified during a Senate hearing June 2 that the credit actually has a positive impact on the economy. 

      "While the tax credit may not make or break the household that receives it," Chere Coleman, MCA policy program director, told the House, Roads and Economic Development Committee, "it is an additional resource in the overall framework for individuals and families working toward self-sufficiency."

     Coleman cited a recent study by Michigan State University researchers that distinguishes EITC from public assistance.  Those eligible for EITC are working poor people with jobs, but whose paychecks are inadequate to support their families.

MCA Policy Program Director

Chere Coleman speaks at

the Senate hearing

     "Millions of low-income, working-class folks in America are making ends meet by living in the red," explains Jennifer Sykes, the study's lead author, in a recent article in MSU Today.  "They are working, but they are not earning a livable wage.  The EITC is a powerful force in the lives of these families."

     The EITC complements a federal program that gives poor, working families tax credits when they file their tax returns.  House Bill 4609 will use the $117 million spent per year on the tax credit toward road repairs.  Annually, it will cost $1 billion-plus to repair and maintain Michigan roads.     


MCA expands training facility

CAA staff members take part in a Results Oriented Management Accountability Train the Trainers session in MCA's recently expanded training facility.


Executive Profile
Ron Borngesser driven by MCA's community impact

    The woman who walked into the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency looked familiar to Ron Borngesser, but he was not expecting what she brought with her.

     "She came in with a check, and I still remember the exact amount: $135.75," Borngesser, the CEO of OLHSA, recalled of the former client, who came to repay the agency for its past assistance.  "That was just an incredible thing."

     The agency had helped the woman pay her heating bill the previous winter, and she returned to donate the same amount, now that she had found a job and was grateful to be financially stable again.

     The personal gratification was not in the money, he says, but rather the power of Community Action to make a positive impact, something he has witnessed firsthand during his more than 40 years at the agency.

     "It grows on you, for certain," he says. "That's why I've stayed all these years.  It sort of becomes a missionary zeal when you see all the good that you do in the community."

     He sees it every day when hundreds of children converge on the main Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency campus for Head Start services.  Many of those students go on to attend the agency's Pontiac Academy for Excellence K-12 charter school.

     He also notes how the agency, which has a staff of 400 and a $30 million budget, provides employment opportunities.  One shining example is a woman who began as a substitute Head Start teacher 25 years ago and is now a top administrator.

     The agency also provides decent affordable housing through subsidiaries that construct and rehabilitate living units.

     Borngesser, who holds a business degree with a focus in accounting from Michigan State University, had private sector job opportunities after he was discharged from the Navy in 1974.  He instead opted to join the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency as its personnel administrator after determining the post offered a chance to make a difference in society.

     "You might give up higher salary opportunities available in the private sector when you join Community Action, but you get so much back in other ways," he says.

     Borngesser held various positions within the agency before ascending to CEO in 1998.

     He says he has found that the statewide Michigan Community Action association serves as an effective conduit for the 29 Community Action agencies throughout the state to share ideas and concepts.  Borngesser served as MCA's president for two terms from 2007-2011.

     Going forward, cooperation might take on added importance with the governmental push toward regionalization of services.

     While regionalization holds the promise of increased efficiency, it could also threaten individual agencies' abilities to react nimbly to needs unique to their communities - a longtime strength of the Community Action network, Borngesser says. 

Head Start celebrates 
50th anniversary


     With more than 31 million children served since 1965, the federally funded preschool program Head Start celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 18.

     The program, created by President Lyndon B. Johnson, serves the most vulnerable children, with the idea that anyone can be successful regardless of circumstance. 

     Michigan CAAs are a dedicated sponsor of Head Start, offering free Head Start preschooling and the Early Head Start program.