About Us

Our Mission

Tompkins Community Action collaborates with individuals and organizations to sustain and improve economic opportunity and social justice for families and individuals impacted directly or indirectly by poverty. 

We Are Community Action

Tompkins Community Action, Inc., (TCAction), is a nonprofit, 501(c)3, charitable, community-based organization classified as a Community Action Agency. Incorporated in 1966 under the auspices of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the agency has a broad mandate to design and implement programs addressing local needs and conditions which foster poverty in Tompkins County in the State of New York. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 legislated “To mobilize the human and economic resources of the Nation to combat poverty in the United States”; this became known as “The War on Poverty.”

TCAction holds a number of designations, which include:

• A registered New York State Charity
• Head Start Grantee
• Licensed childcare provider
• NYS HCR designated Local Administrator of Housing Choice Voucher Program

All TCAction programs provide services that strengthen and empower individuals and families toward their goals of self-sufficiency.

As mandated by federal legislation, a tri-partite board of directors governs TCAction. Its twelve members represent the target sector (low-income), private sector and community sector. TCAction is also served by a Head Start Policy Council which is comprised of community members and constituents served by TCAction. This Council meets monthly to ensure that the voices of low-income residents are included in TCAction’s decision-making process. Target sector representatives to TCAction’s Board of Directors are also elected from the Policy Council.

Today, TCAction operates 21 programs that serve over 5,000 low-income individuals each year, through an integrated and coordinated services delivery system housed through three departments: Housing Services, Family Services and Community Services.

Our History


We begin as a small grassroots effort to improve the lives of low-income children and their families in Ithaca, NY.

We incorporate as the Economic Opportunity Corporation (EOC).



We begin our first program: a county-wide Head Start Program that continues to this day.

We begin providing the Weatherization Assistance Program.



We begin administering Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

We rename our agency Tompkins Community Action.



We are awarded funding to expand Supportive Housing services, and to begin a new Early Head Start Program.

We expand our Dryden Childcare Center known as the Casey Calandra Childcare Center.



Magnolia House Supportive Housing Program opened offering the first supportive housing program for women in our area.

Sally Dullea Childcare Center opened in downtown Ithaca. This site has three Early Head Start classrooms.



Harriet Giannelis Childcare Center on our main campus opened five classrooms.

Amici House Supportive Housing Program for young people opened on our main campus. 



Ithaca- Arthaus Supportive Housing Program opened as a partnership with The Vecino Group.

The Groton Childcare Center was renamed the Donna Jewett Childcare Center.