On Monday, October 10th, 2022, Blue Ridge Community Action celebrated 57 years of service to the community during the agency's Annual Board Meeting. The meeting occurred at the Morganton Community House in downtown Morganton, North Carolina. Over 80 people attended the special annual event, consisting of BRCA staff, Board members, and guests. This meeting was the first in three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the themes of the evening was to celebrate the accomplishments and continual growth of Blue Ridge Community Action and its employees. Executive Director Stephanie Ashley commended BRCA employees for their dedication to the agency, especially in the face of recent challenges. Ashley told the crowd: "We are always thinking about how to move forward. COVID made 2019 through 2022 rough for daycare teachers and parents, so thank you. We are successful because of you all."
Executive Director Stephanie Ashley told the crowd, "We are always thinking about how to move forward. COVID made 2019 through 2022 rough for daycare teachers and parents, so thank you. We are successful because of you all."
Another theme of the evening was agency growth and transition. Each agency's department director presented a summary of the benefits and how BRCA has worked on closing the wage gap over the past few years. Weatherization department director Shawna Hanes said, "How do I retain my staff? I pay them to stay." Wage comparability studies completed by Blue Ridge Community Action every three years consistently show the agency's wage and benefit packages are competitive and are designed not just to attract new employees but reward those who have been employed with the agency for many years. All attendees were in good spirits, with several employees standing up and commending the agency and its employees.
The Board of Directors Nominating Committee also nominated three new officers: Inita Smith as Chairperson, Al Smith as Vice Chairperson, and David Martin as Secretary/Treasurer. A 15-member tripartite Board of Directors governs Blue Ridge Community Action. One-third of the Board represents elected public officials, one-third represents the private sector, and one-third represents low-income communities.
Blue Ridge Community Action, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in 1965 as a Community Action Agency to provide programs serving area low-income residents. Since 1965, the agency has maintained its three-fold mission: 1) provide programs and services which enable families to move out of poverty positions; 2) provide programs and services which reduce the suffering caused by poverty; and 3) advocate for change in policies, institutions, and practices which cause and maintain poverty in our communities. Within this three-fold mission, BRCA has developed various programs to meet the multiple needs of low-income families.
Each year that the agency can continue to serve the members of our community is a testament to the continued need for programs that assist vulnerable populations within the nine counties that Blue Ridge Community Action serves. We thank our employees, Board members, community partners, clients, and other stakeholders who have helped the agency sustain and grow through the years.