In 1964, Quincy Mayor Della Chiesa appointed 24 residents to form the Quincy Community Action Organization (QCAO) to "extend economic opportunities to the citizens of Quincy." With funds from the Office of Economic Opportunity, created by President Johnson to fight the national "War on Poverty", two citizen committees in Quincy's poorest neighborhoods - Southwest Quincy and Germantown - were established to involve low-income residents in making decisions about programs and services, and to develop local solutions to poverty. Over time, and with extensive community outreach and leadership training, the residents of these neighborhoods identified health, nutrition and housing as priorities.
Today, Quincy Community Action Programs (QCAP) has expanded programs to reach a service area consisting of more than 80 communities. Annually, more than 18,000 unduplicated people benefit from QCAP services. Services are delivered through eight main departments which include: Community Care for Kids, Education and Workforce Development, the Emergency Food Center, Energy Programs, Facilities and Properties, Financial Literacy and Asset Formation services, Head Start, and Housing Programs. While much has changed, the needs identified by QCAP's founders remain as pressing as ever. QCAP's most recent strategic planning process again identified housing, basic needs services, financial management and early childhood services as priority areas to be addressed in the coming three years.