East Central Illinois Community Action Agency

"Helping People, Changing Lives"

Community Action - A Legacy to Build Upon

East Central Illinois Community Action Agency was incorporated in February 1966, in response to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and the launching of the "War on Poverty." The original name of the Agency was the "Vermilion County Community Action Committee for Economic Opportunity." The Agency has grown over the years along with the needs of the families in the area.

ECI main office building

Our Administrative Building in Downtown Danville, Illinois

The first service delivered by the Agency was a Summer Head Start Program. During the summer of 1965, the Agency served 500 children, and following formal incorporation, a nine-month Head Start service began. Back then, Head Start Teachers were paid $450 per month. Additional early programs included Work-Study Programs, Adult Education Classes, Legal Aid Services, Neighborhood Youth Corps, and other anti-poverty initiatives. To qualify for services, families' annual incomes had to be less than $3,000.

The first office was located in the Heil Packing Company building that were on the corner of Commercial and Washington Streets. Dr. W. D. Henderson, a longtime Danville dentist, was the first Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Reverend Herschel Hughes of Tilton was the first Executive Director.

The service area was expanded to include Ford and Iroquois Counties in 1977.

The Agency's name was changed to East Central Illinois Community Action Program in 1985, and eventually to the current name, East Central Illinois Community Action Agency, in 1994.

Collett Building

The Old Collett School Building was the site of Community Action's Operations from 1968 to 1994.

Over the years, the Agency grew in numbers and types of services, and relocated three times. We served the community through the offices at the Heil Packing Company; then in 1967, we relocated to Jackson Street. From there, in 1968, the Agency moved to the old Collett School Building at 501 N. Kimball Street, Danville, Illinois. In 1992, the Agency’s Administrative Office moved to its current location at 56 North Vermilion Street, in the heart of downtown Danville, Illinois. We have since then continued in our growth. We currently provide services to families in Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion Counties from locations in Danville, Westville, Hoopeston, Watseka, Gilman, and Paxton.