The OHCAC is a private non-profit corporation providing services to benefit low-income people in central Ohio. The overall goal of the Commission is to help low-income persons break the cycle of poverty and better their economic situation. The Commission was established in accordance with the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. It has been in operation since November 16, 1965 – initially in Marion and Crawford Counties. The Commission currently has major administrative offices in Marion, Galion, Mt. Gilead and Mansfield, Ohio.
The original agency administrative office was briefly located in Crestline. The agency relocated to rented space at 2375 Harding Highway East, Marion, and operated out of that location for many years. The former Swink Advertising facility at 372 East Center Street was purchased in 1979 but was sold in 1982 after the exodus of the second Executive Director and cessation of a management contract with another community action agency in the interim. OHCAC then purchased the former Smith Clinic facility at 240 East Church Street in 1983. The agency outgrew that facility when it took over Head Start Program services for Richland and Morrow Counties in 1999 and finally re-purchased the current facility at 372 East Center Street in 2001.
Since its inception, OHCAC has had three Executive Directors: Donald P. Shanahan (1965-1977), John F. Graham (1978-1981), and Andrew Joseph Devany (1982 – present).
The OHCAC is governed by a twenty-four member Board of Trustees, also known as the Governing Board. There are eight members representing Marion County, eight members representing Crawford County, five members representing Morrow County and three members representing Richland County. There are three sectors represented on the Board: Public, Private, and Low-Income. Each sector equally comprises one-third of the Board. The Public sector is represented by public officials or their designees, the Private sector is represented by private citizens from businesses and organizations, and the Low-Income sector is represented by low-income residents.
OHCAC currently has total funding in the range of $15 million with approximately 220 employees in full and part time positions serving the four counties of Crawford, Marion, Morrow and Richland.