Semcac celebrates its 50th anniversary
On July 12, Semcac (South East Minnesota Citizens Action Council) celebrated 50 years of service to southeast Minnesota with an open house anniversary at its location in Rushford.
Executive director Wayne Stenberg welcomed several business leaders and Rushford city officials to the open house with a few words about how the agency started.
“Semcac has been putting people first since 1966, and that has been a key that has opened doors into the lives of thousands of people, who have been touched by the programs that are administrated,” said Stenberg.
“Semcac supports the citizens in many ways, especially during times of great need. We are the voice for the voiceless, and we invest private, federal and public dollars into the communities to strengthen our greatest resource, the people.”
Rushford Mayor Chris Hallum also presented Stenberg and Semcac with a Resolution of Commendation on behalf of the City Council.
“(An) untold number of lives have been positively impacted by the services, assistance, training and opportunities provided by Semcac,” said Hallum.
“The Rushford City Council wishes to acknowledge Semcac as a valuable community partner and expresses sincere appreciation for their dedication to improving the quality of life in our communities.”
Semcac started as a reaction to the Economic Opportunity Act passed in 1964. This act allowed for the development of community action agencies. The Winona Citizens Action Council (WCAC) was one of these groups.
State officials informed the WCAC that serving only one county would not be the most cost-effective approach. Therefore, the group added Fillmore and Houston counties to the initiative, forming the South East Minnesota Citizens Action Council (Semcac) in 1966.
This nonprofit organization received a federal grant in June of that year, and it has grown from there.
Today, Semcac serves seven counties across southeast Minnesota. It operates 25 programs in these seven counties: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Steele and Winona.
Some of the programs that Semcac offers include: health clinics, weatherization assistance, housing, food shelves, advocacy and emergency services, senior services, Head Start education classes, and transportation.