HALEYVILLE - Over the past several months, Marion/Winston Community Action Agency - which helps low-income families with heating and cooling costs, among other things -, has been considering a merger with either Community Service Programs of West Alabama or Community Action Partnership of North Alabama. At a meeting Wednesday, March 24, board members approved authorization to sign a letter of intent with CAPNA.
Merging with the larger north Alabama agency, which is based in Decatur, will allow larger grants to help communities within Marion and Winston counties. The merge is not definite as yet, as the letter of intent allows the two organizations to explore the situation.
Jeff Fleming, MWCAA executive director, assured money designated for Winston and Marion counties will stay in those counties.
“Any of the funding that is allocated to the counties is designated for the counties, so we wouldn’t lose any of the funding,” Fleming said. “For some things, we’re not large enough to apply for funding. As part of a larger agency, we would have the capacity. One of the things in the past that has always been a challenge because of our size was any programs or grants we looked for had to be something that would fit in our capacity to do.”
Tim Thrasher, CEO of CAPNA, attended the meeting to explain the merger process and answer questions.
“We’re not coming in and eliminating staff,” Thrasher said. “That’s not what we do. This is really trying to serve the folks in Marion and Winston counties to a greater degree and greater extent.”
“There are several areas that have been a struggle because we have not had the experience and expertise,” Fleming continued. “Through the pandemic, it was difficult. There weren’t training opportunities available.
“CAPNA already has a presence in our communities because they serve head start programs in Marion and Winston counties,” Fleming said. “They have locations in our counties, and we have worked with them in an unofficial capacity.”
“I think we have a lot we can offer,” Thrasher said, mentioning technology as one possibility. “The reason we sent the letter of intent is so we can go forward.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.