Changing How We Think About Poverty

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022
At Community Action Marin, we make it possible for people to achieve well-being by providing the education, mental health, and vital services they need. Together, we break down the barriers that get in the way of fair and lasting change in service to better outcomes for all.

Despite being one of the wealthiest counties in the country, Marin County is one of the least racially equitable in California across all indicators of well-being.

It might surprise you to learn given Marin’s affluence that 37 percent of households struggle to meet basic needs – or that one in five families often can’t put food on the table. As more people age into poverty, it’s also true that one in three seniors is food insecure. 

Community Action Marin provides services, like free and affordable childcare, that help over 5000 households each year to meet their needs and attain self-sufficiency.

However, with these challenges come opportunities. “We have the capital, the resources, and the will. If anyone can create stronger pathways to racial and economic justice, it’s the people of Marin through the power of community action,” says Community Action Marin (CAM) Chief Executive Officer Chandra Alexandre.

Alexandre describes people of low income, often people of color here, as the “Invisible Marin.” These are communities that are twice as likely as white households (83% of the population) to face difficult choices between paying rent or putting food on the table each month. It’s families that lack access to high-quality childcare and people who are precariously housed or homeless. 

CAM’s mission is to alleviate the causes and consequences of poverty. The agency’s goal is to help build power with people, change laws and policies, deliver services without barriers, and ensure that they are telling new stories about what’s possible for people on the road to thriving.

Through its wide range of programs, CAM assists over 20,000 people each year. For example, the agency provides organic, culturally-relevant meals to more than 550 children daily in its blended Head Start and state-funded early education centers. Its financial coaches offer tools and strategies for budgeting, debt reduction, and credit repair to over 200 people every year. Its CARE mobile outreach teams help get people to safety, to services, and on the way to a home. Most importantly, staff across all of the agency’s service areas are listening to the needs of their community and fighting to meet the urgencies of today while making an equitable future a reality. 

“We are stronger together,” Alexandre says, “and the team is living its values of Service, Relationship, Unity, and Inclusivity. Each day they are helping to ensure that every Marin resident can live with dignity and respect. If it is possible to create racial and economic equity anywhere, I believe that it’s here in Marin County.”


Community Action Marin

Donate now!
415 526-7511
CEO: Chandra Alexandre, Ph.D.


We make it possible for people to achieve wellbeing by providing the education, mental health, and vital services they need. Together, we break down the barriers that get in the way of fair and lasting change in service to better outcomes for all.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

I’ve seen how Community Action Marin has strengthened advocacy to help keep people housed and safe during the pandemic. They have taken on challenges no one else could sustain through homeless outreach, mental health, and basic needs. As a neighbor in Marin, I’m so proud to stand with Chandra and Community Action Marin in the work of achieving AN EQUITABLE RECOVERY.”
Isabel Allende
Author & Philanthropist

Aid the Fight for Racial and Economic Justice

By giving to Community Action Marin, donors will make an equitable pandemic recovery possible. 

•$250 gives preschool children a new learning garden with seeds and digging tools.

• $500 helps a teacher get a professional training and wellness day.

•$1,000 ensures that safety net services get to the hardest-to-reach people.

•$5,000 supports civic engagement and advocacy efforts for racial justice.

Give to the Step Up Community Fund and see your dollars help people and change lives!

Key Supporters

California Department of Education
County of Marin
U.S Department of Health and Human Services (including Head Start/Early Head Start)
$100,000 TO $999,999 DONORS:
Anonymous donor
Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund
Marin Community Foundation
United Way Bay Area
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Roger Crawford
Christopher Carey
Mary Donovan
Jeff Babcock
Maria Frias
Meredith Parnell
Tony Psychoyos
Jennifer McInnis
Samantha Ramirez
Violeta Krasnic
Tonya Newstetter
Nicolette Van Exel