About us

Action Pathways is a private, non-profit human services agency offering a comprehensive and supportive approach to helping families and individuals achieve and sustain economic security—effectively providing them a path forward in life. Formerly known as the Cumberland Community Action Program, Inc. (CCAP), Action Pathways has developed and operated successful community-based programs in southeastern North Carolina for 50 years. Action Pathways is part of a national network of community action programs whose promise is to change people’s lives, embody the spirit of hope, improve communities, and make America a better place to live. We care about the entire community and are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.


As an anti-poverty organization, we advocate for individuals and communities, through developing pathways into economic stability and by providing alerts and challenges to actions and policies that foster disadvantaged, poor, at-risk communities and individuals.

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We see a stronger, healthier, and more viable community in the future. By investing in the individuals and families we serve, Action Pathways can create a meaningful and sustainable difference in our community. We invest in families through projects and programs in four distinct areas: Hunger, Housing, Education and Empowerment

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Transparency and accountability are among Action Pathways’ highest priorities to ensure that we continue to be good stewards of our funders and our community. Monitoring and auditing by external organizations and government agencies has become part of our culture; but we take it a step farther and consistently engage in self-monitoring and evaluation across all programs. That’s why we know we are the best at what we do, and it shows. Through accreditation recognition, Action Pathways demonstrates proficiency in management practices as well as exceptional proficiency in standards specific to an industry. Action Pathways ensures it has a vital link to state and federal organizations both public and private that can have an effect on the issues that affect our clients and program participants.

Agency Accreditations

  • Council on Accreditation
  • National Association for the Education of the Young Child

Agency Certifications:

  • US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start (OHS), Region IV
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • State of North Carolina, Community Housing Development
  • City of Fayetteville, Community Housing Development
  • County of Cumberland, Department of Health
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)
  • NCDHHS-Division of Child Development/ STAR-rated licensing

Agency Professional and Organizational Affiliations:

  • Head Start Association
  • NC Center for Non-profits
  • NC Office of the Attorney General
  • NC Office of Economic Opportunity
  • Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce
  • Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce—Military Affairs Committee
  • North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks
  • Partnership For Children of Cumberland County
  • Cumberland Financial Literacy Committee
  • Southeastern Community Action Association
  • North Carolina Community Action Association
  • Community Action Partnership
  • National Association for State Community Services Programs

Agency Monitoring and Auditing Bodies (Public and Private):

  • OEO
  • Office of Head Start
  • Feeding America
  • USDA
  • NCDA
  • ARRA
  • US Office of Inspectors General
  • US Government Accountability Office
  • US Office of Management and Budget
  • US Department of Labor
  • NC Department of Labor
  • US Department of Energy

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Shortly before President Kennedy’s assassination, he had begun to engage economic advisors to address the problem of American poverty. Continuing this work, Johnson called for an unconditional war to defeat poverty during his initial State of the Union Address during 1964. Thus began the War on Poverty movement to improve the lives of all Americans, regardless of their economic circumstances. President Johnson promised to encourage equal opportunity for all by enacting several comprehensive changes within the federal government. The Economic Opportunity Act was signed into law the fall of that year, thereby establishing the Community Action Network across the nation. The Economic Opportunity Act included the following initiatives:

  • Head Start
  • Job Corps
  • Work-Study program for university students
  • VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America)
  • Neighborhood Youth Corps
  • Basic education and adult job training
  • CAPs (Community Action Programs)

According to the Community Action Partnership, the service areas of Community Action Agencies (CAAs) cover some 96 percent of counties in all US states. Connected by a national network that includes the Community Action Partnership national association, regional associations, state associations, a national lobbying organization, and a national association of Community Service Block Grant administrators, CAAs are each independently operated private human service non-profit organizations.

Currently, more than 34 million residents in the United States rely on CAAs as the primary direct support agency to keep them “on their feet.” The Community Action Partnership asserts that “the majority of CAA program participants are extremely poor, with incomes below 75 percent of the federal poverty threshold, or $9,735 for a family of three (the average family size for the client population).” For more information on CAAs and their history, please visit www.communityactionpartnership.com.

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Mr. Ed Hamilton 1964-1967
Mr. John Murray 1967-1969
Mr. William Bowser 1969-1973
Mr. Kenneth Smith 1973- 2005
Ms. Cynthia Wilson 2005- 2018

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Action Pathways is operationally designed to allow programs to focus 100% of their efforts on service delivery. Staff in each of our program areas are knowledgeable and competent in their fields, and we want to ensure they continue to support as many families and individuals as possible in their path forward. At the Corporate Office, we are focused on the business of running a successful mission-focused business.

Our functional units at the Corporate Office include the Executive Department, Agency Advancement Department, Finance Department (includes Information Technology and Facilities Management), and Human Resources Department.

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Lonnie Ballard

In May of 2018, The Action Pathways, Inc. Board of Directors unanimously appointed Lonnie Ballard, formerly Chief Operating Officer (COO), the agency’s Interim CEO.

Lonnie Ballard brings 20 years of management and leadership experience to the position. Ballard previously served as an Assistant City Manager for the cities of Tallahassee, Florida and Albany and Riverdale, Georgia. Prior to his tenure in city management, Ballard worked for Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority on a HOPE VI Revitalization Project and served as the Director of Planning for the Office of Human Affairs, Inc. in Newport News, Virginia.  During his career, Ballard led major redevelopment and economic development projects and community building initiatives.

Ballard joined Action Pathways in September of 2016 and has proven to be an asset to the Corporate team. Under his leadership, services were expanded to youth, program efficiencies were achieved and additional program resources were secured, including a $1.2 million supplemental grant for the early childhood education program.  In his former role as COO, Ballard became closely familiar with the various programs Action Pathways facilitates, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast NC, Head Start, Weatherization Assistance Program, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, Reentry Program, and ASPIRE Self-Sufficiency program.


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George Jamison, Chairman 
Thimi Kollar, Vice Chairperson 
Mary John-Williams, Secretary 
Kirk deViere, Treasurer 
Dr. Sherree Davis, Parliamentarian 
Bertha Elliott, Chaplain

Elected Sector:

Bertha Elliott, Community 2

Lenwood Edwards, Community 3 
George Jamison, Community 4 
Dr. Margaret Brown, Community 5

Private Sector:

Kirk deViere, 219 Group

Lisa Chance, Cumberland County Department of Social Services 
Dr. Sherree Davis, Fayetteville State University 
April Clark, Precise Signature & Healthcare 
Charles "Chuck" Pelfrey - Second Harvest Food Bank

Valencia Handy, Head Start Policy Council

Public Sector:

Councilman Larry Wright, City of Fayetteville 
Thimi Kollar, Town of Stedman 
Mary John-Williams, Representing Commissioner Jeannette Council, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners 
James O’Garra, Town of Spring Lake 
Laura Hardy, Representing Commissioner Larry Lancaster, Cumberland County Commissioners 


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Neighborhood Youth Corps
Senior Opportunities & Services
Neighborhood Service Centers
Information and Referral Services Directory
Summer Youth Feeding Program
Community & Backyard Gardens
Certified Day Care Homes
Rural Community Water System
Environmental Research Project
Community Action Partnership Program
Neighborhood Clean-up Campaign
Transportation for the Elderly
Aid to Victimized Elderly
Conversion of Hot Water Heaters into Wood Burning Stoves
SHARE – Heart of the Carolinas
Urgent Repair Program

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Annual reports:
2005 2006 2007 2008
2009 2010 2011 2012
2013 2014  

Form 990

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Report Fraud

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