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About

Mission Statement

To provide opportunities that empower people facing financial instability to reach economic self-reliance and an improved quality of life, and to advocate for those we serve alongside community partners.

Vision Statement

We envision a community where everyone works together to eliminate poverty, empower all people to reach economic self-reliance, and help senior citizens live independently with dignity and respect.

Our History

August 20, 1964 – The Economic Opportunity Act is signed into law.

February 11, 1965 – The Decatur-Macon County Opportunities Corporation is formed.
1965 – DMCOC begins the first Outreach program in Macon County.
This program continues to provide information, make referrals and provides limited counseling.
1965 – DMCOC is instrumental in bringing the Head Start program to Decatur.

1969 – DMCOC begins providing Housing Assistance.
This program presently includes emergency shelter for families in need, including two Emergency Houses given to DMCOC by the City of Decatur in 1992.

1970 – DMCOC begins providing services to area senior citizens.
1970 – The Community Health Improvement Center is established.
DMCOC, interested citizens and other area organizations established CHIC (now Crossing Healthcare), which was created to improve health care services for low-income persons. $20,000 of initial start-up funds was provided by DMCOC.

1974 – DMCOC begins operation of the Senior Citizens Nutrition Program.
This program provides noon meals at ten sites throughout Decatur and rural Macon County.

1975 – DMCOC introduces the Illinois Home Weatherization Program.
This program assists low-income families in weatherizing their homes.

1977 – DMCOC opens the doors of the first senior center in the Decatur area.
This center, known as the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior Center, was opened with the support of the City of Decatur. DMCOC was also instrumental in the development of the Johns Hill Senior Center and the Decatur Macon County Senior Center.

November 1995 – US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces three-year funding approval for a Long-Term Transitional Shelter Program. This program, sponsored by the Decatur Area Coordinating Council for the Homeless, later becomes Homeward Bound.

2018 – DMCOC begins its Accessibility Program which provides home modifications and wheelchair ramps for those in need.

2019 – DMCOC’s Head Start Program moves to all full day services, in order to meet the needs of children and families.
2019 – DMCOC reopens its Senior Transportation program providing both group and individual rides to seniors who are otherwise isolated.
2019 – We celebrate our 55th Anniversary with the first Local by the Lake fundraising event.
2019 – DMCOC receives funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to build a comprehensive community center on Decatur’s Community Care Campus.

2020 – The agency engages in a re-branding effort to develop a brand that represents who we are and what we do.

2021 – The agency will move into its new home on the Community Care Campus.
2021 – DMCOC officially changes its name to Empowerment Opportunity Center.

Board of Directors

Tara Murray – Executive Director
Andrew Weatherford, President
Antonio Brown, Vice President
Dorothy McFadden-Parker, Treasurer
Carol Jontry, Assistant Treasurer
Abbey Bradford, Secretary
Michael Diggs
Richelle Irons
Georgette Page
Marty Watkins
Marquita Pipes
Laquitta Ford
Doris Anison
Wendy Taylor
Brittany Dent
James Gresham

Leadership Team

Tara Murray, Executive Director
Michelle Witherspoon, Early Childhood Services Director
Karla Jordan, Energy Services Director
Whitney Glosser, Community Services Director
Joe Gray, Fiscal Officer
Carmin Ross, Office Manager

Our Partnerships

IACAA - Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies - Illinois Poverty Fighting Network
Community Action Partnership - America's Poverty Fighting Network

Community Partners

Crossing Healthcare
Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce
Macon County Health Dept.
United Way
Workforce Investment Solutions - Macon & Dewitt Counties
University of Illinois Extension
The Good Samaritan Inn
Dove Inc.
Homework Hangout
Baby TALK
Project READ