About Little Dixie
In 1964, three separate Community Action Agencies existed in Choctaw, Pushmataha, and McCurtain Counties of Southeast Oklahoma. Research dating back to the reference period reveals that the following Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) programs were operated by those CAA’s: Administration, Emergency Food and Medical, Neighborhood Centers, and Summer & Full Year Head Start programs.
In 1968, these agencies merged in order to better meet the needs of the residents of Southeast Oklahoma. The Board of Directors drafted Articles of Incorporation and By-laws for the newly founded “Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Inc.” which included the entirety of all three counties, an area covering more than 4,000 square miles.
Southeast Oklahoma, with its mountainous landscape and high precipitation is significantly different from other areas of Oklahoma and other Great Plains States. Climate conditions are more aligned with those in the Deep South States which was the rationale behind the selection of the name “Little Dixie” for the new Community Action Agency.
Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Inc. was incorporated as a Nonprofit Organization on April 4th, 1968. The agency’s purpose as stated in its original Articles of Incorporation was “To assist in developing, executing, and coordinating plans and the programs authorized under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and subsequent amendments which may be made to that act, and other Federal, State, and Local laws and programs which will tend to alleviate and eradicate poverty within the area of operation of this agency, exclusively for charitable purposes.”
Fred Tucker was the first Executive Director for Little Dixie and Gail Landreth was the first bookkeeper. These two individuals represented the agency’s entire administrative staff in 1968.
Tucker served as executive director for 25 years until his death in 1993. His service to Community Action is honored each year when the Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencies bestows the Fred Tucker Award for Excellence and Longevity among the State’s Community Action Employees. The agency has had only four additional Executive Directors since Mr. Tucker which include:
- Bob Yandell (1993-2005)
- Randall Erwin (2005-2008)
- Brenda Needham (2008 to 2014)
- Rebecca Reynolds (2014 to present)
Throughout its history, Little Dixie has progressively grown, adding new programs and services to meet the needs of the area, especially its most vulnerable populations. In 1971, Little Dixie had an annual budget of $607,583. Today the agency’s current budget is close to $22 million.
According to the 1970 census, 63.6% of the residents in the tri-county area had incomes below the OEO poverty guidelines. Now, according to the 2010 census, 24% of the residents of the tri-county area are living below poverty. This decrease in poverty is due primarily to the anti-poverty programs implemented through the years by Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Inc.
Our Mission: To improve the lives of low-income individuals and families through service and collaboration leading to self-sufficiency.
Our Vision: To Free Generations of People from Poverty
Our Core Values: Compassion; Honesty; Optimism; Integrity; Community; Empowerment; and Stewardship: