Action for Boston Community Development
|Founded||Boston Community Development Program (BCDP) 1961
Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) July 24, 1962 
|Founder(s)||Melnea Cass |
|Origins||Boston Community Development Program (BCDP) in 1961|
|Key people||John J. Drew, President/CEO
Sharon Scott-Chandler, Executive Vice President
Syvalia Hyman III, Chairperson of the Board
|Area served||Boston neighborhoods|
|Method(s)||centralized and neighborhood education, services, training, counseling, and advocacy; Area Planning Action Council (APAC); Neighborhood Services Center (NSC); Family Service Center (FSC)|
|Revenue||$132,326,374 (funding 2008) |
Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) is an anti-poverty and community development organization founded in 1961 as Boston Community Development Program (BCDP) in Boston, Massachusetts and incorporated as Action for Boston Community Development in 1962, serving as a prototype for urban “human renewal” agencies.
It is the largest non-profit human services agency in New England, annually serving more than 85,000 low-income Boston-area residents through its central offices and a decentralized network of Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs), Head Start centers, Family Planning sites and Foster Grandparent sites.
Every year since 1974, ABCD has a Community Awards dinner honoring people and organizations who have made significant contributions to the Boston community especially through their volunteerism.
City-wide network of service centers
ABCD provides services to the community through a decentralized, city-wide network, which includes 13 neighborhood centers.
These centers are usually an Area Planning Action Council (APAC), a Family Service Center (FSC), or a Neighborhood Services Center (NSC).
The neighborhood centers include:
- Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Opportunity Centers
- Asian American Civic Association  in Boston's Chinatown (which also publishes the newspaper Sampan since 1972)
- Citywide Boston Hispanic Center, downtown Boston
- Dorchester NSC
- East Boston APAC
- Elm Hill FSC Roxbury / North Dorchester
- Jamaica Plain APAC
- JFK Family Service Center in Charlestown 
- Learning Works, downtown Boston
- Mattapan FSC
- North End / West End NSC
- Parker Hill / Fenway NSC
- South Boston Action Center
- South End NSC (SNAP)
ABCD operates two schools for specialized populations and serve as alternative learning environments.
Leadership and organizational structure
The ABCD President/CEO provides operational and visionary leadership to ABCD, reporting to the 50-member ABCD Board of Directors. The Vice Presidents provide management covering every program and employee. Department Heads and Program Directors manage ABCD programs. Neighborhood Directors oversee operations in the many neighborhood-based centers.
- 1961. Boston residents, with support from Mayor John F. Collins and the Permanent Charity Fund (now called The Boston Foundation), established the Boston Community Development Program (BCDP) to improve quality of life for city residents.
- 1962. BCDP was incorporated as Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), a prototype for urban “human renewal” agencies (such as Community Action Agencies), with initial funding of $1.9 million from the Ford Foundation. Community activists, including Melnea Cass, founded ABCD.
- 1964. Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society campaign and its War on Poverty. The City of Boston designated ABCD as its official anti-poverty agency. ABCD established a neighborhood-based Area Planning Action Council (APAC) system to manage 11 target neighborhoods of acutely concentrated poverty.
- 1967. ABCD started the Urban College Program to meet the educational, employment and career development needs of the adult community. This was a collaboration with major Boston area colleges and universities which enabled men and women over the years to earn academic credits toward undergraduate and graduate degrees while still acquiring job-related skills.
- 1973. ABCD and three other community action agencies filed a successful class action suit to prevent United States President Richard Nixon from abolishing the Office of Economic Opportunity.
- 1982. ABCD received an award received from United States President Ronald Reagan for the private sector initiative in the ABCD/Shawmut Bank/Bank of New England Training Program.
- 1985. The Housing Services Program was established.
- 1993. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education gives a charter as a degree-granting institution of higher education to the Urban College of Boston, a two year college, set up by ABCD.
- January 2006. The Urban College of Boston received continued accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Inc. Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
- November 2009. Following the death of long-time president and CEO, Robert M. Coard (who had worked for ABCD since 1964 and was its Executive Director since 1968), ABCD's board of directors named John J. Drew as Coard's successor. Prior to accepting the top post, Drew had worked as ABCD's Vice President for more than 20 years.
ABCD runs a variety of programs for individuals and families living in the City of Boston. The agency's stated goal through these programs is to "meet needs, empower individuals and families, and strengthen communities."  These programs include Career Development, Charitable Campaigns, Early Child Care & Education, Elder Services, Financial Futures Initiative, Food Pantries, Fuel Assistance/Energy Conservation, Health Services, Housing & Homelessness Prevention, Youth Development.
Selected program descriptions
ABCD Head Start and Children's Services is a family development program that serves pregnant women, children from birth to age five, and their families. The Head Start programs that ABCD runs are child-focused and designed to provide opportunities and services to low-income children and families of Boston.
ABCD Fuel Assistance helps more than 15,000 low-income households in Boston, Brookline and Newton pay fuel bills during the heating season. During the 2009 season, the Fuel Assistance program was able to expand eligibility requirements thanks to increased federal and state funding, up to a family of four with an income of $53,608 being eligible for some assistance. Funding sources have included the NSTAR foundation, which in 2001 donated $80,000 to the Fuel Assistance program.
ABCD's SummerWorks program, started in 1965, found jobs for 2,200 people between the ages of 14-24 during the summer of 2009. In 2010, SummerWorks is projected to receive between 7,000 and 8,000 applications, a 200% increase over 2009. Participants receive guidance, comprehensive work readiness and life skills workshops ranging from resume writing, financial education, conflict resolution and workplace etiquette. Many of them will be placed at local non-profit organizations such as hospitals, health centers, museums, day camps, government agencies and child care centers.
- "ACTION FOR BOSTON COMMUNITY DEVELO(P)MENT, INC., Summary Screen", The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin, Secretary Of The Commonwealth, Corporations Division
- "On This Day: June 19, 1968: Melnea Cass", Mass Moments, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. "She was a charter member of Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), which helped people displaced by urban renewal."
- Action for Boston Community Development 2009 Annual Report
- "ABCD History", ABCD website (archived 2008)
- "Quick Facts", ABCD website
- ABCD Community Awards Dinner - ABCD website
- ABCD 2010 Community Awards Dinner - website (archived 2011)
- ABCD Centers - ABCD website
- Asian American Civic Association - website
- The Kennedy Center in Charlestown website
- William H. Ostiguy High School description
- University High School description
- "Profile: Senator Edward M. Kennedy", Vote USA
- Urban College of Boston History
- Lawrence, J.M., "Robert Coard; as ABCD leader with ‘golden touch,’ fought poverty for half century", The Boston Globe, November 5, 2009
- "Robert Coard: Obituary", WBUR radio, November 4, 2009
- "John Drew Is New President/CEO at ABCD; Robert Coard Dies", massnonprofit.org, November 5, 2009]
- ABCD programs - ABCD website
- "Why Head Start?", Boston Head Start website
- "About: ABCD Head Start" - Boston Head Start website
- "Fuel Assistance" - ABCD website
- "ABCD's Fuel Assistance Program Expands Cap", My Dorchester, February 27, 2009
- "NSTAR Foundation Donates $250,000 to Keep Families Warm This Winter; Boston's ABCD To...", Business Wire, Thursday, February 15, 2001
- Drew, John, "An urgent call for summer jobs", The Dorchester Reporter, April 29, 2010
- "ABCD SummerWorks 2009 Final Report"
- ABCD Summer Works Program - ABCD website
- "Applications Available for ABCD Summer Jobs", northendwaterfront.com, Thursday, February 11, 2010