In August 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA) was passed, creating a federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) placed in the Executive Office of the President. Sargent Shriver was named Director, serving until 1969.
In 1965, Sargent Shriver outlined a plan to attack poverty in the U.S.
"The purpose of community action is to change the environment which keeps the poor in their place... We need a battery of programs reaching all of the poor...
Major components will be pre-school and pre-college programs, adult literacy, legal assistance, health, family planning, housing and a variety of counseling and guidance programs offered through neighborhood centers."
Memo to President Johnson on National Anti-Poverty Plan
(Excerpts from national policy established in US Code 42)
Although the economic well-being and prosperity of the United States have progressed to a level surpassing any achieved in world history, and although these benefits are widely shared throughout the Nation, poverty continues to be the lot of a substantial number of our people. The United States can achieve its full economic and social potential as a nation only if every individual has the opportunity to contribute to the full extent of his capabilities and to participate in the working of our society. It is, therefor, the policy of the United States to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this Nation by opening to everyone the opportunityfor education and training, the opportunity to work and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity. It is the purpose of this Act to strengthen, supplement, and coordinate efforts in furtherance of that policy.
Statement of Purpose
Economic Opportunity Act of 1964