Search TAP

Click here to find out what's happening at TAP right now!

The History of TAP

Total Action Against Poverty (now known as Total Action for Progress) grew out of founder Cabell Brand’s belief that poverty is much broader than simply a lack of money: at its heart, it’s about lacking opportunity to fully participate in society. That’s why, in January of 1965, he ordered copies of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964--a landmark piece of legislation that became the centerpiece of President Johnson’s War on Poverty.

After studying the legislation and meeting with Sargent Shriver, who was head of the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington, D.C., Mr. Brand came back to Roanoke determined to help the Roanoke Valley take advantage of the opportunities provided in the Act. He was particularly interested in the Urban and Rural Community Action Program piece, which was designed to help combat poverty on the local level. Mr. Brand approached and convinced the governing bodies of Roanoke City, Roanoke County, and Botetourt County to participate in applying for money from the federal government to form a private, non-profit community action agency to serve low-income people living in those localities. Total Action Against Poverty was incorporated on April 28, 1965. In October of that same year, TAP opened its first year-round Head Start classroom, which was the first school program in the Roanoke Valley integrated from its inception.

That same “can-do” spirit evidenced by TAP when it launched its first major program only six months after its official incorporation has propelled the agency’s growth into one Virginia’s most active and successful community action organizations. It now has a staff of over three hundred and serves eleven localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its thirty programs help to further its mission of encouraging self-reliance and self-determination by strengthening and empowering individuals, families and communities by expanding access to existing opportunities, creating new opportunities, and mobilizing the community's goodwill and resources.