The Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC), Howard County’s designated anti-poverty organization, announced that the nonprofit’s president, Bita Dayhoff, is retiring after 32 years with the organization. Under Dayhoff’s leadership, CAC has transformed significantly, creating a culture and organizational systems that have sparked innovative thinking, promoted equity and delivered excellent service.
Dayhoff dramatically increased the total number of individuals CAC served from 3,000 a year to 53,000 per year, enabling CAC to reach a significant portion of Howard County’s citizens in need. In addition, Dayhoff increased the total number of service points by 2,700 percent.
Under Dayhoff’s leadership, the number of children served in the Head Start program increased from 182 to 362. Most recently, Dayhoff secured funding and the location for the opening of the Bauder Education Center, a state-of-the-art early childhood education center in the Village of Long Reach community.
In addition, Dayhoff led Howard County’s design, launch, and implementation of the two Generational Case Management approach developed by the Aspen Institute as a robust vision to support a family’s well-being and lead them to self-sufficiency. The model of service is now funded state-wide by the Governor and lauded as a means to bring an end to the cycle of poverty.
Seeing a drastic increase in food insecurity throughout Howard County, in 2017, Dayhoff secured funding to purchase the Howard County Food Bank as a permanent and centralized location to serve the most vulnerable residents of the community with the “customer choice” grocery store model. Its design has been replicated in Maryland and nationally.
In addition, Dayhoff assisted the nonprofit with the following:
- CAC has been named one of the Baltimore Sun’s Top 100 Employers.
- CAC earned a Better Business Bureau certification and is nationally accredited for its Head Start program.
- CAC has received numerous awards including the Excellence in Service Award from the ARC of Howard County, Howard County’s Human Rights Commission’s first Human Rights Award and the Global Poverty Award.
- CAC was first in the nation to bring together different branches of federal, state and local government and reach an agreement to blend their funds to expand Head Start services from part-day part-year to full-day full-year, which later opened the door to adding Before and After Care to CAC’s programming in order to support parents joining the workforce with full-time employment.
A nationwide search for Dayhoff’s replacement will begin soon and the next president and CEO will be announced in spring 2022.