Why We Changed Our Name
Community Action Works (formerly known as Toxics Action Center) was founded in 1987. Since then, we’ve built community power in more than 1,000 cities and towns across the Northeast and won hundreds of victories for public health and the environment.
Our work has grown stronger year after year thanks to members like you who know that real, lasting change takes root when people get together and take action at the local level.
So, why change now?
Well, we’re not. Our mission and vision will always be the same. But our name is changing, and here’s why.
Why we changed our name:
First, we want to be sure that people reaching out to us know that together, we can build community power on any environmental issue. But, our name has us stuck in toxics. When we were founded after the Woburn drinking water crisis in 1987, toxics were the prevailing frame for the environmental movement.
Now, the prevailing frame is climate change—but we have always worked on both issues and on many, many more. A name that locks us into one issue holds us back from connecting with communities who need support on another. Instead, we need a name that reflects the core of who we are.
Second, we’re here to confront polluters and seed solutions. We know that real, lasting change takes root when people get together and take action at the local level. That’s just as true when you’re fighting a fracked gas pipeline as when you’re pushing your town to pass a resolution for clean, renewable energy. Our old name sounds a lot like confronting polluters, but we want concerned neighbors to reach out to us to help them build the solutions, too. We need a name that shows that community action can do both.
Finally, we needed a new name to ensure the strength of our organization throughout a changing political climate. We know that when we’re clearly and effectively telling our story, we’ll deepen our connection with supporters like you who make this work possible. Our donors and funders are some of our most important partners in this work, and we need a name and a story that conveys our key beliefs and values.
We’re excited for our next steps and so grateful to be in this movement with you.