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SCCAP nominates David White for national Community Action award

The South Central Community Action Program is pleased to announce the nomination of David White for a national award recognizing exemplary volunteer achievements in support of Community Action.

White has been nominated for the Jayne Thomas Grassroots Volunteer Recognition Award, established by the Community Action Partnership in 1988.  The Award is named after Jayne Thomas, who was an outstanding community action leader with Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke, Virginia, and the Community Services Block Grant director for that state.

The Jayne Thomas Grassroots Volunteer Recognition Award is given to an individual each year who has shown outstanding dedication and made extraordinary contributions to a Community Action Agency. The national award winner will be announced on Aug. 29 in Chicago. 

White, a retired Indiana University biology professor, has been a volunteer for SCCAP for the past five years and a volunteer in the Bloomington community for many years. During his time as a Community Action volunteer, he has given many hundreds of hours of his time to help others change their lives as a volunteer Ally in SCCAP’s Circles Initiative, and also as the editor and publisher of a social services newspaper that is sponsored by SCCAP and distributed throughout the community. 

“David works tirelessly to educate people in the community about issues of poverty and understands on a very deep level how people who live in poverty are injured by never having enough resources,” SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare said. “ As part of his efforts to educate others, David has for years done an amazing job of putting together a highly professional 16-page newspaper full of articles about help available for those in poverty, issues that need to be addressed and success stories of those who have changed their lives.

“There seems to be no limit to his giving of time and talent, and he does it all without seeking credit or attention,” Lare said. “David deserves recognition for his many years of service to Community Action and our partners and allies.”

In David’s role as a Circles Initiative Ally, he supports people in poverty, called Leaders, by being a friend, consultant, and role model, and by providing access to community resources and networks as Leaders strive to make lasting changes in their lives. In this way, Allies help people in chronic poverty become financially stable and able to take care of themselves and their families.  The long-term commitment of volunteers like David is needed because poverty frequently affects a family for generations, and we understand it takes many years to address the myriad of reasons people are stuck in poverty.  It takes a dedicated person with resources, supports and time to complete goals, increase resources and knowledge and form new community connections and networks to ensure stability that will last to the next generation. David has excelled in this role. He and his wife, Joan, have been involved in Circles from near its inception at SCCAP,  serving on committees, raising and donating money, sharing generously of their time and talent, and most importantly, developing genuine relationships with people involved in Circles and creating a strong community of support where the common goal is a better life for everyone.   

In 2005, David spearheaded the start of a free community newspaper that provides readers with news and updates about local agencies that provide services to residents. Each quarter, more than 5,000 copies of the 16-page publication, called Safety-Net, are distributed to coffeehouses, restaurants, grocery stores, agencies and the local farmers market.  Issues of Safety-Net feature personal success stories and poems written by people who have benefitted from services provided by local agencies, as well as information about how people can access services that will be helpful to them. Every issue helps spread the word about services available at the South Central Community Action Program and the impact that community action has in our community.  The online version of Safety-Net is at http:/

Some of White’s other volunteer contributions have included:

  • Serves on the board of directors of New Leaf/New Life, a nonprofit organization that runs therapeutic programs at the local jail, helping people adjust to the community and become productive members when they leave jail.
  • Has served on the board of directors of the Interfaith Winter Shelter, which provides sites for homeless people to stay in the evenings from November to mid-April. Also volunteers at one of the shelters once a week.
  • Has served on the board of directors of the Shalom Community Center, which provides breakfast and lunch during the week for the poor and homeless. Has served as volunteer at the Shalom Center once a week as part of a program called Job-Links that helps people find employment, and was a volunteer in the kitchens at the Shalom Center and the Community Kitchen.
  • Is one of the organizers of the Bloomington Homeward Bound Walk, which plans a year walk to raise funds for the poor and homeless in Bloomington. Last year, David reached out to high schools and churches to encourage them to form Walk teams.
  • Has been a Big in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program in Bloomington.

For his volunteer work, White has been honored by the Indiana Lieutenant Governor with the Golden Hoosier Award, presented to senior Hoosiers who give of their time to encourage and help others. As is widely recognized in our community, White truly epitomizes the Community Action promise to change people's lives, embody the spirit of hope, improve communities and make America a better place to live. He cares about the entire community and for many years has dedicated himself to helping individuals help themselves and each other.