It’s been said that MAHUBE-OTWA’s existence is one of the community’s best kept secrets. We’ll use this month’s column to share 10 fun facts about MAHUBE-OTWA.

1. Our name, MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership, comes from the first two letters of each of the counties we serve: Mahnomen, Hubbard, Becker, Otter Tail, Wadena.

A story to remember how to pronounce the name goes something like this: The manager went to the post office to pick up the mail and told the postmaster, “I’m here to get the mail for MAHUBE” (pronounced “m’hubby”).

Postmaster replies: “Oh, he left here 5 minutes ago!”

2. We currently have a $17 million annual budget, 150 staff and 803 organizational partners.

3. Last year we provided services to over 16,000 people in our five-county service area. Some of our services include Energy Assistance, Tax Aid, Homeless/Housing assistance, Early Childhood Services (Head Start, Child Care Aware, Parent Aware), Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Family Planning, Senior Services (Medicare Counseling, Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors, Homemaking & Chore Services)

4. We are one of 1,000 community action agencies across the country who together strive to live up to the promise of our founding: Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community and are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

5. We were born out of the War on Poverty in the mid-1960s alongside the Voting Rights and Civil Rights movements.

6. Some of our services have been with us since we started: Head Start, Senior Services, Family Planning, and Information & Referral. Energy Assistance and Weatherization were added in the 1970s with the energy crisis. Housing and homeless services were added in the 1980s.

7. We are related and closely linked to other 1960s-era anti-poverty programs that still operate today: Legal Aid, Rural MN CEP, MMCDC, senior centers, and food shelves. Every three years we conduct a comprehensive Community Needs Assessment to ensure we are filling gaps, rather than competing with other community-based organizations. The most recent report can be found on our website at

8. Our mission is to empower people to achieve self-sufficiency; our purpose is to help people help themselves; our organizational values are client-focus, community-minded, and resourceful.

9. We are governed by an 18-member volunteer board of directors, one-third of whom are local elected officials, one-third represent private organizations, and one-third are low-income or selected by the low-income community.

10. While we are rooted in the aspirational goals of our founders, we continue to innovate. In 2018 we were selected through as competitive process as one of 10 organizations nationally to adapt Community Action programming to a “Whole Family Approach.” This multi-year process gives us access to leading thinkers and funders to ensure upward mobility and the best possible outcomes for the people who receive our services.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Follow us on Facebook (/mahubeotwa) to stay abreast of resources and events.
  • Visit or stop by your local office at 311 Jefferson Street S. Wadena, to pick up information for yourself or someone you know.

  • Consider volunteering your time or donating your financial resources to help us help others.

In 1964 as President Johnson declared a War on Poverty, he noted that economic insecurity has too many Americans “living on the outskirts of hope.” Together, we can ensure all people in our community are living within the circle of hope.