Commission on Economic Opportunity 

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People Helping People

History and Accomplishments

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CEO was incorporated in 1966 as a community action agency to alleviate poverty.  This multi-service nonprofit organization is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of three constituencies with equal representation: consumers, public sector, and private sector.  With its central office in the Heights neighborhood of Wilkes-Barre, CEO maintains site offices in Kingston, Hazleton and Tunkhannock.

Operating more than 70 programs with a staff of 145 full and part-time employees, CEO in 2023 served more than 77,000 individuals. CEO is a participating agency of the United Way of Wyoming Valley, United Way of Hazleton, and the Wyoming County United Fund.

Several notable organizations serving low-income residents of Northeast Pennsylvania originated in CEO, which often serves as an "incubator," spinning off programs when they reach a point of organizational readiness. These include Luzerne County Head Start, the Child Development Council of NEPA, Rural Health Corporation of NEPA, and Maternal and Family Services of NEPA.

CEO exemplifies a "third way" of doing business, with a board of directors and funding sources that are neither fully public nor exclusively private.  While its original mission has not changed, CEO's approach to the needs of low-income and vulnerable populations has evolved over time.  Recent changes in public policy have transformed the face of poverty from the "welfare dependent" to the "working poor."  Recognizing the growing rates of child poverty in our community, CEO has added child- and family-centered services while sustaining and expanding its support for the independence of the aged and disabled.  In addition to its highly regarded, multi-faceted response to basic human needs, CEO has become a recognized leader in energy conservation and environmental technologies that will lessen the effects of poverty in the future.  As the new century continues, CEO is engaging business and faith communities in striving for flexible, local solutions to the challenges of poverty in northeast Pennsylvania.

CEO views each involvement with a consumer as an opportunity to advance that individual's or family's movement toward stability, self-sufficiency and eventual non-reliance on public support.  The journey from crisis and dependency to stability and self-sufficiency may take months or years.

CEO - People Helping People