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Standards
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CSBG Organizational Standards

Tennessee’s Community Action Agencies follow the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Organizational Standards.  These standards help to ensure the capacity of agencies to provide high-quality services to low-income families and communities.

History of Organizational Standards

In 2012, the Federal Office of Community Services provided funding to establish the CSBG Organizational Standards Center of Excellence (COE).  The COE was charged with developing a set of Organizational Standards that working together characterized effective and healthy CSBG Eligible Entities.  The Community Action Partnership reviewed this funding and engaged an existing CSBG Workgroup and the breadth of the CSBG Network including Community Action Agencies, CSBG State Lead Agencies/Offices, Community Action State Associations, National CSBG Partners (CAPLAW, NASCSP, NCAF), content experts, and others to develop a comprehensive set of CSBG Organizational Standards.


The initial efforts included an intensive 9-month process of listening sessions, literature reviews, surveys, and field testing that resulted in a draft of the CSBG Organizational Standards being provided to OCS in July 2013.  In March 2014, OCS published a draft information memorandum (IM) including proposed Organizational Standards, providing potential implementation recommendations and seeking additional input from the Network.  In January 2015, OCS released IM138, State Establishment of Organizational Standards for CSBG Eligible Entities under 678B of the CSBG Act, 42 U.S.C. §9914.


Tennessee adopted the recommended CSBG Organizational Standards, which reflect the requirements of the CSBG Act, good management practices, and the values of Community Action.

Organizational Standards

The COE-developed standards are organized in three thematic groups comprising nine categories and totals of 58 standards for private, nonprofit eligible entities and 50 for public entities.

1. Maximum Feasible Participation
    • Consumer Input and Involvement
    • Community Engagement
    • Community Assessment

2. Vision and Direction
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Board Governance
    • Strategic Leadership

3. Operations and Accountability
    • Human Resource Management
    • Financial Operations and Oversight
    • Data and Analysis

The Tennessee Department of Human Services and the Tennessee Association of Community Action work as a team to advance CSBG Organizational Standards among local agencies through on-going training and technical assistance.  The Federal Office of Community Services has provided funding for this effort, which is a part of an enhanced system for accountability and performance management.