About Us

Step Up Suncoast, formerly known as Manatee Community Action Agency, Inc. and Manatee Opportunity Council, Inc., was incorporated in 1968 as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to Florida law and was designated by the Governor as the community action agency for its service area.

Step Up Suncoast received its first grant of $90,000 in 1965 and was administered by Suncoast Progress of St. Petersburg, Florida. This relationship was maintained until the incorporation of the Agency in 1968.

Since its beginning in 1968, Step Up Suncoast has grown from a summer project of serving 510 children with 34 staff members and a $90,000 budget to over 11,000 services annually, 250 staff members and an annual budget of $18,000,000.

What is a Community Action Agency?

Nationally, Community Action Agencies were initiated as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and approved by Congress in the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. CAAs are intended to focus on self-sufficiency within the low-income population. Today, over 1,000 CAAs exist across the country providing preschool programs, utility assistance, job training, and other community initiatives.

Check out our history video:

Step Up Suncoast is pleased to present the 2022 Community Needs Assessment Report centered on gathering information from and about the communities of Manatee, Hardee, DeSoto, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties in Florida.