LKLP was formed from the four single-county development associations. The temporary name during the planning phase was The Upper Kentucky River Development Association. These development associations had done surveys on the positive things that were available for citizens in the respective counties. Needs assessments were also done to determine the needs of the counties and searches were begun to find resources, programs and funding to meet the needs of the counties and their citizens.
One of the things available was planning grants which the individual counties had already received grants for from the Office of the President of the United States called Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). This was a part of "The War on Poverty" declared by President Johnson.
The four County Councils that merged into LKLP were:
Chairman, Letcher EOC
Letcher County CAC
Letcher County was one of the first in Kentucky to receive its CAP Planning Development Grant. It was signed March 7, 1965 in the amount of $22,818. During the summer a $10,799 Head Start grant went to the Jenkins Independent School System and $64,805 to the Letcher County Board of Education.
In Fiscal Year 1966, the following components were funded to Letcher County:
Blackey Community Center: $45,023
Rural Child Care: $75,835
The 1965-66 total for Letcher County was $494,499. The funds were used to setup a staff, to examine poverty problems and to develop a coordinated community action program. Ike Caudill was the first director followed by Otis Amburgey.
Leslie County CAC
Leslie County received a Federal Grant in the amount of $14,048 to develop its own war against poverty. The funds went to the Leslie County Development Corporation. The corporation planned to define poverty programs and poverty areas and to draft a comprehensive community action program E.T. Ehresman was the Chairman of the Board at the time of funding.
The Leslie County Ministerial Association sparked a movement in 1961 which resulted in the organization of the Leslie County Development Association.
The purpose was to encourage and promote development and preservation of natural resources in Leslie County; to encourage the location of new industry and upgrade and expand industry already existing; to promote health, education and welfare; to stimulate in the people a greater sense of civic consciousness and pride; to encourage them to take a much larger part in the affairs of the county.
Knott County CAC
Knott County started its "War on Poverty" with an $18,288 planning grant. The Knott County Development Association was the recipient of the grant. The private non-profit organization was established in 1961and incorporated in March 1965. Its first Director was Frances Corbeau. His approach in working with people in Knott County in power was not diplomatic, which made it difficult for him to be successful. During his tenure, he did establish a Knott County Housing Development Corporation and did receive funding that began the housing project off Highway 160 near Hindman. The Knott County Development Association is still active and owns Pioneer Village at Red Fox, Kentucky.
The June Buchanan Clinic, which is part of the ARH system, was leased to ARH and many other projects were initiated by the Knott County Development Association.
Perry County CAC
The Citizens Action Council was established to be a forum for discussion and debate in the many organized neighborhoods in Perry County. The committee was to be composed of elected representatives from each organized community that was committed to eliminating poverty.
The council considered itself the voice of the poor in Perry County and was to act independently of the Perry County Community Action Council.
Robert Rader, who later became Deputy and then Executive Director of LKLP, was Chairman of the Perry County Community Action Council. The employed Executive Director was Kenneth St. Clair. He had difficulty getting along with the council so he was a short term director and was already gone when the LKLP was established.