In 1965, the Reverend Jordon C. Harris was attending a North Carolina NAACP State Convention in Winston-Salem. At the convention, Mr. Bailey, a representative from the National Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), explained the Anti-Poverty Program and its functions. During the question and answer period, Reverend Harris asked why no one had been to the Statesville-Iredell County area to set up an anti-poverty program for our low-income citizens. Mr. Bailey’s reply was both shocking and disturbing as he explained that OEO had sent representatives to our city and county only to be told that poverty in our area was non-existent.

Reverend Harris returned home determined to establish an anti-poverty program for Iredell County low-income residents. He compiled statistical data, made local contacts, and held meetings. One of those meetings was attended by Mrs. Louise Wilson, Executive Director of the Experiment in Self-Reliance of Winston-Salem, N. C. She met with Rev. Harris, Mr. G. L. Wilson, Rev. Wilson Lee, Mr. Andy Barker, and Mrs. Louise Doyle and provided technical assistance and encouragement to submit a funding proposal to OEO. Later, at the home of Mr. Andy Barker, Rev. Harris and Mr. Barker created the agency name, Iredell Community Action Research and Evaluation, Inc., and the acronym I-CARE, Inc.

When all the planning and homework was completed, Rev. Harris, Mr. Barker, and Mr. G. L. Wilson boarded an airplane bound for Washington, D. C. where they met with representatives from OEO. At that meeting, the funding proposal was discussed and submitted. In December 1965, I-CARE, Inc. was approved by the Office of Economic Opportunity as a non-profit corporation designated to provide assistance for low-income Iredell County residents.