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Celebrate United Planning Organization's 50th year Anniversary!

The United Planning Organization, the designated community action agency for Washington, DC, was established December 10, 1962 to plan, coordinate, and implement human services programs for low-income residents in the Nation's Capital. For over 50 years, UPO has been in the forefront of the war on poverty. As the catalyst for economic security and growth for all Washington, DC residents, UPO has laid the groundwork for innovative social service programs such as weatherization and energy conservation services, Head Start, workforce development training and youth development.

Today, UPO continues to provide residents with comprehensive resources for early childhood education; youth development; employment and training; family and community services; case management and referrals to other supportive services.

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2012

UPO enters its golden anniversary, 50 years of dedicated service to the residents of the District of Columbia.

2011

UPO celebrates 49 years of uniting people with opportunities. We served over 89,965 low-income residents with programs and services designed to help individuals thrive and reach levels of self-sufficiency. We received designation from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) as a licensed provider. Our state-of the art Environmental and Construction Trades Training Academy received approval as a Building Performance Industry (BPI) Testing Center.

2010

UPO enters its 48th year with a spectacular 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast featuring Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. UPO's Greenscape Landscaping program is in full gear helping to "green" Washington, DC. UPO graduates new class of Phlebotomy students under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The agency's Green Technology Division prepares to help kick-off DC's Earth Day celebration. UPO's Early Learning Network recruits new enrollees as agency takes over new early child care and education sites throughout the District of Columbia. Program helping to foster new community leaders in full operation. UPO launches DC Ward-6 operation in the James Creek neighborhood of southwest Washington, DC. Youth Division moves to its own site in DC's Ward 7. UPO's Foreclosure Prevention program assists DC customers and holding workshops for potential homeowners. UPO becomes a certified housing counseling agency. Comprehensive Treatment Program prepares to relocate to spacious new facility. UPO again prepares and e-files taxes for qualified DC residents.

2009

UPO enters its 47th year. Congressman John Lewis keynotes the 25th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Agency launches the POWER youth program. UPO launches the Kids2College activity. UPO awards five students scholarships totaling $10,000 each under the Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship Fund. UPO awarded funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 designating "Green Employment" as a major focus. UPO launches Environmental and Construction Trades Training Academy. UPO creates the Employment and Career Development Division. Agency renames the Office of Preschool and Day Care to the Early Learning Network. Stimulus funding provides employment opportunities to many Washingtonians following UPO sponsored Job Fair.

2008

UPO enters 46th year of service to DC neighborhoods. National radio talk radio personality Joe Madison keynotes the 24th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Agency launches a Transitional Employment Program. Five students awarded scholarships totaling $10,000 each under the Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship Fund. An additional three students receive laptop computers for use in their studies.

2007

UPO enters 45th year of service to DC neighborhoods. The first ever UPO Hall of Fame is launched as Patricia G. Shannon, Carol Randolph, George E. Holland, James, G. Banks, and Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene are inducted during 23rd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where Dr. Jeremiah Wright served as keynote speaker before 900 in attendance. During annual meeting, Stanley J. Mayes, Esq. elected Chair, Board of Directors; Keenan R. Keller, Esq. elected Vice Chair; Sherry Hobbs Newman elected Treasurer; and Maria T. Wilson, elected Secretary.

2006

UPO enters 44th year of service. More than 1,000 attend agency's 22nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC is keynote speaker. UPO reorganization streamlines agency as new positions, more appropriate for 2006 community issues, are created.

2005

UPO enters 43rd year of service. More than 1,000 attend agency's historic 21st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where Dr. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Professor of Law at Harvard University is keynote speaker. Staff move into new 18,000 sq. ft. UPO/Petey Greene Community Service Center. Ms. F. Alexis H. Roberson elected Chair, UPO Board of Directors. Mr. Dana M. Jones named permanent UPO CEO having previously served in an acting capacity. UPO institutes neighborhood elections to seat Board members who will represent the city's low income community. Newly elected Board members subsequently installed and attend their first meeting/training session. UPO launches Income Tax Workshops and Resolution center in partnership with federal Internal Revenue Service's Low Income Tax Advocate Program. Geriatric Day Care Program serving seniors living in DC's ward's 6, 7, and 8, kicks-off. UPO launches new Family Strengthening Program in the city's Ward 8 neighborhood. UPO Board of Directors formally approves new agency logo and corporate identity, the first such revision in 30 years.

2004

UPO begins 41st year of service and launches Fatherhood Initiative aimed at helping young fathers become responsible parents. More than 1,250 attend agency's historic 20th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where Dr. Johnnetta B. Coles, president, Bennett College serves as keynote speaker. New UPO Anacostia Community Service Center completed. Mr. Dana M. Jones named Interim Executive Director (now Interim Chief Executive Officer). Honorable Annice M. Wagner named Interim Board President (now Chair).UPO governing Board reorganizes agency. Top positions now CEO and COO. Board calls itself "Board of Directors." UPO launches EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) centers at Anacostia Center and H Street, NE locations.

2003

More than 1,250 attend agency's 19th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where Gwendolyn E. Boyd, national president, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, served as keynote speaker. UPO enhances customer services establishing a committee to make certain all UPO customers receive excellent agency services. Progressive Partners Program starts up to assist minorities, women and disadvantaged DC residents. They are trained to gain access to employment in the highway construction trade.

2002

UPO ENTERS ITS 40th YEAR OF SERVICE when it sponsors the 18th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast that once again attracts nearly 1,200 attendees. Noted Pastor Rev. Lewis M. Anthony serves as keynote speaker. Agency finally "closes" on new headquarters; construction of new Anacostia Center begins; and it is anticipated that the Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Community Service Center will soon be acquired, and renovated. The "move" is on as UPO staff joyfully complete relocation tasks thanks to staff volunteers who help the agency ease into its sparkling new headquarters...the first actually owned by the agency. UPO begins operation of local Foster Grandparents program and receives grant from DC Energy Office to operate DC REACH. UPO opens Early Childhood Development Center # 9 near the famous Union Station just blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building.

2001

UPO enters the new millennium with another bang when a record 1,125 agency supporters attend the 17th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where Rev. Alvin O. Jackson brings them to their feet with his moving words. The agency awards record number of scholarships under its yearly UPO/Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship Fund which is endowed by the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. UPO continues working toward obtaining a tax exempt bond in order to acquire, renovate and build three facilities locates in Anacostia, Congress Heights and LeDroit Park. UPO and CWA Local 2336 complete negotiations and sign a three year collective bargaining contract. UPO receives additional grant for child care activities expressly for infants and toddlers. A Living Legend Recognition Award is established as veteran employee Walter C. Murray becomes the first recipient during a testimonial luncheon. Agency creates Competitive Grants program in order to better serve the many special projects that fall under the CSBG umbrage. UPO and partners finalize issuance of bond to finance new headquarters site at 301 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC. Totally renovated, the building is a milestone in UPO history. Financing is achieved using tax Free Enterprise Zone bond financing. Also include is new Anacostia Community Service Center (located in the Anacostia neighborhood) and Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Community Service Center (located in Congress Heights community).

2000

UPO enters the new millennium with a bang when it holds an Open House at its Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Community Service Center which settles in to a spacious new facility. Randall Robinson, head of the internationally acclaimed TransAfrica, serves as keynote speaker at UPO's 16th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where more than 1000 attend. UPO sponsors a "DC Poverty Summit" that brings together hundreds of national and local experts to discuss ideas and learn new trends. UPO serves as a co-host for the April Head Start Conference in partnership with the National Head Start Association.

1999

Ms. Barbara Skinner, widow of Rev. Thomas Skinner (UPO's first Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast keynote speaker), keynotes the agency's 15th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. UPO celebrates DC Veterans of the War on Poverty with citywide event. More than 600 UPO Youth Programs participants celebrated and receive citywide recognition. The agency's Head Start program receives its largest grant ever from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. UPO holds groundbreaking for its Anacostia Community Services Center. The new 7,100 square foot building will be completed in a year. UPO celebrates its 37th birthday on December 10.

1998

Noted attorney Bryan A. Stevenson serves as keynote speaker to UPO's 14th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. UPO funds additional five community-based special emphasis organizations. Agency continues its TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program assisting new customers to move from dependency to self-sufficiency.

1997

Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr. serves as keynote speaker to UPO's 13th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor and the D.C. Department of Employment Services, UPO launches the Quantum Opportunity Partnership (QOP) activity, a drop-out prevention program that targets selected students at Anacostia and Eastern High Schools. UPO sponsors 3rd Annual Run/Walk for Head Start. Agency awards funds to five organizations located mainly in the Latino community. Community Transition Project for youth offenders is renewed. UPO begins Medicaid Managed Care project to help transition D.C. Medicaid recipients into managed care (HMOs).

1996

Rev. Jesse Jackson is keynote speaker to UPO's 12th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast where more than 900 attend the nationally televised event despite inclement weather. UPO kick-offs an expanded Hypothermia program specifically aimed toward the family. A "HOME" program is launched targeting 138 families and children providing them with case management -social services, and ultimately placing them into non-subsidized housing and obtain jobs. UPO co-sponsors, with the D.C. Agenda, the Washington, D.C. Dialogue on Poverty, with results presented at the national conference of the National Association of Community Action Agencies.

1995

Elaine Jones, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is keynote speaker at agency's 11th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. UPO hosts 1995 National Head Start Conference in April and co-sponsors First Annual Run-Walk for Head Start. A self help program in the city's Langston Terrace neighborhood is launched. UPO relocates its headquarters to 941 North Capitol Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. saving the agency more than $100,000 in annual lease rates.

1994

Children's Defense Fund head Marion Wright Edelman challenges audience to focus more on children during her keynote address at UPO's 10th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly signs agreement with UPO creating the citywide Youth Programs to provide low-income youth with employment and education activities in their neighborhoods. UPO plays major role in local grassroots preservation movement participating in a Thematic Study of African American Architects, Builders, and Developers. First two UPO/Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship winners graduate from the University of the District of Columbia as Veronica Laney receives a B.B.A. in Accounting and Agustin Chicas receives a B.S. in Biology. UPO automates client information system utilizing a Local Area Network to link delegate agencies and special programs providing services. UPO Executive Director Benjamin Jennings is elected 2nd Vice President of the National Association of Community Action Agencies during national conference in New Orleans. D.C. City Council Chairman Dave Clarke honors UPO employees who have served 25 or more years with agency.

1993

UPO enters its 31st year. Mr. Russell Simmons is elected president of the UPO Board of Trustees succeeding Dr. Thornell K. Page who served 12 years. Former D.C. Budget Director Gladys Mack is appointed UPO deputy executive director. UPO funds Bright Beginnings to provide Head Start services to homeless children. A new Head Start center is created through funding from ADASA to accommodate children of parents in the city's drug and alcohol treatment program. UPO Crisis Response Center renamed Community Resource Program to better reflect the program's mission. The component has collected and distributed more than one million pounds of food since its creation in 1983. UPO launches Hypothermia Hotline, a citywide emergency transportation service to assist homeless individuals. DHHS awards UPO a demonstration grant to assist 60 minority males with families to achieve self-sufficiency.

1992

UPO launches Project REACH OUT, a program to provide nutrition education and expand federal food program participation in Ward 8. The homeless assistance program receives grants to expand its case management program for families living in shelters and facilitate their move into permanent housing. East Capitol Dwellings public housing complex is the site of a new UPO Head Start center.

1991

The federal office of Substance Abuse Prevention awards a $1.5 million five-year grant to UPO to provide substance abuse prevention education to preschoolers and their parents in Columbia Heights. UPO opens a day care center in the Edgewood Terrace housing project and, under contract with the D.C. Department of Human Services, opens an employer-provided day care center for children of city government employees. The UPO Anacostia Neighborhood Center opens in an area formerly served by Southeast House. UPO employees elect the Communications Workers of America as their collective bargaining agent.

1990

UPO initiates Project HOME, a program involving the discounted purchase and rehabilitation of federally owned single-family dwellings for resale to low- and moderate-income purchasers. The agency opens a Head Start center in the Lincoln Heights public housing complex and funds the Rosemount Day Care Center, which serves a multicultural population.

1989

The Edward C. Mazique Parent and Child Center, a UPO delegate, receives one of 22 federal grants awarded under the recently enacted Comprehensive Child Development Act. UPO launches a multi-generational case management demonstration project designed to serve 120 families. Marshall Heights Community Development Organization becomes UPO's newest delegate agency.

1988

UPO conducts a historic preservation-community education program in Anacostia, initiates a Life Management Training project for residents of D.C. homeless shelters, and petitions the D.C. Public Service Commission to require Washington Gas Light Company to improve its services to low-income customers. UPO opens a neighborhood development center in the city's far eastern section, an area formerly served by Far East Community Services. Benjamin Jennings becomes UPO's sixth executive director.

1987

Executive Director Ernest Pete Ward resigns - James W. Cartee serves as acting executive director. UPO joins several churches and community organizations in forming the Fuller/Church/Community Consortium to provide coordinated services to poor residents of Northeast D.C.

1986

UPO opens its cafeteria, the Potomac Court Cafe, to the public. The agency inaugurates a four-year teen pregnancy prevention education project that reaches more than 10,000 city youngsters.

1985

UPO holds its first Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Response is so favorable, it becomes an annual event with proceeds supporting the UPO/Joseph A. Beavers Scholarship Program. The agency launches the Summer Youth Employment Program, providing work experience for 200 D.C. high school students, and publishes a Spanish language guide to emergency services in the District.

1983

UPO launches a bank teller training program, in cooperation with a consortium of D.C. banks, credit unions, and savings institutions. A rental/mortgage assistance program is also established. Pathways to Self-Sufficiency program inaugurated to help parents of Head Start children obtain a GED if they have no high school diploma and obtain jobs.

1982

James Cartee, head of UPO's Office of Administration and Management becomes acting executive director. Washington Elderly Handicapped Transportation System (WEHTS) is launched in cooperation with D.C. Office on Aging. Mayor Marion Barry, Jr., continues UPO's role as operator of CSBG programs. On October 1, Ernest Pete Ward, executive director of Friendship House since 1970, becomes UPO's fifth executive director.

1981

UPO rehabilitates five boarded-up city-owned homes for sale to qualifying low-income families. Community Services Administration dies September 30 and is replaced with Community Services Block Grant funds through federal department of HHS. William L. Davis resigns as executive director and is replaced on an acting basis by Frank H. Hollis. Dr. Thornell K. Page is elected board president, succeeding Delano Lewis. A loss of 125 staff members through a reduction in force is the result of budget cuts.

1980

UPO's Energy Conservation Assistance Program has weatherized 1,600 dwellings owned by low-income D.C. residents since its modest beginnings five years earlier.

1979

Establishment of UPO Community Food and Nutrition Program leads to development of Capital Area Community Food Bank and D.C. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program. First Lady Rosalynn Carter helps inaugurate Cities in Schools project. Delano Lewis succeeds Walter B. Lewis as board president.

1978

CSA Director Gracia Olivarez tours UPO facilities and presents Mayor Washington a $500,000 minority youth employment grant to be administered by UPO. Agency forms partnership with Department of the Army to provide work experience to disadvantaged youth.

1976

UPO Enterprises, Inc., is formed as a subsidiary to develop and operate area's first Bonanza Sirloin Pit restaurant. UPO sponsors a Foster Grandparent program.

1975

Dr. Walter B. Lewis is elected president of the Board of Trustees as CEO is transformed into the Community Services Administration (CSA). UPO launches weekend meals program for senior citizens, delivery of meals to the home bound, and emergency shelter program and home weatherization for the low-income elderly. Fairfax County, Virginia opts out of the UPO network to become its own community action agency.

1973

The Rev. H. Albion Ferrell is elected board president. President Nixon names Howard Phillips OEO director and orders him to shut down poverty agencies and choke off community action. A lawsuit forestalls the action; U.S. District Court Judge William Jones rules Phillips' action "in excess of any statutory authority." Passage of Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) divests UPO of manpower programs' sponsorship, costing agency $10 million in grants funds. Jeanus Parks resigns as executive director and is succeeded by William L. Davis, UPO's General Counsel.

1972

UPO opens its first Early Childhood Development Center, a model daycare facility for the city. Frederick Lee is succeeded by the Hon. John D. Fauntleroy, judge of the D.C. Superior Court, who completes Lee's term of office.

1971

Economic development thrust begins with formation of $225,000 Brookland Fund. Operating with grants from fund, Brookland Enterprises, Inc., a corporation of minority businessmen, takes over management of a large Anacostia apartment complex and develops the Georgia Aspen Motel and a Maine Avenue waterfront restaurant building.

1969

District of Columbia Mayor Walter Washington redesignates UPO as the city's community action agency. CHANGE Neighborhood Health Center is funded, along with two Martin Luther King Food Cooperatives. Anti-fraud consumer protection program is launched to protect the poor. Wiley Branton resigns and is replaced as executive director by Jeanus Parks, executive director of Neighborhood Legal Services. Anti-CAP drive by Nixon Administration begins, leading to $1 million cut in UPO's summer youth funds. Protests and demonstrations result in fund restoration.

1968

Turmoil following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. embroils UPO. Demonstrators briefly take over Branton's office. Agency tackles huge problem of finding food, shelter and jobs for members of its client population burned out during riots.

1967

James Banks resigns as executive director and is replaced by Wiley Branton, executive secretary of the President's Council on Equal Opportunity. UPO is one of 21 community action agencies nationwide chosen to operate new federal Concentrated Employment Program (CEP).

1965

Manpower programs begin making their appearance with on-the-job training. The Housing Development Corporation is established. Over a decade it develops or rehabilitates 1,375 homes for low-income families. UPO sends its first recruits to the Camp Kilmer Job Corps Center in New Jersey.

1964

UPO is designated area's community action agency following passage of Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. In its first year as a CAP agency, UPO uses $15.8 million in grants to establish eight neighborhood development centers, inaugurate a Neighborhood Youth Corps, fund a Model School System, inaugurate a pilot Head Start program, and launch the community credit union movement with founding loans to three credit unions. The agency establishes Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and a Small Business Development Center.

1962

United Planning Organization (UPO) is incorporated on December 10, 1962, to coordinate planning of human service needs and facilities in the national capital area. Ford Foundation and Meyer Foundation grants support long-range programs. Frederick B. Lee chairs Board of Trustees. James G. Banks appointed executive director.











        
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