United Planning Organization (UPO)

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.

OUR VISION: UPO’s Washington: A city of thriving communities and self-sufficient residents.

OUR MISSION: Uniting People with Opportunities

OUR PROMISE: Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

As we have entered into our 50th year, we continue to gain strength and determination to reduce poverty, empower families and build stronger communities. Together, in 2012 we:

  • Placed over 700 individuals in FT & PT jobs
  • Provided over 1,100 youth with educational and empowerment opportunities
  • Raised over $600,000 in college scholarships investing in the futures of nearly 150 low-income, DC students
  • Educated nearly 2,000 children in our early childhood education centers
  • Provided free tax preparation to over 500 clients resulting in a total refund amount of $1,085,287
  • Provided over 700 individuals with nutrition education and counseling
  • Weatherized over 1,000 residential units providing energy savings approximately $400 a year
  • Received over 180,000 volunteer community service hours
  • Increased housing stability for nearly 700 households
  • Provided emergency tranportation and outreach services to nearly 6,000 homesless persons

2013 Income Eligibility Guidelines

UPO operates under a variety of government and private funding sources. The primary grant is the Federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), administered through the District of Columbia Department of Human Services. Our CSBG grant provides resources to reduce poverty, revitalize low-income communities and to empower low-income families to become self-sufficient. All UPO CSBG funded programs are required to verify the income eligibility and DC residency of all customers served. Staff must document that persons served have a household income that is does not exceed 125% of the applicable federal poverty level for the current fiscal year and also that the customer is a resident of Washington, DC. The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 2013 poverty levels are below. Customers should note that the information collected during any intake process is solely for determining whether your household is eligible for this program and kept confidential by UPO and/or its service providers.

UPO Inspire Foundation

Based in Washington, DC, the UPO Inspire Foundation is a tax-exempt corporation organized for the purpose of supporting and enhancing the work of the United Planning Organization (UPO) on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia. The UPO Inspire Foundation will create strong communities and endless opportunities for individuals to excel.

Vision: A UPO financially and programmatically equipped to support all Washington, DC residents in realizing self-sufficiency.

Mission: UPO Inspire Foundation exists to provide financial support to United Planning Organization in fulfilling its mission of “Uniting People with Opportunities”.

The UPO Inspire Foundation’s efforts are aligned with the highest organizational priorities to provide the following:

  • Training and workforce development programs that prepare DC residents for the region’s high-demand jobs.
  • Scholarships and educational services that maximize access for a broad range of students and parents with diverse needs.
  • Contribute to the health and well-being of DC residents through family strengthening, educational and volunteer programming.

The UPO Inspire Foundation is looking for engaged, committed board members. Please contact Gladys Mack at upoinspirefoundation@gmail.com to become involved and to support the Foundation as we support UPO in its impact on the lives of over 89,900 Washington, DC residents.

UPO Inspire Foundation Members

  • John Oberdorfer Esq., Chair
  • Gladys Mack, Secretary

UPO Community Development Corporation

Community action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

The mission of the UPO Community Development Center is to establish housing for low to moderate income families and to promote job creation through economic development. Our ultimate vision is to create thriving communities and self-sufficient residents.

Consumer Services

UPO Community Development Corporation prides itself in providing administrative management services to nonprofit organizations serving low income residents in targeted economically distressed communities, neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty or designated as distressed or deprived by state and/or Federal governments. Currently, we offer the following services:

  • HR Management
  • Payroll/Accounting
  • Administrative/Contractual Services

Housing Development

UPO Community Development Corporation seeks to improve low income communities and neighborhoods through related development activities that will increase residents’ access to housing or home ownership.

Small Business

It is our mission to promote job creation through economic development. We do so by providing Washington, DC small businesses with the following services:

Economic Enterprise

UPO Community Development Corporation understands that it’s difficult to have the funds to do business. Through our economic programs, UPO Community Development Corporation will make loans to individuals and organizations that create low to moderate income housing and/or business development opportunities and employment for low income individuals.


Under Economic Enterprise, UPO Community Development Corporation offers eligible individuals and/or businesses with start-up capital. Please contact us to verify eligibility.

Business Expansion

UPO Community Development Corporation, in alignment with its economic enterprise goal, assists eligible small businesses and/or individuals in obtaining financial assistance for business expansion. UPO CDC will also offer assistance to eligible businesses that seek to implement business development projects that create or upgrade job wages for low income persons within a targeted area or community. UPO CDC is always seeking to identify eligible community-based businesses that are in need of implementing financing activities and/or projects.

Loan Products

Eligible individuals and businesses can obtain assistance with start up and business expansion capital under our current loan products:Micro- Loan FundRevolving Loan Program


UPO CDC partners with other organizations to expand the range of products and services we offer to small businesses and residents of Washington, DC. Our current partners include:

For more information, please visit upocdc.org.