One of Only 12 Agencies to Ever Win this Best-in-Class Award
WASHINGTON, DC: The United Planning Organizationwas presented the Award for Excellence in Community Actionat the Community Action Partnership’s 2018 National Convention. The award’s peer-reviewed standards are modeled on the principles of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, which is designed to improve organizations’ competitiveness and performance.
In the 15-year history of the Award for Excellence,only 12 agencies (out of a possible 1200) have achieved this standard.
“UPO demonstrated excellence across the organization through solid management and engaged leadership. Dana Jones and his team now set the bar for community action,” said Denise Harlow, Chief Executive Officer of the National Community Action Partnership. “It takes focus and intention to achieve excellence, and we know the families in the nation’s capital truly have a beacon in times of struggle.”
“This third-party recognition confirms that UPO’s management practices align with the Baldridge Model of Continuous Improvement,” said Dana M. Jones, President and CEO of UPO. “We have achieved standards that far exceed the industry’s expectations and we continue to advance our efficiencies and effectiveness. Excellence is an evolving target and UPO is a vibrant organization, striving to improve daily.”
UPO is a leader in the anti-poverty field and is one of the original Community Action Agencies (CAAs). In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the EconomicOpportunityAct, which designated one CAA in each of 1,000+ communities to help low-income residents become self-sufficient; UPO was chosen to serve the District of Columbia.
Leading by example
Each award nominee goes through a thorough, rigorous process: CAAs must prove agency-wide excellence in their responsiveness to the needs of low-income customers and their communities. CAAs undergo a comprehensive organizational self-study, a peer expert review, and an on-site verification.
The team of peer experts found many UPO practices that it considered best in class, including:
- The especially robust performance management system, with strategic plan goals and program-level data that are reviewed quarterly and used routinely to improve performance across the agency
- The advocacy policy and process, including the in-house advocacy training curriculum and extensive advocacy work that UPO conducts on behalf of its community
“UPO is positioned for the future and has the systems and practices needed to achieve world-class performance,” said Mr. Jones.
Over the next 3 years, UPO’s initiatives include:
- Creating new affordable housing
- Supporting returning citizens by combining job training and placement, mental health services, and mentoring
- Conducting research on support to returning citizens and its impact on recidivism and re-entry into society
UPO’s mission is to Unite People with Opportunities so they can help themselves and their communities thrive. It is a human and community development organization that has become an anti-poverty powerhouse serving 52,000+ residents annually on a $31 million budget. Among its programs:
- Early Education
- Youth Services, including College Scholarships
- Job Training and Placement
- Community Needs Assessment
- Housing Counseling
- Community Health
- Advocacy and Volunteerism
- Foster Grandparents
- Family Strengthening