How UPO Changes Lives

UPO got Michael Hood-Bey his job

UPO tears down barriers to help DC residents build themselves up. By Uniting People with Opportunities, we help them rise out of poverty and become self-sufficient. We empower people to turn their lives around and reach their full potential, which changes whole families for generations.

We’re hands-on every day, improving equity across the District.

• We run the city’s largest Early Head Start program, with elders who mentor the children.
• We prepare youth for college and careers.
• We help people manage their money so they can build wealth and keep their homes. And we help to build new affordable housing.
• We help people amplify their voices to change the system.
• We protect our neighbors’ health, even if they’re on the streets.
• Our job training and placement opens doors to the first job security our students have ever had. And we’re never “done” with them. They become part of the UPO Family for life.

• After 40 years in prison, Michael Hood-Bey was determined to succeed. UPO placed him in a job at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He was promoted to Lead Supervisor 6 months later and hopes to complete his career there. He said, “I am a Returning Citizen after serving 40 years. I went from being a boy to becoming a man. I always heard, ‘You are going to become another statistic!’ but I believed and trusted that God would deliver me. I learned that the key to any success is focus and determination. I had both and my mentors saw this. I give my deepest gratitude to them, especially to Mr. John Eldridge of UPO! This brother said he would help me get a job and he did!”

• As the District’s largest Early Head Start provider, we know that the cornerstone of success is building relationships with parent and child. That is where growth happens! Our teachers model empathy, helping children to develop their social and emotional skills — the building blocks of learning. If you visit a classroom, in 15 minutes, you will see the impact that this philosophy makes on our students. Early Childhood Education is not simply a job. Teaching young children requires tremendous skill but it is our staff’s passion for families that drives success. And we train new, dynamic Childhood Development Associates who bring this level of devotion.

• As children grow, UPO’s Youth Services programs help students develop critical thinking skills, resilience, and STEM expertise. For grades 7-12, we have a 6-year college and career readiness program in Ward 8 that focuses on academic support and life skills training. And our Beavers Scholarship makes college dreams come true for outstanding students from low-income families. The overwhelming majority of these scholars are the first in their families to attend college.

UPO’s effectiveness is the reason that our nonprofit earned the Award for Excellence in Community Action. In this century, only 12 organizations across the country have received this honor from the National Community Action Partnership.

Our vision is a city of thriving communities and self-sufficient residents. Please join us in achieving that vision.

Your support will change lives.

Charity Name
United Planning Organization
Photo Caption
After 40 years in prison, he was determined to succeed. UPO helped him launch his career.
Photo Credit