Operation Understanding DC

Rating: 4.98 stars   244 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Race, Economic Development

Location: 3000 Connecticut Avenue, NW Ste 335 Washington DC 20008 USA

Mission: Operation Understanding DC's mission is to build a generation of community leaders who will work to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, and to promote respect, understanding and cooperation within their communities.
Results: Thus far, more than 450 students and their families have directly participated in OUDC’s award-winning program, and, through their outreach efforts, over 50,000 students and adults have been engaged in fulfilling the organization’s overall goal: creating a society where all members have equal access to opportunity and freedom from discrimination.
Target demographics: Black and/or Jewish high school juniors in the Washington metropolitan area are encouraged to apply in the fall.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 24 students and their families
Geographic areas served: Washington, DC metropolitan area
Programs: our year-long, experiential learning program that transforms curious high school juniors and graduate into committed leaders for social justice. Throughout the year, they meet in board rooms and church basements around Washington for educational sessions and honest dialogue about slavery, the Holocaust, the Civil Rights movement, current national and international issues, religion and spirituality, and much more. In July, they travel from New York City to the Deep South to explore their histories and create their blueprints for future activism. Each day is filled with inspirational speakers, educational tours and life-changing experiences. Upon returning, OUDC’s students begin the real work of creating change. They give presentations about their experiences in synagogues and churches, facilitate workshops about stereotyping and discrimination for individuals from all age groups and find other creative ways of promoting respect and understanding.
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 52-1822488
202.234.6832
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

OUDC provided me with an experience I will never forget. I made some great friends and such memorable experiences as a result of the program. Our tour through the South was eye-opening, and made me want to create social change.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that it left with me with an memories that will last me my lifetime.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I have been privileged to witness firsthand the tremendous impact OUDC has had on my son and daughter, both alums. Each came away from the year-long OUDC experience with deep friendships among African-American and Jewish students, and a shared, profound understanding of what religious and racial tolerance and understanding really mean in daily life. I was also fortunate to serve on the Board, where I interacted regularly with the leadership of the program, as well as the students. OUDC lives its values every day by encouraging African-American and Jewish student leaders to take up the challenge of being thought and change leaders.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the extraordinary young people who have experienced the interacial, intereligious journey of OUDC and emerged as true leaders among their peers.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

share the OUDC experience with hundreds of young adults, helping build the next generation of tolerant, open-minded leaders.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

As a group dedicated to promoting cross-cultural understanding and combating racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of prejudice in American society, OUDC had a profound impact on my world view and my relationships with those around me. The program brings together African-American and Jewish students from the DC-VA-MD area for a year-long journey of understanding. While the group helped train me to actively promote cross-cultural exchange and combat prejudice, its impacts on the personal level were much more profound: I became aware of prejudiced stereotypes I did not know I harbored, realized the ways in which societal inequality impacts different peoples' life chances, and came to a deeper understanding of my own roots. These lessons I took away from OUDC will continue to shape my life.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the dramatic change it has ushered in on my own personal worldview.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand the number of students involved while maintaining an intimate group size; possibly expand the curriculum and participant base to include more minority groups.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

it gave me a chance to learn more about the world while also experiencing profound revelations about myself. And the fantastic people I met!!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, enthusiastic, and extremely knowledgeable while still quite easy to relate to.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand its operation to give more young people a chance to participate, advertise in a more pervasive way, and expand its current curriculum by adding new stops to its July trip.

Ways to make it better...

I could have been a participant for more than just one year. I simply could not get enough, and there is just so much to learn.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Budget and recruitment.

One thing I'd also say is that...

People I tell about my time in OUDC don't believe me as they have never heard of the group, but it's almost impossible to describe how wonderful of an organization it is!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

OUDC is an important, unique and well-run organization. My daughter is participating this year in the program along with about 30 other Jewish and African-American 11th/12th graders. Through the program they are learning a great deal about their heritage, the history of the relationship between the groups, the history of the civil rights movement, and, perhaps most important, themselves. The program imparts these lessons by choosing students with open minds and educating them through a combination of contacts with notables in civil rights, history and other relevant fields, including bi-weekly educational sessions throughout the year, cultural exchanges with members of the other group, and a summer journey through all the significant stops in the history of the civil rights struggle in the U.S. The students are exposed to people and experiences that they might otherwise not see. And they bring these experiences and lessons back to their communities through public speaking -- for which the program helps train them -- and other interactions. I can't speak highly enough about the mission of this organization, and their skill at satisying that mission. The group's facilitators are energetic and well-trained, and the choices of subject matters and venues are always spot-on. By helping raise a generation of enlightened and open-minded youth, they are making a real contribution to relations between the cultures, and help ensure that these participants will be a positive force for societal change.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the quality of instruction and experience provded to my daughter, as well as the quality of the students selected to participate.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

sharing with my daughter the important parts of civil rights history that she has learned.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

smart, energetic, open-minded, committed, challenging, and real role models.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

extend the experience to many many more student in the country -- beyond the 30 in this program -- who are open to its lessons and can share them with their communities.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

The difference that Operation Understanding DC made in my life is unimaginable. The people in this organization changed me from a person that thinks to a person that acts, and now I know I can make a difference in the world. The greatest experience of my life by far!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my peers. I have taken what I have learned and given it to my peers who now can share the information.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

allow more people to get involved. If only everyone in America could be part of Operation Understanding DC.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting people who care about the same things I care about. It helped me gain confidence in my beliefs and be the change.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

helpful, friendly, and most of all influential. They forced me to learn.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world and create a idea of fairness and peace.

Ways to make it better...

It was not so hot! Other then the heat everything was great.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money. If only there was more finances given to the organization then they could make even more of a difference.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Operation Understanding DC may not be all over the news or famous, but the difference it makes effects everyone from rich to poor.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

Operation Understanding of the District of Columbia (a/k/a OUDC) is an amazing program that brings together African-American and Jewish high school students for a year of inter-cultural education, travel, and discovery. Roughly 30 students from the D.C. metropolitan area learn together about Jewish and African-American culture, history, and religious traditions, and explore issues of identity, discrimination, and stereotypes, during a year of programs, lectures, and retreats. The students have just returned from a three-week summer journey in NYC and throughout the deep South, where they visited churches, synagogues, community centers, museums, and memorials, and met with local civic and religious leaders, as well as participants in and heroes of the civil rights movement. OUDC is a transformational experience for these students, who become inspired to join our nation's efforts to battle discrimination and foster greater respect and understanding in our communities.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own child's level of maturity and depth of understanding of her own cultural identity and history, and her appreciation of African-American history and culture.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get the word out about this fantastic program to more D.C. students - right now, most participants seem to be recruited through word-of-mouth.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

hearing the enthusiasm in my daughter's voice when she relates the stories of leaders and witnesses in this nation's struggle to achieve equality and civil rights for all citizens.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

phenomenal - the four group leaders are knowledgable, personable, patient, energetic, and highly dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

offer this wonderful opportunity to additional students in D.C., and perhaps expand to other geographical areas.

Ways to make it better...

I could have attended some of the amazing lectures and programs my child has experienced!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

raising sufficient funds to provide this fantastic experience at no cost to the fortunate participants.

One thing I'd also say is that...

the staff and student participants in this program inspire hope and confidence that the lessons of our past will be remembered as we work for a better future.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

Operation Understanding is a youth leadership and diversity program that includes intensive education about Jewish and African American history, a month-long bus trip to see history and current challenges close up, and an outreach portion. I did OUDC in high school, and learned about continuing civil rights struggles in this country. Now I am studying to be a civil rights attorney. My OUDC classmates are working on social justice issues we learned about all around the country. It was an amazing program.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The careers students have chosen after taking part.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Having great conversations about race and poverty and rights in America. And learning how to have those conversations with people who don't normally do so.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand to other cities, or have multiple classes in DC. It's important to keep the class small, so everyone gets to know one another, but there are so many people who could benefit!

Ways to make it better...

It was easier to network with other alums, and if I could help out from where I live now.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2002-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

OUDC provided me with an amazing year-long experience that helped me learn about and analyze important issues in our society. Not only did the program give me an understanding about race and its role in our nation, the program helped me look at broader issues of justice where activism and leadership is still needed.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my life and that of my peers.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

mainly keep things the way they are.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the summer journey we took to the American South.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

interested in and passionate about what they were doing.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

reach so many more individuals and make a profound change in their lives.

Ways to make it better...

there were more resources available for our summer journey.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

keeping the program relevant to changing racial dynamics in America.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

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