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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Civil Rights, Community & Neighborhood Development, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Economic Development, Intergroup & Race Relations, Race, Youth Community Service Clubs

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.

Community Stories

94 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Fgb B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A Great organization with focused opportunities for Young Leaders. Every Young Adult should have the OUDc experience. I'm glad to be apart of this wonderful experience!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Eye-opening, life changing, dynamic : Just a few words to describe my OUDC experience. Before joining Class 18, I considered myself pretty open minded and knowledgeable about Jewish and Black culture. But as I discovered through workshops, conversations, and research, I was more than ignorant. This program has opened my eyes to subjects and issues I would have never had a view on without OUDC. I am proud to say that I have talked to civil rights leaders in the Black and Jewish communities. Thank you OUDC for educating me in my own culture and opening my eyes to the world around me, you have not only given me an irreplaceable experience but also beautiful friendships from both cultures.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Understand DC is the best organization that I could have ever got involved in. Their focus on educating the youth about history, activism, and the culture of others helps in the overall goal to build strong community leaders. As a participant in the program I have learned more about myself through the history programs, the verity of speakers presented, and my classmates. This year long opportunity is one of a life time! I encourage everyone, who has the chance to be apart of this program, to participate.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is a member of OUDC's current class, and I have witnessed first-hand how the OUDC experience has transformed her. Through the weekend-long retreats, the Sunday afternoon seminars and the summer journey, she has learned so much about her own history and culture (Jewish) and the history and culture of the African American community and the civil rights movement. She has acquired close friendships she might not otherwise have had. When she returned from the summer journey through New York City and the South, meeting with social justice activists, religious leaders and leaders of the civil rights movement, she decided to pursue social justice programs in college, and our college search is now focused on schools that offer such programs. OUDC's leadership is outstanding. They are experts at expanding the horizons of the students, their families and the communities in which they live.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Transformative. Enlightening. Empowering. Those are a few words our high school students used to describe the “Stereotype” workshop facilitated by OUDC students last year. Our program counselors and staff could not stop talking about the visible difference we saw in our students after the workshop. There was a heightened sense of self-awareness and consciousness that was not there before. Thank you OUDC for empowering our students.

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the best experiences of my life. OUDC transformed not only the way I percieve and interact with others but the way I see myself and my role in society.

Client Served

Rating: 5

OUDC has been such an important part of my life and continues to impact me years after I graduated from the program. It has helped shaped my education, career path, my way of thinking, my identity, and my understanding of history.

Client Served

Rating: 5

OUDC has served our school incredibly well. Each year their staff and youth participants lead workshops on Diversity in our school and prompt important conversations between and among our students. Our student participants rave about their experience in this program and develop maturity, sensivity, awareness and strength in leadership that will serve them in all relationships and experiences their life time through. Even our staff has participated in development training with OUDC's support and assistance. I feel very fortunate to benefit from the very large greatness of this relatively small program in so many ways.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an alum of Class 5 of OUDC. This organization and its teachings have collectively done more to shape my life as a Jew and an adult than any other experience or organization of which I have been a part. At a time when Judaism was not a strong part of my life, OUDC showed me the importance of recognizing my own heritage, and how it was my personal responsibility to educate others about the facts of history and relationships. Not a week goes by when I don't think about or act upon the lessons and methods I learned here, and I actively engage many people in discussion about OUDC's goals and training. While I now live 3,000 miles away and can only donate so much every year, I will never cease to benefit from how OUDC has shaped my outlook on life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Understanding DC is an outstanding program that brings together young people from the African American and Jewish communities to learn about their shared history and to confront current issues of racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. It empowers these young people by helping them to strengthen their character and identity and provides them with a set of skills that enables them to become advocates and forces for social justice.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son participated in this program. At first, he was reluctant to tear himself away from the summer camp he had been involved with for many years. Once he immersed himself in the OUDC experience, however, he never looked back. His appreciation of the culture and history of oppression of African Americans came alive in a way that has resonated deeply within him. He made enduring friendships that have stood the test of time. He was forced to thoroughly examine his belief system. While he had always been a "fire in the belly" social activist, this experience ignited him.