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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

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

My daughter's experience as an OUDC class member was truly life altering. She now teaches in a low performing urban, public school and the leadership skills, cultural perspectives, and understandings she developed during her year with OUDC are helping her to succeed in a very challenging endeavor. As a parent, I grew along with my daughter. For those students who are fortunate to be accepted into the program, OUDC provides them with a unique set of tools to make a real difference in the world.

Jamie Butler,
Parent of a former OUDC student and current Board member

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a parent of a former participant (Class 10) and a current Board Member, I cannot laud and support the mission and program of Operation Understanding enough. The exposure provided to the participants, and by virtue of that their friends and family, has been described as inspirational, momentous and an awakening. The Black and Jewish youth involved seem to find a direction that put them on a life-track of giving, sharing and positive change. What a difference involvement can make!

Board Member

Rating: 5

OUDC is one of the best non-profits in Washington, DC. It teaches sustainable life lessons and leadereship skills to young adults that transcend daily and normal experiences.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

OUDC has successfully transformed the perspectives of not only hundreds of young people, but also the many thousands they have connected with since their program years. Though I have been a teacher, mentor and trustee for the organization, I have also benefited and grown immeasurably by my contact with the students.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

OUDC's approach enables young leaders to form meaningful relationships while learning about historical injustices. They take their knowledge and friendships with them into their current high schools and communities, as well as into their future experiences at college and in the workplace. OUDC adds value to individual lives and thereby transforms communities.

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

Operation Understanding is a very special program that has a profound impact on the students who are privileged to participate and on their families as well. Two of my daughters took part in the program and grew enormously as a result and are now following career paths inspired by their experience with OUDC. It is my privilege to serve on the Board and dedicate myself to the growth and continuation of a truly unique and powerful program.

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

Operation Understanding is a great program which creates the leaders of tomorrow. Many of the students who participated in it have gone on to work on diversity issues and have made a huge difference in the world. It is definitely the best non-profit....

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

The term "life-changing experience" has been reiterated and repeated by my daughter and her fellow OUDC particpants over the past few years. The opportunities for experiece and exposure to the 'real' world, as a positive learning tool, with chances for self-discovery and growth, is the plus not often afforded to our youth. From the dark pages of historical discrimination to the opportunities for historic change, OUDC provides this springboard and more.

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

Two of my children have been transformed by the OUDC experience. Their horizons were broadened and they came away with a better sense of self and a deeper devotion to others. They also learned a lesson not being taught well in other DC environments: you can disagree strongly with someone and still hold that person close to your heart. In addition to helping Jews and African-Americans understand each other better, the neighborhoods, economic circumstances and values these kids represent offer them all insights into others. These kids are tomorrow's leaders.

10

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.