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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Operation Understanding DC

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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 550 students and their families have directly participated in OUDC’s award-winning program, and, through their outreach efforts, over 60,000 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

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

IMAGINE.

-traveling on a bus with 30 awesome people for 3 1/2 weeks!
-acquiring new knowledge about your own culture, religion, and SELF.
-forming lifelong relationships.
-meeting folks who were on the same balcony the day MLK died.
-hugging a Holocaust survivor.
-eating delicious Jewish & Southern style dishes.
-taking the stand for what is RIGHT.
-changing the WORLD.

Stop imagining, and PARTAKE! OUDC changed my life, are you ready for this JOURNEY?

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter's participation with this organization has been one of the best experiences of her high school career. It has broadened her world view in ways that her academic school and family experiences have not been able to do. The speakers she has had the opportunity to learn from and meet have made history come alive and have inspired her to strive to improve her wider community. Understanding that one individual CAN make a difference was eye-opening and inspirational. In addition, so much of her growth and wider world view has come from the other program participants. OUDC does a great job of selecting a highly diverse group of kids to part take in this special program. While very different, they all do have a common thirst for knowledge and making an impact. They have grown together, learned to truly listen to one another even when they don't agree (I wish our elected officials would learn to do that) and to work together to create a better community. They truly want to make the world in which they live a better place. My daughter was forced out of her comfort zone many times and is better for it. We can't wait to see how the experience with OUDC will impact her college and career choices!

Donor

Rating: 5

Our daughter's experience with Operation Understanding DC not only empowered her to believe she can make a difference in the world, but also became an inspiration to us, as we witnessed the power of an organization so capable of nurturing and growing future leaders. OUDC demands much of each year's high school juniors, requiring a year-long commitment of time and energy during what is arguably their most challenging year of high-school. For that investment, the organization creates a group of young leaders who understand the history and sources of discrimination...and more importantly, equips them with the tools to fight future discrimination and build a more understanding world.

Judith H.

Donor

Rating: 5

For a small nonprofit organization, OUDC does huge things. Both of my daughters were participants in this program. They both have told me that this program made a huge impact on them. In fact, they both said that this is a life changing program and if you have the opportunity to become part of this program, you should do so. I am grateful to the OUDC staff for helping my daughters to care about their community and to become active participants.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a parent of a member of the 16th class. This experience was transformational for our daughter. OUDC helped her to see where she fits into our world and how she can help our make our world a better and more understanding and tolerant place. The opportunity to go on the summer journey made the civil rights movement more than an historical event in a textbook. She was given a chance to speak to surviving members of the movement and to see the landmark places of the movement. This solidified for her the sacrifices made on her behalf by those who came before. She is a better person, student, and member of society, as a result of this experience.

Donor

Rating: 5

A teenager who recently took part in Operation Understanding's program provided it with the greatest compliment: he told me it changed his life. Now in college, he is studying urban development as a way to put some of the ideas he talked about during the year-long program to practical effect.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have known a number of young people who participated in Operation Understanding in the recent past. They are all incredible young people with a desire to give back to society. I am not sure if they started out that way or became that giving through their participation in the program. My children have been grown for a long time, but if there had been OU when they were teens, there would have been no question, but they would have been involved in the program. I have been to the graduations and have heard young people speak about their experiences. Impressive to say the least!

Donor

Rating: 5

This program changed my child's life. OUDC provides a safe and nurturing environment to discuss issues of diversity. The program inspires youth to tackle the tough issues and talk about sensitive subjects. My son developed amazing friendships. Our entire family became involved in the program thru program participation, selection of program candidates and spending time with other parents. We will remember this experience forever. I would recommend this program to any student who wishes to expand their circle of friends while exploring the common differences and similarities we all share.
Sincerely,

The Powell Family

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor for three years. In a time when we cannot justify many contributions because of the squeeze of the economic situation, we have been consistent in our support of OUDC. We feel that if we need to work with teens to learn about others and celebrate their differences in order to leave them a better world than they came into. OUDC does this in bucketfuls.

Previous Stories
9

Donor

Rating: 4

As a parent of a student in Class 13, I know that my daughter's experience that year has taught her much about two wonderful cultures, although one she was born into. Since it is a year long program she has had time to process what she has learned and work out any additional issues within the closeness of OUDC. But even more importantly, she has also learned how to talk to people who say offensive or factually incorrect things about other people (not limited to African Americans or Jews). She sees herself, her classmates and OUDC as a community of people who understand and promote equality everywhere. I feel that we are fortunate to have this opportunity for our kids because we live somewhere where OUDC exists, we fit the profile and we believe. OUDC Rocks!!

4

Donor

Rating: 5

OUDC had a huge and lasting impact on my life. The program introduced me to critical thinking about racial and judicial history in the U.S. and introduced me to people from my own city who I never would have had the chance to meet, and whose experiences opened my eyes to the world around me. Since OUDC, I have been active in communal and political events, always with an eye toward democracy and justice.

10

Donor

Rating: 5

As a parent of an OUDC student and volunteer, I have been so impressed with the work of OUDC in bringing kids and their parents together to get past any cultural differences and work together to bring about social change. The strong friendships among the group and their commitment to changing the world gives hope that the next generation will solve some of our longstanding social problems.

10

Donor

Rating: 5

I have seen OUDC change the lives of the students who participate. They dream big, and their enthusiasm inspires their families, friends and audiences. They make us all believe that, through their sheer willpower, there will be a future free of racism and Antisemitism.

7

Donor

Rating: 5

I was not a member of this organization; my niece was. I was pleased to offer them some financial support because the kids were greast and the goials were worthy. Gerald Linda

9

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter participated in this program 10 years ago. What she learned in OUDC informed her life's work. She worked for social justice in co-ops in college and in her career so far. She has been the executive director of a group trying to work for peace in the Middle East. The group has now merged with a major Washington lobby where she is directing the college program. The roots of her participation in this line of work go back to OUDC, what she learned and absorbed during her year with them.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

Our son had the privilege and honor to be in Class 6. His participation in OUDC was indeed "life changing" for him and the entire family. My husband and I got to see OUDC in action when we hosted my son's group in our Atlanta apt during the group's visit to the Civil Right South. We were amazed by the group's discussion of the day's events. The young people were comfortable enough with each other to be brutally honest, but respectful in their comments. They agreed to disagree. They realized that their life experience shaped their world views. They had the opportunity to envision themselves in the other person's shoes.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

Two of my children have been involved in Operation Understanding. Operation Undertanding gives participants the rare opportunity to take a serious, up close look at the issues of race and ethnic identity. They have the opportunity to meet and talk to the people directly involved in the struggle for racial equality and social justice. First hand, I have seen OUDC enriches the lives of the students that participate and the communities they live in.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I are involved with the Program OUDC. I cannot tell you how thrilled we are. Watching the young people early in the program change become involved, educated, tolerant,mature, and obtain their "voices" is simply beyond words! Kudos to all.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

Both of our sons had the life-changing opportunity to take part in OUDC. Each learned and grew in ways they could not have imagined--in their mid-teens--which engendered in them the commitment to foster interracial, intercultural cooperation, fight intolerance, and work for equality in society, government, and personal relationships. Their participation was one of the highlights of their adolescence, helping to shape them into young adults of integrity.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

Operation Understanding provides a great experience for the participants - Jewish and African American high school juniors - who study and travel together to get a better understanding of each others culture and history - and for the larger community, because the students speak throughout the community about their experiences.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter, Candyce Phoenix, was a member of OUDC. She gained much knowledge and understanding of different cultures and as a result has been very determined to spread equality among all groups. I am very proud of her and OUDC's affect it had on her.