While our world has undoubtedly changed, our commitment to the community has remained the same. We are proud to continue to provide uninterrupted program offerings at our UP Center locations. Please note that face coverings are required at all times. Now more than ever, we are deeply grateful for your support.

Our Mission

To serve those in poverty by providing crisis care, case management, transformative education, food and household subsidy, employment training and placement, personal empowerment training and active referrals to other collaborative social service providers.

Our Purpose

To inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to economic self-sufficiency.

Our Vision

Communities where every family has access to basic needs, nutritional food, crisis care, education and employment training, and where everyone has the opportunity to achieve a future filled with hope and possibilities.

Our Values

  • Dignity
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Compassion
  • Empowerment
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Partnership / Collaboration
  • Holistic Approach
about Us History

Organizational History

Noticing The Unnoticed

United Against Poverty Orlando was founded in 2009 to notice the hundreds of thousands of people in need who were going unnoticed in Central Florida. At the time there was not a widespread definition of the population we have now come to know as the working poor, but it was clear that a new approach was needed to help lift up our neighbors in need. Our hand UP not handout model began with a Member Share Grocery Program, which offered much-needed dignity for families. Its popularity quickly grew and, as traffic to our campus increased, program participants expressed a need for additional on-site services. Our organization evolved from simply helping families put food on the table to becoming a “one stop shop” where those in need can turn to for food and household subsidy, crisis care, educational opportunities, employment training and placement and the opportunity to break free from the cycle of poverty—once and for all.

Lifting Lives

Today, UP Orlando has earned recognition as one of the busiest single-site social service agencies in the state of Florida, serving an average of 525 individuals each day. 100% of program participants fall at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, and the majority reside in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. Your kindness helped to create a future filled with hope and independence for 11,067 unique households in 2019!

Programs Designed To Empower

To help our participants stabilize their foundation and build the confidence needed to lift themselves out of poverty, UP Orlando offers four core programs:
  • Our Member Share Grocery Program (MSGP) is a dignified food and household assistance program where income-qualified members can personally select the food, hygiene and household items their family needs while saving up to 70% of their household food and product budget. Our MSGP helped families retain $5.03 Million in 2019.
 
  • Our Crisis Stabilization Program (CSP) operates in our Life Enrichment Center, where those in crisis situations can come for the skills, resources and coaching needed to stabilize their life and work towards a permanent higher ground. In 2019, our CSP provided 14,865 units of service to families in need.
 
  • Our Success Training Employment Program (STEP) is an adult workforce training program designed to help individuals overcome barriers to employment. Participants spend 120 hours learning both the hard and soft skills that will help them secure living wage jobs. Once they obtain employment, each participant is paired with a personal Success Coach who continues to work with them for three years to ensure they excel in their position. STEP helped secure employment for 58 graduates in 2019.
 
  • Our Education Program connects participants with the opportunity to earn their high school diploma or strengthen their skillsets with courses focusing on adult literacy, parenting, budgeting, nutrition, computer skills and more.
  Throughout 2019, we saw an average of 104 new individuals enroll in our programs each week!
about Us Empowered

Letter From The Executive Director

The original intent of our organization was to help as many people in need as possible from the downtown Orlando area. The effort of our first volunteers was tireless and noble. The support from early donors was essential to making any impact at all. Our volunteers and donors have put a great deal of faith and trust in the leadership and vision of many wonderful men and women such as Scott & Tammi George, Austin and Ginny Hunt, Jeff Johnston, Dave Larue, Tommy Beck, Todd Ehinger, Don Drinkard, Andrae Bailey, David Flynt and many, many more. That faith has been rewarded not just in the hundreds of thousands of families we have served, but in the improvements of our process to do so over the years.

Our purpose has evolved from simply helping others, to measurably lifting families out of poverty for good. This distinction has been driven by our volunteers and donors who want to see more than just inputs and outputs, but rather outcomes…efforts that can show a tangible result. This leadership through vision is more important than all of the cans we’ve distributed or resumes we’ve helped write. However, it is the willingness of so many thousands of volunteers to stock shelves, bag groceries, sweep floors and visit with struggling families that has inspired our volunteer leadership to bold aspirations including ending poverty in our community.

More than 2,000 individuals and families support our cause financially each year. Their average gift is $43, but all gifts—whether $1 or $1 million— are incredibly appreciated. I wish I could call each and every volunteer and donor myself to say thank you. I spend a great deal of time attempting this effort, but we are hopeful that you also see our appreciation in the effort we dedicate on your behalf every day. We still tirelessly help low income families in downtown Orlando; however, we also work to ensure that these same families never need help again. This is entirely due to the commitment of volunteers and donors who have supported this work for so many consecutive years. Thank you for sharing in our mission!

Sincerely,

 

Nancy Robbinson