Operation Understanding Fall 2015 Update

October 20, 2015

Dear Friends, Supporters, Parents and Alumni of Operation Understanding,

We are excited to follow up with you after conversations over the summer to determine the direction of our beloved organization. As you may know, Operation Understanding was in a state of transition and there was discussion that the organization and its mission should be discontinued and dissolved.  As we learned of this possibility from the past Board of Directors a number of us intervened with the belief that there was still a place for our mission and goals.

We are committed to Operation Understanding’s mission to develop a group of young African American and Jewish leaders knowledgeable about each other's histories and cultures.  We see our original mission evolving in the strategic planning process but will ultimately focus on being a leader in Philadelphia with a goal of fostering greater understanding of diversity through leadership training of our young people and inclusive programming that continues to keep OU relevant.

We recognize that there is a lot of work to do and money to be raised, however we are united in the belief that there is still a place for Operation Understanding and it should continue, grow and evolve.  The new Board has spent the past month focusing on housekeeping and creating a plan forward.  With that said, we wish to share updates and our strategy going forward...
  • We have grown and strengthened the Board of Directors, adding new leadership and energy to the board, while maintaining the board’s valuable sense of history and knowledge.
  • We have updated the website and payment options so we can begin taking online donations again – www.operationunderstanding.org/donate.
  • We have created programming and strategic planning committees to help move the organization towards the future and determine the evolved mission and goals.
  • We have created an ambitious fundraising plan that we believe will get the organization back on secure financial footing.
  • We are planning an event for December 13, 2015 from 3 PM until 7 PM as a way to reconnect everyone who loves this organization.
  • We are beginning to plan for Operation Understanding’s 30th Anniversary Celebration in the spring.
  • Most importantly, we have committed to having a Summer 2016 Operation Understanding study tour.

To accomplish all of our goals, we need your help, especially financial, as we move the organization forward. We also need your volunteer time, and your insights.  These contributions will be greatly appreciated as we move to the future.

Here is how you can help:
  • Let us know if you are interested in serving on a committee: This is less of a time commitment than being on the Board, and will have a great impact on our future. The following committees are available: Program/Summer Experience, Strategic Planning, Fundraising, 30th anniversary event, and Communications. We are happy to speak with you to tell you more and provide committee descriptions.
  • Give us your feedback and insight: A board member will call you to learn about your experiences as well as how best to communicate with you and other friends of OU.
  • Make a tax-deductible contribution:
    Visit http://www.operationunderstanding.org/donate to make a donation or send checks made out to Operation Understanding, PO box 7765, Philadelphia, PA 19101
Looking ahead – we are excited for our event in December, which will take place on Sunday the 13th from 3 PM – 7PM. More information will be sent out about this event shortly, but we hope you will save the date! We will be planning another event this spring designed to be a broader, community wide celebration of OU’s 30th year. We hope you will be able to join us for one or both of them.

We need your help to keep Operation Understanding going and will continue to update you on the state of the organization. You can reach us at our emails listed below.


Jason Gordon OU ’88              Loree D. Jones OU ’85
phillybenjerry@comcast.net loree.jones@gmail.com
Co-President                           Co-President

Board of Directors

Curtis Davis OU Group Leader ‘14 
Allyson Davis Eastman OU ’96        
Cleo Hendrickson OU ’97
Beth Hoffman OU ‘98
Larissa Klevan OU ’02         
Ken Krivitzky OU Group Leader ’01          
Susan Levy OU ’86   
Jared Solomon OU ‘96         
Julian Thompson ‘02