aka UCC/Centro de la Comunidad Unida   |   Milwaukee, WI   |  www.unitedcc.org


UCC's mission is to transform the lives of Hispanics, families, and individuals of all ages by providing the highest quality comprehensive services in education, human services, health, community development and cultural arts. Our vision is an empowered and thriving Hispanic community where all achieve their fullest potential.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mrs. Laura Gutierrez

Deputy Director

Mr. Juan A. Ruiz

Main address

1028 S 9th St

Milwaukee, WI 53204 USA

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NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Youth Centers, Clubs, (includes Boys/Girls Clubs)- Multipurpose (O20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The United Community Center (UCC) is a not-for-profit enterprise dedicated to building and sustaining the community through programs rooted in the traditional values of hard work, perseverance, educational advancement, and personal betterment. The aim of the UCC is to perpetuate the realization of the American Dream to a new, more diverse, generation of Americans. This is achieved daily, at all age levels, by combining education, cultural sensitivity, guidance, and personal empowerment. UCC is nestled in the heart of Milwaukee’s South side in an area known for providing this unassuming manufacturing city with the hardworking manpower of its many differing immigrant populations. These new Americans, then and now, asked only for the opportunity to prove their worth by being allowed to contribute to the economic growth of the area. Today, this area is dominated by America’s fastest growing immigrant community, the Latinos. Like those before them, they seek to build a strong community.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

UCC Achievers Academy

UCC has a long-standing tradition of addressing the academic and social needs of south side Milwaukee youth. The UCC Achievers Academy was launched in 2004 as a means to build Hispanic self-sufficiency by assisting Latino adolescents and youth to develop academic, leadership, and personal enrichment skills and prepare them for high school, higher education and beyond. The project provides guidance to students and graduates of UCC’s Bruce-Guadalupe Community School from middle school through high school and into college, encourages high academic and personal standards, and focuses on pre-college and career readiness activities. The Bruce-Guadalupe Community School (BGCS) is a K3-8th Grade charter school operated by UCC and located on the UCC campus. Currently over 200 students participate in the Achievers Academy. Services offered include:

The Achiever’s Academy has a multi-faceted goal that is clearly related to UCC’s mission and includes fostering academic achievement, leadership and excellence in all students; valuing the knowledge of language and culture; providing students with a clear sense of identity; fostering a positive attitude toward learning and effective communication skills; and encouraging parental involvement as a vehicle for ensuring each student’s success. UCC has developed the program predicated by years of expertise in providing culturally competent services in a bicultural environment.

Population(s) Served

The Latino Geriatric Center (LGC) is a state-of-the art service, research, and diagnostic facility implemented by UCC and partners University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, Alzheimer’s Association of Southeast Wisconsin, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives & Research. LGC was initiated in 2007 and has the capacity to serve 70 elderly Latinos, plus their caregivers, who fall in to three distinct areas: frail elderly at-risk for dementia related illnesses requiring day services and supervision, elderly diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases, and elderly in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s who continue to live in the care of a family member. By segmenting the elderly by the type of their fragility or stage of dementia, the project has increased research capabilities and improved service delivery. 
LGC offers caregivers and family members of Hispanic elderly suffering from AD and dementia a safe, comfortable, stimulating and caring environment to leave their loved one during the day. Services are provided in a culturally and linguistically appropriate setting that helps ease both the caregiver’s and patient’s anxieties. Services provided to the elderly on site on a day-to-day basis includes individual and group activities, individual assessment and plan of care, nursing, therapy and podiatry services, bathing and personal care, nutritious meals and snacks, transportation, and health education. Activities provided include arts and crafts, discussion groups, exercise, music and dance, outings and special events, table games such as cards and dominos, and devotional and spiritual activities. Programming is designed to maintain an individual’s present level of functioning as long as possible while preventing premature or inappropriate institutionalization

Services that directly assist caregivers who are responsible for their elderly family member suffering from dementia includes a memory clinic that offers diagnosis, support with medication management, referral services, counseling, and caregiver education and support groups that help with dealing with day-to-day stress related to caring for a loved one who’s showing symptoms of dementia. 

In addition to direct services towards clients and their families, other activities explored and implemented by LGC that ultimately benefit the target population includes participating in research studies related to Latino elderly suffering from dementia, developing culturally and linguistically appropriate screening tools specifically geared towards Hispanics, and physician education on treating Latinos diagnosed with dementia.

Population(s) Served
People of Latin American descent

The Human Services Department at the United Community Center was founded in 1979 in response to increasing demands for bilingual and culturally competent programs for Hispanics and other minorities with alcohol and other drug abuse problems. In the thirty years since the department's inception, the reach of our services has extended beyond alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) treatment to include programs that offer a variety of mental health services, including outpatient treatment and mental health services.Our Philosophy:
We want to empower and educate our clients while supporting them so they have the ability to change their situations. We want to aid our clients in regaining the capability to take care of themselves and otheres to build up their confidence and happiness on a physical and emotional level.
The Human Services Department operates a state-licensed clinic for both alcohol and drug abuse (AODA). UCC is also a network service provider for the Milwaukee County AODA Bureau, the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare System, the Milwaukee Wraparound system, the W2 system and various insurance HMO carriers.

Population(s) Served
People with diseases and illnesses

Description: The Early Learning Academy serves young learners six weeks to four years old with the support of the full wraparound model the UCC provides, including medical care. The Academy’s driving focus is to ensure the youngest in our community are kindergarten ready and never have a chance to fall behind. The Early Learning Academy provides special focus on language and literacy due to the predominantly Spanish speaking families served and the existing disparities for young, Latino learners. The Academy staff teach mixed age groups and implement thematic instruction into their daily routine. The Early Learning Academy solidifies a cradle to career pipeline on Milwaukee’s south side, ensuring community members have every chance to persist through post-secondary education and obtain jobs with family supporting wages.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

Where we work


Affiliate of the Year 1992

National Council of La Raza

Fiscal Accountability 2004

Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee

Hispanic Business of the Year - Cafe El Sol 2009

Wisconsin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Elderly Services 2007

Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans

Charter School of the Year 2010

Wisconsin Charter School Association

Eureka Award for Innovation in Health Care 2013

Business Journal - Milwaukee

Affiliations & memberships

National Council of La Raza (NCLR) - Affiliate 1988

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Throughout UCC’s history, the agency has strived to develop programs and approaches with the aim at improving the overall quality of life of current and future Walker’s Point residents; providing a future of opportunities and prosperity for Latino children; and changing the cultural stigma, barriers, and disparities that limit Latinos at both local and national levels.

The agency collaborates with community agencies, schools, universities, law enforcement, and others to provide coordinated services and participate in research studies, some of national significance, to better understand Latinos and develop programs and services that are attuned to their unique needs. Families have grown to trust the agency to take impeccable care of their young child who needs a preschool education or elderly relative suffering from dementia or depression.

UCC utilizes a multi-dimensional approach to address interrelated challenges faced by Latinos. One strategy that has proven to be successful is to serve the needs of the entire family. For example, UCC recognizes that a child cannot flourish, even in the best of schools, without family support/engagement, physical and emotional health, a stable home and lifestyle, and a safe community. Therefore, children attending UCC’s Bruce-Guadalupe Community School receive a myriad of services that address all of their individual, family, and community needs. Services include a preschool for younger siblings, parenting classes, nutrition, health, and fitness services, AODA and mental health services, two health clinics (one for children, siblings, and parents and another for older adults), home buyer assistance, a senior center, geriatric services and Alzheimer’s care, cultural arts for the entire family, and much more. In addition to services offered to their entire family, BGCS students benefit from afterschool and summer programs, tutoring, mentoring, recreation, pre-college, delinquency prevention, service learning, and many other programs.

From its earliest foundation as a youth hangout to today’s multi-faceted organization, each and every day, the United Community Center works toward the betterment and empowerment of its community. By presenting opportunities for hard work, educational advancement, and community engagement, the United Community Center is part of building a bridge to the middle class for thousands of Milwaukee residents and the attainment of the American Dream.

An agency practice has been to use a culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate approach in all programs. This has helped UCC reach some underserved populations, including Latino elderly and preschoolers. It is a Hispanic tradition to “take care of one’s own.” Therefore, Latinos often find it difficult to leave their parent/grandparent or very young child in a culturally and linguistically unfamiliar environment. However, UCC creates a comfortable and inviting environment for even the most vulnerable of Latinos, with bilingual and bicultural staff, ethnic meals, bilingual and culturally relevant programs and activities, all conducted in Latino-style facilities.

UCC relocated from its small storefront site many years ago and now operates in state-of-the art, environmentally-friendly, Latino-style facilities spread throughout 12 City blocks. These facilities are open daily from 7 am-8 pm serving children, their parents, grandparents, and other family members and neighborhood residents. UCC programs include education and youth services, human services that include AODA and mental health, elderly programs, health and fitness, and neighborhood development. If ever there was a “Harlem Children’s Zone” in Milwaukee, this would be the United Community Center.

UCC has received many local, state and some national awards in recognition of successful programs and innovative initiatives. Our success is evident in the transformation of the Milwaukee neighborhood in which we operate.

Through the leadership of UCC’s Board of Directors, the campus has been constructed with investments of more than $35 million over the past 20 years. These investments have contributed to neighborhood stability, increased property values, and helped to spur private development in the area known as Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward. Crime in the immediate eight-block area surrounding UCC has diminished over the past few years and speaks volumes of the positive effect that the agency has had on this neighborhood.

Thanks to UCC’s success in reaching a hard to reach Latino senior population, the agency was able to partner with prestigious organizations such as the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, Alzheimer’s Association of Southeast Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives & Research. In 2007, UCC and partner agencies opened the Latino Geriatric Center, a state-of-the art service, research, and diagnostic facility for Latinos with dementia. This facility serves nearly 100 elderly Latinos suffering from dementia, and is the first of its kind in the State of Wisconsin. It also serves as a field placement site for medical students of both Wisconsin medical schools to study Latinos.

The organization uses multiple methods of evaluation to measure agency success. This includes local crime and housing related statistics to measure neighborhood development; state standardized test scores, high school graduation rates, college entry and scholarship data to measure student achievement; as well as county mandated measures to evaluate senior and human services related programming. All evaluations and program outcomes are utilized to make program changes as appropriate. Furthermore, research studies pertaining to Latinos conducted at UCC are shared at the local and national level, so there is a better understanding of this population that can lead to responsive programming and policy change.

* Completed construction of the 30,000 sq. ft. UCC Acosta Middle School to accommodate school growth
* Achieved 96% high school graduation rate of BGCS alumni in June 2018
* Confirmed placement of 92% of 8th grade graduates into high achieving/college preparation high schools
* Confirmed enrollment of 82% of BGCS alumni into 2 or 4 year higher education institutions
* Sustained "Best Communities for Music Education" designation from the NAMM Foundation for the sixth consecutive year
* Sustained 5-Star rating in Wisconsin's quality childcare rating system, the highest possible, for the seventh consecutive year
* Achieved "Exceeds Expectations" in the state's school report card for Bruce-Guadalupe Community School for the second year in a row
* Received "Community Partner" award from Marquette University's Office of Community Engagement
* Awarded 3-year grants from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for substance abuse treatment and caregiver support for persons with Alzheimer's disease
* Acquired a struggling day care center in the most populous Census tract in the state of Wisconsin for children under the age of 14 and increased enrollment from 16 to 40 children daily in six months



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Board of directors
as of 12/17/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Attorney Jose Olivieri

Michael, Best & Friedrich

Term: 2009 - 2021

Board co-chair

Mrs. Cristy Garcia-Thomas

Advocate Aurora Health Care; Aurora Foundation

Term: 2009 - 2023

Patricia Cadorin

BMO Harris

José Olivieri

Michael, Best & Friedrich

William Schwartz

Interstate Partners LLC

Chris Goller

PNC Bank

Peter Coffey

Michael Best & Friedrich

Ricardo Diaz

United Community Center

Jose Vasquez

St. Anthony Schools

Juan Ruiz

United Community Center

Mark Koczela

Retired Attorney

Michael Byrnes

Rockwell Automation, Inc.

Susan Martin

We Energies (Retired)

Christy Garcia Thomas

Advocated Aurora Health Care

Thomas Ellis

Silver Spring Neighborhood Center

Mary Beth Berkes

Linden Capital Partners

Pedro Colon

Milwaukee County Judge

Cathleen Ebacher

Adient, plc

Raquel Filmanowicz

BMO Harris Bank

Andy Fleckenstein

Fleck Foundation

Mike Kopischkie

Robert W. Baird & Co.

Felipe Muzquiz

Johnson Controls

Bill O'Toole

Catholic Financial Life

Patricia Whaley


Maclovio Vega

Northwestern Mutual

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/5/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data