Group Picture of Staff

About the Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC)

The Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) is a 501(c) (3) organization that provides a comprehensive array of health and human services programming dedicated to improving the overall well-being of San Diego’s underserved communities. Our multicultural and multilingual staff speak more than 30 languages and dialects and provide services in more than 20 of these languages annually. With a focus on mental health, addiction treatment & recovery, housing counseling community engagement and business development and cultural competency education, our goal is to strengthen underserved communities and assist their residents in achieving self-sufficiency.

Our History

In 1974, UPAC’s Founding Executive Director, Beverly Yip, and six leaders of the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Samoan, and Guamanian) united and pioneered the way for UPAC’s first City of San Diego grant. Using these funds, they established a cultural adjustment and language assistance program to ease access to community resources. At that time, no single Asian group was large enough or vocal enough to pursue the basic services desperately needed by its impoverished, ill, elderly and limited English speaking members.

As refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia began arriving in San Diego with multiple health, behavioral health, educational and housing needs, UPAC developed culturally and linguistically appropriate programs to address their special needs and emerged as the only bilingual, bi-cultural, multi-service agency for San Diego’s Asian populations. For the first 16 years Executive Director Beverly Yip provided unwavering commitment and leadership.

Today, under the direction of President and CEO Margaret Iwanaga Penrose, programs and services are provided to all underserved and diverse populations. We not only offer assistance to our most vulnerable community members, but we Unite People Across Cultures.