The Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) is a 501c3 non-profit that provides health and human services focused on improving the overall well-being of underserved diverse populations. Providing assistance in over 30 languages at 15 locations across the county, we recognize and celebrate the diversity of our region and strive to strengthen these communities to achieve self-sufficiency. Programs focus on mental health counseling, community engagement and business development, addiction treatment & recovery, housing counseling, health promotion and cultural competency education.
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 since 1989, 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.