Challenging injustice, advancing human rights
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian human rights organization powered by grassroots collaboration. We work anywhere rights are threatened – by natural disasters, armed conflicts, genocide, forced migration, and systematic injustice.
UUSC began its work in 1939 when Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp took the extraordinary risk of traveling to Europe to help refugees escape Nazi persecution.
For over 75 years, our innovative approach and measurable contributions have been grounded in the moral belief that all people have inherent power, dignity, and rights.
UUSC advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies.
UUSC envisions a world free from oppression and injustice, where all can realize their full human rights.
- 1939: Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp traveled to Europe under the sponsorship of the American Unitarian Association to help refugees escape Nazi persecution.
- 1940: Unitarian Service Committee established to continue and formalize this humanitarian service.
- 1945: Universalist Service Committee founded to support relief work in Europe.
- 1954: A social-work education program is established in Korea.
- 1963: Unitarian Service Committee merged with the Universalist Service Committee to form UUSC.
- 1966: UUSC offers maternal and child health as well as family planning services in Haiti.
- 1980: UUSC organizes the first Central American Encuentro (Encounter) for rural community development workers.
- 1989: UUSC launches Promise the Children, a new program addressing the needs of children in the United States.
- 1992: UUSC responds to Los Angeles riots sparked by the first verdict in the Rodney King trial by establishing an Urban Emergency Fund.
- 1994: UUSC sends emergency medical equipment to Rwanda and begins a long-term relationship with grassroots groups working to bring peace to the region.
- 2007: The Drumbeat for Darfur campaign is launched, creating an advocacy list of several thousand activists and collaborating with other anti-genocide organizations to help end the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
- 2012: UUSC works with on the ground partners in California to pass Human Right to Water legislation.
- 2012: In partnership with the UUA, the UU College of Social Justice is launched to help UUs deepen and sustain the work of justice in their congregations and communities.
- 2013: Former Guatemalan dicator, General Efrain Rios Montt, is convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity due to support from UUSC. UUSC funded forensic research on exhumed bodies that provided key evidence to help prove the military’s culpability.
Today, UUSC is a nonsectarian organization whose work around the world is guided by the values of Unitarian Universalism and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read more about UUSC’s history.
UUSC is a 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. UUSC's tax ID is 04-6186012.
UUSC is pleased to have earned the highest possible rating — four out of four stars — from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations. This four-star “exceptional” rating indicates sound fiscal management and a commitment to accountability and transparency. The rating reflects UUSC’s consistent execution of its mission in a fiscally responsible way.
In order to create a world free from injustice and oppression — where all can realize their human rights — you need a movement. And to build a movement, you need passionate people. That’s why UUSC actively engages its more than 40,000 members and supporters by educating them on the issues so they can take informed action, whether it’s calling their senators, signing petitions to corporations or government agencies, or educating their communities and congregations at critical junctures for maximum impact. For over 20 years, UUSC has relied on a robust direct mail program not only to generate income but also to educate and mobilize its members and activists in action campaigns, thereby advancing its mission to promote economic and environmental justice and protect rights at risk. As a result, in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board guidelines, UUSC allocates a portion of its direct mail costs to program services and to fundraising.