Thank You to Maudine Cooper

Wi Editorial Staff | 12/9/2010, 9:33 a.m.

Maudine Cooper is a fighter. For more than 20 years, she has sat at the helm of the Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL) fighting to sustain the lives of the District's most vulnerable residents. Her passion has led her to fight for the right for people of little means to learn a trade, improve their literacy skills, improve their health and to own a home.

Born in Benoit, Miss., Cooper's family moved to St. Paul, Minn., seeking greater opportunities. She later went on to receive her undergraduate and law degrees from Howard University in the District. She worked for the National Urban League in 1973 as an assistant director for federal programs and in 1980 she became vice president for the Washington operations legislative office.

Under D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, Cooper served as director of the Office of Human Rights, and in 1987 she was appointed to head the Minority Business Opportunity Commission. She later became chief of staff for Mayor Barry.

But in 1990, Cooper was named president and CEO of the GWUL. Under her leadership, the organization has achieved many milestones. Most significantly, was nearly meeting the $10 million capital campaign drive to purchase and restore their new headquarters at 2901 14th Street, N.W., which helped to ignite economic development in the Columbia Heights area. The 29,000- square-foot facility tripled the space of the league's old headquarters and allowed space to house several administrative offices.

But Cooper doesn't like talking about the building. She wants to see results, as in people who have been helped by the myriad of resources the GWUL offers, and there have been many who are better off because of the efforts of the GWUL.

To mark Cooper's 20th anniversary, members of the GWUL Board of Directors and staff threw her a small reception on Tue., Dec. 7 to say "Thank You" for all of her hard work and dedication to the organization and to the community. We salute Cooper, as well. She has been a stalwart of this community and through her efforts the GWUL has great meaning in the lives of District residents. To Maudine Cooper... congratulations on a job well done!