The UMMA Center opened its doors in June 2004 in a facility located in the center of downtown Waukegan. It was and still is, one of the few educational centers of its kind in the area, serving low-income individuals of every race, ethnicity, and religion who seek education as a way to improve their lives. In just two short years, the UMMA center expanded to offer weekly computer courses, twice-weekly GED training courses, monthly financial management seminars, daily tutoring, and a full-time food pantry.
Soon after its establishment, the UMMA Center joined efforts with local community outreach programs to expand its programming towards overall community development. The UMMA center began collaborating efforts with the Allendale Association, the Waukegan Pavilion Nursing Home, the Lake County Park District and Interfaith Refugee Immigrant Ministries in the city of Chicago. The Center has also created partnerships with Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB), Lake County Community Foundation, United Way, , RESPOND Coalition of organizations, Waukegan Township, Waukegan Public School District and the College of Lake County. The RESPOND coalition is a group that is made up of several small to large non-profit organizations and agencies in Lake County that provide a variety of resources to residents (ex: housing, rehabilitation, healthcare, food pantries, immigration assistance, domestic violence and many more). UMMA is in contact with each of these organizations individually in order to stay abreast of what is offered in the community and know where to refer clients for resources based on their needs. In doing so, the UMMA center has been able to make a difference in the lives of the underserved Lake County residents, local elderly, and the Refugee population in the Chicago-land area.