Founded to work toward the stabilization and revitalization of the University District, comprised of 13 neighborhoods, the UDO is governed by representatives from community groups, social service agencies, businesses, churches, local government, and institutions.

Primarily a planning organization, the UDO acts as a liaison between the City of Columbus, The Ohio State University, and University District neighborhoods to coordinate community improvement projects. It also seeks funding to implement projects that improve the livability of the district and engage residents in neighborhood participation. The UDO provides information and referral services to residents, potential residents, community organizations, and business owners.