Meet Our Founder

Remembering UPLIFT Founder, Rev. Burt Smith,1987 Vision for the Missional Ministry of UPLIFT

Reverend Burton S. Smith was a profoundly influential figure in San Diego's Faith Community as the Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, San Diego. During his tenure in the mid-1980s, he noticed many people in the neighborhood with unmet needs. Especially as the redevelopment of Horton Plaza displaced many pockets of poverty from the Downtown area.

UPLIFT is an original "Missional Ministry" intended to lift up our immediate neighbors through regional engagement, creating a simple way for Suburban Churches to serve in San Diego's urban core. "Come and See" Weekend's were hosted for those interested in a firsthand walk through the neighborhoods of need and spend the night camping on the street. ​

Reverend Smith passed away in May 2011, but his vision of a San Diego transformed with God's Love lives on through UPLIFT everyday. His family, wonderful wife Audrey, and four sons continue to support UPLIFT and help us carry the torch of Reverend Smith's work in San Diego today.

Founding UPLIFT Advocate Mildred Hawkins

Our Vision