About BUP

I am honored to have been chosen by the Bethesda Urban Partnership’s Board of Directors to chair the organization during the current fiscal year. It is an important year for BUP with the adoption of its new Five-Year Strategic Plan and the reality of significant, new development. 
As we reflect on BUP’s accomplishments over the past year and look with optimism toward the year to come, I think it is important to highlight what makes BUP successful – its abiding commitment to serving the Downtown community.
Downtown Bethesda is one of the most renowned communities in the nation because of our great location, acclaimed schools, diverse restaurants and shops, and a growing arts scene.  These amenities make our downtown a desirable place for residents, local retail businesses, large companies and more.
The principle of service is built into BUP’s core values, from its all-volunteer Board of Directors to its dedicated staff and its relationship with community stakeholders and County partners. It is that principle which will guide the organization as we work to ensure the high-quality of life for all of us who experience the downtown.
I would like to thank all our partners, BUP’s Board of Directors and its staff for their dedication and commitment to realizing Downtown Bethesda’s incredible potential as a cultural destination, commercial center and livable, residential community. 
Best regards,
Robert Donohoe, Jr.
Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc.
Established by Montgomery County in 1994, Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. (BUP) is a downtown management organization that maintains and markets
downtown Bethesda. The organization was developed to promote downtown Bethesda as a desirable place to live, work and visit as well as foster a
community that features restaurants, retailers, arts venues and more.
The BUP team includes more than 35 employees working in marketing, maintenance, transportation and administration who produce cultural events and community festivals and attend to landscaping and maintenance needs. BUP also manages Bethesda Transportation Solutions (BTS), the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, and the Bethesda Circulator as well as the non-profit art spaces, Gallery B and Studio B. 

BUP is operated by an 11-member Board of Directors comprising residents, businesses and developers appointed by the County Executive. The organization is funded primarily by revenue generated from the Bethesda Parking Lot District fees, in addition to the commercial Urban District property tax. Private sponsors partner with BUP on events such as Taste of Bethesda and the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.


Bethesda’s sidewalks, streets and flowerbeds are meticulously maintained by the 14-person BUP maintenance team. Throughout the week the team
manages trash removal, cleans and repairs streets, trims trees, maintains 188,000 square feet of turf and more. Throughout the year the team plants
32,000 flowers, landscaping the flowerbeds and large sidewalk pots with seasonal blooms. The dedicated team is also on site at the festivals and events throughout the year. They assist in setting up and unloading supplies as well as keeping the event site clean and safe. They provide on-site emergency assistance and help to breakdown the events, tidying the area and reopening streets. In addition to their help at events, the crew looks after maintenance needs at Gallery B and Studio B, BUP’s nonprofit art exhibit and studio space. The team is certified in First Aid, CPR and AED.


BUP’s marketing  team creates year-round community events, produces free guides that detail Bethesda’s restaurant, retail, home fashion and arts organizations and operates downtown Bethesda’s Web site, www.bethesda.org. The efforts of BUP’s marketing team target downtown Bethesda’s residents, tourists, visitors and employees. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is also managed by BUP’s marketing team. BUP's marketing team is the producer of Imagination Bethesda, Taste of Bethesda, a free Summer Concert Series, Yappy Hour, Winter Wonderland and Bethesda Outdoor Movies: Stars on the Avenue. To stay up to date on all of the Bethesda Urban Partnership's events and amenities, please join the BUP email list.


The state of Maryland designated downtown Bethesda as an Arts & Entertainment District effective July 1, 2002. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is comprised of a 12-member Board of Directors as well as an advisory committee of local artists and arts businesses representatives. The mission of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is to create and implement arts and entertainment projects that contribute to the artistic, cultural and economic growth of downtown Bethesda. Special tax incentives are in place that will benefit artists, arts enterprises and developers that are located within the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is the producer of the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival, The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, the Bethesda Painting Awards, the Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards, Play In A Day, "Paint the Town," and manages Gallery B and Studio B.


Bethesda Transportation Solutions helps manage the traffic in downtown Bethesda by marketing local, state and federal commuter benefits programs and tax incentives to employers. BTS promotes alternative transportation such as rail, bus, carpools and biking with the goal of reducing the number of Bethesda employees who drive alone to work.