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United Cerebral Palsy

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About United Cerebral Palsy

UCP Timeline of Achievements


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About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) was founded more than 60 years ago - in 1949 - by parents of children with cerebral palsy. Today, UCP is a leading service provider and advocate for children and adults with disabilities. Since its inception, UCP has been committed to change and progress for persons with disabilities and strives to ensure the inclusion into every facet of society - from the web to the workplace, from the classroom to the community - to ensure a life without limits for people with disabilities.

One of the largest health nonprofits in the U.S., the UCP mission is to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities through an affiliate network. This includes approximately 100 local service providers, known as "affiliates," reaching more than 176,000 individuals and their families daily in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and the U.K. (Scotland).

We strive to build a better world for tomorrow-today. The backbone of UCP is the services that are provided by our affiliates. Affiliates' services include housing, therapy, assistive technology training, early intervention programs, individual and family support, social and recreation programs, community living, state and local referrals, employment assistance and advocacy. Each affiliate offers a range of services tailored to its community's needs.

The national office in Washington, DC, supports the affiliate network through fundraising, marketing and communications, best practices and programmatic support. The UCP national office also advocates on behalf of individuals with disabilities; advances federal disability public policy (Disability Policy Collaboration); provides information and referral; and develops forward-thinking initiatives and programs like Life Without Limits and My Child Without Limits.

UCP Timeline of Achievements


UCP is among a select group of nonprofit organizations invited to the White House in May to discuss ways to address the unique challenges facing military families, build stronger civilian-military community ties, while engaging and highlighting the service and sacrifice of military families. Known as Leadership 18, a forum of the largest human development nonprofit CEOs aiming to improve strategic leadership and inspire collective action to improve people's lives and the conditions in which they live

UCP and the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) celebrate a new partnership by co-hosting a fall forum in September, featuring a panel of leading researchers, medical experts, technologists and futurists who explore advances that are changing the ways that people with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities live their lives.    

UCP and affiliate Capability Scotland commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and 15th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act in the United Kingdom, with an event hosted by British Ambassador, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, and Lady Sheinwald at the British Embassy Residence in Washington, DC. The evening honors efforts of those who created the landmark laws and continue to work to achieve a life without limits for people with disabilities.


UCP launches the interactive, future forecasting, role-playing immersive experience, Ruby's Bequest as part of its Life Without Limits initiative. The program demonstrates that the community, instead of government, will find strategies to create the future of caregiving.

UCP launches My Child Without Limits in April.


UCP launches My Child Without Limits in April.


Emmy-nominated actress Cheryl Hines becomes a member of UCP Board of Trustees.


Dozens of "Focus Groups in a Box" are sent to organizations across the country, envisioning how a future that includes a life without limits for people with disabilities.

UCP affiliates in more states, including Massachusetts and Texas. Alberta (Canada) affiliate begins hosting Rides Without Limits, Walks Without Limits and Laughs Without Limits.


Life Without Limits initiative launches in April, beginning a far-reaching dialogue about how people with disabilities can become fully integrated in society.


UCP and TNT presents the original film, Door to Door, featuring former UCP Board of Trustee William H. Macy, who portrayed Bill Porter, a celebrated salesman with cerebral palsy.

UCP ranks 18th in Non-Profit Times' list of Top 100 nonprofit organizations.

UCP announces William H. Macy as UCP Ambassador.


UCP joins forces with The Arc of the United States in establishing the Disability Policy Collaboration, focusing on mutual legislative and legal supports to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families.


UCP launches www.ucp.org


UCP launches a new television event, Star Fest, to replace the UCP telethon. Star Fest features sports celebrities such as Pete Sampras, Monica Seles and Bob Costas, Dan O'Brien, entertainment notables such as Tyra Banks, and hosts Charles Perez, Brian Austin Green, Audrey Landers, Paul Williams and "Downtown" Julie Brown.


Washington Watch, a bi-monthly newsletter for the disability community on important happenings in the nation's capital affecting people with disabilities, is launched by UCP.


UCP becomes one of the first national charities to merge onto the information superhighway by establishing a national World Wide Web presence. (It has evolved into the site you are on now!)

UCP wins the American Society of Association Executive's prestigious Summit Award for its ADA Report Card on America and its impact on improving the lives of people with disabilities nationwide.


Three new publications expand UCP's outreach to persons with cerebral palsy and their families: UCP's Basic Bookshelf, a brochure describing more than 15 books, available through the UCP Materials Mailing Center, that are of particular interest to children and adults with cerebral palsy and their families; Walk With Me, a book written by an eight-year-old who has cerebral palsy; and Each of Us Remembers: Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy Answer Your Questions, a manual for parents who have just learned that their child has cerebral palsy.

The first National Invitational Colloquium on Aging and Cerebral Palsy is held in conjunction with UCP's Annual Conference in Washington, DC.


UCP leads the fight for amendments to the Rehabilitation Act that vastly improves access to employment services for individuals with severe physical disabilities.

UCP conducts its first ADA Report Card on America , a national survey monitoring the effectiveness of the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, which has become an annual survey conducted by UCP.


Casual Day, one of UCP's most successful national fundraisers, is launched with Levi Strauss & Co. as the national sponsor. Casual Day, an event still conducted by UCP affiliates today, encourages office workers to dress casually at the office for a day in exchange for a contribution to UCP. This program helped American businesses pioneer the acceptance of "Casual Fridays" and helped fuel the trend of casual dress in the workplace.


UCP is a major leader in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act which, for the first time, extends basic civil rights protections to persons with disabilities in the areas of employment, transportation, public accommodations and telecommunications.


UCP plays a significant role in the passage of the Technology-Related Assistance Act, which created new incentives for states to improve access to assistive technology for children and adults with disabilities.


UCP's "Like a Person" theme is highlighted through two notable achievements: the TV public service announcement featuring actor Tony Danza wins the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped Award, and the new film, "Like a Person", wins first place at the 18th Annual Film/Video Festival of the Public Relations Society of America.


Comedienne Geri Jewell and Producer/Director Tom Ritter, both well-known individuals with cerebral palsy, appear on UCP's Weekend with the Stars telethon, providing positive, successful role models for people with cerebral palsy.


A meeting is convened at the California Ames Research Center between NASA's scientists and engineers, university deans and professors, medical professionals and lay people, leading to the transfer of space age technology to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Some benefits included applying lightweight space materials to make wheelchairs more mobile, using remote control devices to help disabled limbs move, developing multi-directional conveyances to allow people with disabilities to surmount obstacles including stairs, and using an astronaut's sensory device to enable people who are blind to cross streets safely.


Isabelle and Leonard Goldenson, along with Dr. William Berenberg and other doctors and scientists, addressed the Brademas Congressional Appropriations Committee, which resulted in public funding for orthopedic equipment and making public buildings, telephones, transportation and parking spaces accessible to people with disabilities in the United States.


Research funded by UCP isolates the rubella (German Measles) virus and developes a vaccine for the disease. The vaccine is licensed and distributed to immunization programs in public schools.


UCP allocates $581,230 to research. Dr. Brewster S. Miller, UCP's national Medical Director, predicts: "Major breakthroughs in the field of cerebral palsy are not only possible, but may actually happen in the near future."


New laws are passed by state legislatures benefitting people with disabilities. Congress steps up neurological research and appropriations. Professional seminar programs are intensified.


UCP takes the lead in planning a Joint National Conference on Vocational Guidance of the Neurologically Disabled. Increasing numbers of civic, fraternal and professional organizations support the work of UCP.


Isabelle Goldenson convinces Dr. Sidney Farber at Harvard Medical School of the need for research into the prevention of cerebral palsy. Dr. Farber brings in 14 of the top medical scientists from across the country, including Dr. Houston Merritt, Dean of Columbia's Medical School, and members of the National Institutes of Health, to form the United Cerebral Palsy Research & Educational Foundation.


Karen by Marie Killelea is published and becomes the first widely read book about a mother's experience with a child with cerebral palsy. It hit the best seller list in only four weeks.

A grant-in-aid program is initiated to train therapists and teachers and thus cope with shortage of professional personnel working with people with disabilities.


The first UCP telethon, called "Celebrity Parade," is held in Chicago. It lasts 15 hours and raises a total of $972,106.


The name of the organization was changed to United Cerebral Palsy, and affiliates across the nation were formed.


Today United Cerebral Palsy, the organization is incorporated as the National Foundation for Cerebral Palsy.

12,000 people assemble from the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America to attend the first Cerebral Palsy Conference.


An advertisement placed in the New York Herald Tribune seeking parents of children with cerebral palsy interested in improving services for their children, generates 350 responses from families in New York City and the surrounding area.


Leonard and Isabelle Goldenson work with Mary Lasker, Anna Rosenberg and Florence Mahoney to help establish the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health. The Goldensons each appointed to four-year terms on the advisory board for the Institute. Source www.ucp.org  


History of United Cerebral Palsy

Big Sky

UCP Commercial

Don't Know What You're Missing

Socks & Dignity

William H Macy on My Child Without Limits.org

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