Sarah Ford | March 9, 2012

Featured Charity: United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)

Did you know more than 65% of people served by UCP have disabilities OTHER than Cerebral Palsy? From disabilities evidenced from birth to traumatic brain injury from a car accident, UCP and its affiliates are committed to creating a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities.

What does your organization do?

An estimated 54 million Americans live with a disability. Some need lots of support, others only a little. But all deserve to live a life without limits. United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities, not just cerebral palsy.

Together with our network of service providers (known as affiliates), UCP works to enact changes that increase accessibility and independence for people with a spectrum of disabilities, so they can live their lives without limits. 

What differentiates UCP from other disability organizations is its commitment to provide support throughout the lifespan of a person with a disability with special emphasis on key moments of transition: birth to early childhood, early childhood to school, school to early adulthood and into the aging years.

UCP also provides broad supports for families and caregivers of people with disabilities and seeks innovative solutions, often based in technology, to conquer the barriers facing people with disabilities.

Where is your organization located?

United Cerebral Palsy’s national office is in Washington, DC, and our network of affiliates are scattered across the United States, Canada, Scotland, and Australia. Each affiliate is an independent 501c3 organization that offers a range of services tailored to its community’s unique needs (housing, therapy, employment assistance, etc.).

UCP national supports the affiliate network; advocates on behalf of individuals with disabilities; advances federal disability public policy; provides information and referral services; and develops programs like “Life Without Limits” and “Public & Education Outreach” Initiatives.

What are some of your programs and initiatives?

A key component of succeeding in our effort to attain fair and full citizenship for people with disabilities is educating and empowering those with disabilities, as well as those without a defined disability. UCP recently expanded its Public Education & Outreach (PEO) initiatives to connect individuals and families with the resources and services they need:

  • My Child Without Limits (MCWL) – This is a reliable online destination for parents and caregivers of children with a spectrum of disabilities, ages 0-5 years old, offering educational resources and a social network community.
  • BraveKids – Launching in April 2012, this resource serves children ages 6-17 with disabilities and chronic/life threatening illnesses by providing information and resources on numerous medical conditions. Brave Kids continues and expands on MCWL, serving as the “next step” for MCWL users.
  • My Life Without Limits – Students with disabilities are receiving increased attention and opportunity at the K-12 level; however, far too few are making a successful transition to adulthood. UCP’s My Life Without Limits program will provide resources and support to those making the transition through these issues and a social engine for people to interact, share experiences and organize to promote social change.
  • Siblings Initiative – The sibling relationship is often the most long-lasting familial relationship, and siblings typically play a key role in providing support for people with disabilities throughout their life. UCP’s Siblings Project will provide information, resources and support to siblings of individuals with disabilities through an interactive website and social networking community and will add research to the field of family roles and interactions within the disabilities space.

How can my company help?

UCP receives monetary gifts from companies made in honor of an employee or at the request of an employee. At the local level, companies provide both in-kind and monetary support for affiliates’ various walks/runs, auctions, or other events.

One of the more successful national partnerships is with Circle K Stores. UCP remains Circle K’s charity of choice in the Florida and Gulf regions and is UCP’s largest corporate sponsor, having raised more than $40 million over the life of the partnership through coin collection canisters at retail sites and with special events like golf tournaments, casual days, bake sales and car washes. 

Companies can get involved through a tailored cause marketing program; UCP is happy to work with the individual goals of each company, including creating programs that promote employee engagement.

What kind of impact will my donation have & what are some other ways I can help?

Donations to UCP are put to immediate use to support our affiliates, provide information and referral services, maintain our national public education and outreach initiatives, and launch innovative programs. 

A donation today will allow UCP to accelerate the launch of its Public Education offerings, so that struggling parents and caregivers access the critical information they need, and people with disabilities can receive vital support to create a better life for themselves and those they love.

There are several ways you can help, including (click here for more ideas):

  • Donate Your Vehicle – donate your used car, van, truck, boat with a trailer, or other recreational vehicle
  • Volunteer – volunteer your expertise through clerical and administrative support
  • Donate Your Timeshare – earn a tax write-off and support UCP at the same time
  • Give at Work – participate in your employer’s workplace giving campaign and pledge a gift using automatic payroll deduction
  • Leave a Legacy – advance the lives of people with disabilities by including UCP in your estate plan
  • Give in Tribute – celebrate special moments like birthdays and anniversaries by making a gift in memory of a loved one

What do you wish more people knew about your organization?

UCP affiliates provide services to people with a spectrum of disabilities. In fact, more than 65% of people served by our affiliates have disabilities other than cerebral palsy, including Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, physical disabilities and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Globally, UCP is committed to change and progress for children and adults with disabilities, whether it is a disability evidenced from birth, the result of an accident, or as a consequence of aging.

Do you have any current or upcoming events?

September 4, 2012: World CP Day

This worldwide event promotes awareness about cerebral palsy and will include a month-long CP Challenge (a pedometer program that is perfect for corporate wellness programs), an international public awareness campaign and a special fund-raising launch on September 4, 2012.

September 22, 2012: College 101: Navigating the World of Higher Education

This is a daylong “boot camp” for youth with a spectrum of disabilities, their parents, and higher education professionals.  Designed for those about to begin their college search or about to enter college, the day will feature interactive forums and presentations to inform and empower them to successfully navigate their transition to college.


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