An Open Letter to Weird Al Yankovic

Dear Mr. Yankovic (may we call you Weird Al?),

Thanks for your catchy summer hit “Word Crimes.” We were having a lot of fun bopping to the beat of this parody of “Blurred Lines” and laughing along with your clever lyrics. That is until we reached the final chorus, where you sang “cause you write like a spastic.”

You may not be aware, but “spastic” can carry a very un-funny meaning for people born with cerebral palsy (CP) and other disabilities and their families. We understand you were poking fun at people who don’t use proper grammar by implying that they lack intelligence. There are only so many ways you can say that – “moron,” “clown,” “stupid” – so we understand you have to reach a little for more examples.

But, you should know that “spastic” is a term that describes certain aspects of CP and it has no bearing at all on a person’s intelligence. The term is far too often used to insult people with disabilities, instead of simply describing a condition. Similarly, the word “retarded” long ago moved from the realm of clinical jargon to disrespectful slang for someone with an intellectual disability. It is now rejected as being not only outdated, but also incredibly offensive. When you go on to say “get out of the gene pool, try not to drool” in your song, you are portraying people with disabilities (inaccurately) as somehow less intelligent and less valuable than other human beings.

Here are some facts about CP that you might want to know: there are 17 million people in the world who have CP; it is estimated that 1 in 323 children is born with CP (that’s a pretty big fan base); CP results when an injury to the brain occurs before, during or after birth; and CP can affect mobility, speech and other functions specific to which part of the brain was injured. While people with CP sometimes have other co-occurring disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, it doesn’t automatically mean that they lack intelligence (or a good grasp of the English language). And, it certainly doesn’t mean that they are not deserving of your respect.

Weird Al, we hope you will take this into consideration when you’re writing. We all love a  good laugh,but not at the expense of people with disabilities and their families and friends.

Thank you,

United Cerebral Palsy 

Thank You to Our Champions in Congress!

 

UCP has long relied on several advocates in Congress to help us push for positive Federal policies for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some of these champions – such as Senators Tom Harkin, Jay Rockefeller, and Carl Levin and Representatives Henry Waxman, George Miller, and John Dingell are retiring and passing the baton to the next generation of legislators. 

This video honors those retiring Members of Congress for their legislative successes on behalf of people disabilities and was jointly developed by six national organizations – The Arc, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, and United Cerebral Palsy. 

On behalf of UCP, we would like to say “thank you” to these champions and we look forward to working with other Senators and Representatives who would like to continue their work to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. 

 

Former Deputy Secretary of Labor, LinkedIn VP, Business Leader to Contribute to UCP’s Mission

 

Seth Harris

Seth Harris, Former Deputy Secretary of Labor and Cornell Distinguished Scholar

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) elected ten members to its Board of Trustees during its 2014 Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee including three members new to the organization. Seth Harris, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor, Pablo Chavez, LinkedIn’s Vice President of Public Policy and a parent of a son with a disability, and Ouida Spencer, a long-time UCP advocate and volunteer from Georgia will join seven re-elected members to lead UCP into the future.

“Our Board of Trustees plays a critical role in guiding the UCP network forward, and we are honored to welcome such a talented and knowledgeable group onto the Board this year. We are very grateful for each new member’s dedication to our mission of enabling a life without limits for people with disabilities and their families, and look forward to their contributions,” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy, in announcing the selection of Trustees.

Profiles of the newest board members are below. To view the complete list including re-elected trustees, please visit ucp.org/about/board.

Seth Harris served four and a half years as the US Deputy Secretary of Labor and six months as Acting US Secretary of Labor and a member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet before becoming a Distinguished Scholar at Cornell and joining Dentons’ Public Policy and Regulation practice. He did some consultancy work for UCP in 2007 and 2008, most notably as the designer of the programmatic work that launched UCP’s Life Labs.

While at the Department of Labor, Harris contributed to our country’s economic recovery and millions of Americans returning to work. In 2007, Harris chaired Obama for America’s Labor, Employment and Workplace Policy Committee, and later founded the campaign’s Disability Policy Committee.  He oversaw the Obama-Biden transition team’s efforts in the Labor, Education and Transportation departments and 12 other agencies in 2008.

Also, Harris was a professor of law at New York Law School and director of its Labor and Employment Law programs as well as a scholar of the economics of disability law and topics.

Pablo Chavez is Vice President of Global Public Policy for LinkedIn and the parent of a young son with cerebral palsy. From 2006 to early 2014, Chavez was a member of Google’s public policy and government affairs team, where he held several leadership roles developing and executing advocacy initiatives promoting access to the Internet and other technologies.

Before then, Pablo worked in the US Senate as a counsel to Senator John McCain and to the Senate Commerce Committee. Pablo serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Coletta of Greater Washington, which is dedicated to assisting children and adults with special needs, and serves as a board member and in advisory capacities for a number of technology-related organizations. A graduate of Stanford Law School and Princeton University, Pablo lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two children.

Ouida Spencer has been a licensed Real Estate Broker and consultant in Georgia and South Carolina for over 17 years.  Previously she worked in banking as Senior Vice President with SunTrust Bank and Group Vice President with Decatur Federal.

She specializes in locating homes that can be modified for individuals with special needs and has worked to acquire properties for over 500 people who required special accessibility modifications. Spencer is a tireless advocate for housing rights of individuals with disabilities.

Spencer was nominated to UCP’s Board of Trustees after years of dedication to UCP affiliates in her area and her other volunteer efforts. Spencer is a Member of the DeKalb Association of Realtors, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UCP of Georgia, Member of the UCP Master Board of Directors South Florida/Georgia/South Carolina, Vice Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors UCP of South Carolina and a member of the UCP Affiliate Services Committee. Other volunteer activities include serving on the Board of Trustees of the Rosebud McCormick Foundation for over 26 years.

Spencer is the Past State President of the Georgia Federation of Business and Professional Women Club’s, Inc.  She is currently serving as Treasurer of the Decatur BPW and was recently elected to the Family Extended Care, Inc. board.

A graduate of Georgia State University where she received both her BBA and MBA degrees, Spencer lives in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

 

 

Father and Son Racing Duo Inspire Teams to Get Active, Support UCP

Email Tile vs 3

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is honored to announce that Team Hoyt, Rick Hoyt of Sturbridge, MA and Dick Hoyt of Holland, MA, will serve as the 2014 Steptember event Ambassadors.

Steptember is a four-week event to raise awareness and support for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Beginning on September 3, teams from around the world will challenge themselves to take 10,000 steps a day and fundraise along the way— and nearly any activity, including biking, physical therapy and yoga, can be converted into steps. Find out more about the event and how you can participate on the Steptember website. 

Team Hoyt will lend their “Yes You Can” attitude to rally teams participating in this year’s Steptember event. Last year, over 10,000 people worldwide participated in the challenge and raised nearly $1 million. Team Hoyt is committed to helping make this year’s event an even bigger success!

Rick Hoyt may use a wheelchair, but that has not stopped him from competing in over 1100 athletic events across the past 37 years. Together, Rick and his father Dick are known across the disability community and race circuit as Team Hoyt. They have run in 70 marathons – 32 of them being the Boston Marathon – and have competed in over 250 triathlons. After the pair’s first race in 1977, Rick said running felt like his disability disappeared. He felt free.

Rick was born in 1962 as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy– but despite these disabilities, Rick’s mind and spirit have always been strong.  His family supported his quest for independence and inclusion in community, sports, education, and the workplace, culminating with his graduation from Boston University in 1993. 

Dick travels the country doing corporate and community presentations, educating the public about disability awareness, and promoting the Team Hoyt motto: “Yes You Can.”  Through his presentations, Dick shares his lifelong commitment to changing attitudes and educating others on the world of disabilities. We look forward to seeing this message empower Steptember affiliates, participants, and supporters to adopt the same mentality between now, the event’s conclusion on September 30th, and beyond!

“Our family is personally affected by disability and we know first-hand what perseverance can accomplish. Joining in the Steptember campaign, like a entering a marathon, is a way to show the world what you can do once you have committed to something,” said Dick Hoyt. “When asked to be a part of Stepember, Rick and I accepted right away, as this campaign aligns with the Team Hoyt mission of empowering people with disabilities”

“Dick and Rick Hoyt are the perfect ambassadors for Steptember. They truly embody their motto – “Yes You Can” – and show individuals with disabilities, their families, and the people who care about them how to ‘live a life without limits,’” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP. “We are proud that they are on board to help inspire us all to take 10,000 steps a day toward an admirable goal.”

 Team Hoyt

For more information about Team Hoyt and the duo’s 37 years of racing, please visit their website at www.teamhoyt.com.

 

 

 

UCP ON NEW DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RULE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UCP ON NEW DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RULE

Washington, DC (September 20, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) released the following statement in response to a final rule from the U.S. Department of Labor aimed at tightening the Fair Labor Standards Act by significantly narrowing the “companionship exemption” to give nationwide minimum wage and overtime protections for in-home, direct support caregivers.

“While we understand that the new rule from the Department of Labor is intended to ensure that direct support caregivers are being compensated fairly for their work, there are serious potential consequences to these changes for individuals with disabilities.  Many of the services that these caregivers provide are reimbursed by Medicaid—which in many states does not allow for overtime.  This new rule may limit the services and supports that can be provided to individuals with disabilities living in the community, and ultimately result in more people with disabilities winding up in costly institutions,” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “To avoid this unintended outcome, it is imperative that state Medicaid agencies take advantage of the delayed implementation of this rule to set reimbursement rates that will enable organizations like UCP to continue the in-home, community services and supports that people with disabilities need.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UCP RESPONDS TO LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS COMMISSION REPORT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UCP RESPONDS TO LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS COMMISSION REPORT

Washington, DC (September 19, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) released the following statement in response to the Commission on Long-Term Care’s Final Report to Congress. 

There are currently an estimated 12 million Americans in need of long-term services and supports, and that number is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years. To address this growing need, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program was created— but unfortunately, it was repealed as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

In its stead, the Commission was established to address the issues surrounding long-term care, specifically service delivery, the workforce requirements and financing, and required to produce a report within six months. The Final Report detailing their suggestions was approved by a vote of 9 to 6 on September 12, 2013. However, five of the commissioners who voted “no” released alternate recommendations that suggest financing long-term care through a social insurance program.  

“While we commend the Commission for finishing its work, no easy feat given the short amount of time available and magnitude of the challenges surrounding long-term care, we are disappointed that the Final Report does not address the most critical issue: financing. Any realistic, comprehensive solution to our country’s long-term care issues must address how it will be paid for—and this report fails to do so,” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “However, we must also recognize the recommendations made by the five commissioners who voted against the Final Report. Their proposal, to create a public insurance program that would supplement existing private insurance and family caregiver options, is a feasible starting point to addressing the long-term care crisis our country is facing and should be taken seriously. Overall, the actions of the Commission should serve as a stark reminder of how complex the challenges surrounding long-term are, and how urgent the need is to take action.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UCP Celebrates Health Care Law Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
CONTACT: 
Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org
 

UCP CELEBRATES HEALTH CARE LAW DECISION


Leading disability organization praises Supreme Court decision and implications for people living with disabilities

 
Washington, DC (June 28, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) responded to the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 

The Supreme Court’s ruling today affirms that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, and will ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions will have access to the care they need. For individuals living with disabilities, it provides many critical benefits, most notably removing annual and lifetime caps on insurance coverage and expanding minimum benefits coverage to include more services and supports. The decision also maintains the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, enabling more Americans to have access to health care services, including individuals who need long-term care services.

“The Affordable Care Act has already made a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans, including those living with disabilities. Today’s ruling is an affirmation that all Americans, and especially those living with disabilities, should have access to the care that they need. This decision means that individuals cannot be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition— and for the disability community, affirms the definition of equality as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Stephen Bennett, UCP President & CEO. “Today’s decision is a clear victory for Americans living with disabilities. UCP strongly supports the Affordable Care Act and will keep working to ensure its implementation eliminates disparities and guarantees equality for all Americans.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

Press Briefing Wed. 1:00 p.m. EDT: UCP’S NEW REPORT SHOWS PROGRESS, FAILURES OF STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

MEDIA ADVISORY: Press briefing

CONTACT: 

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UCP’S NEW REPORT SHOWS PROGRESS, FAILURES OF STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

The Case for Inclusion analyzes and ranks states on services for Americans with intellectual and development disabilities

Washington, DC (May 22, 2012)United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) will release The Case for Inclusion and host a press briefing with the author on  Wednesday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. ET. This annual report tracks the progress of community living standards for Americans living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). Author Tarren Bragdon will provide insight into the rankings and data, which advocacy groups and individuals can use to raise awareness for key outcomes for people with disabilities.

WHO:            UCP

WHAT:          Press briefing with The Case for Inclusion author, Tarren Bragdon

WHEN:         1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT)

WHERE:       Toll-free: 1-888-450-5996

                       Participant passcode: 786597

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

Independent Sector Announces the Selection of 2012 American Express NGen Fellows

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2012

Contact: Kristina Gawrgy Campbell; 202 467-6144; KristinaC@IndependentSector.org

Independent Sector Announces the Selection of 2012 American Express NGen Fellows

(Washington, DC)—Independent Sector is pleased to honor the 12 outstanding under-40 leaders from IS member organizations that comprise the 2012 American Express NGen Fellows Program. In its fourth year, this selective fellowship program continues to build the next generation of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders as part of IS’s NGen: Moving Nonprofit Leaders from Next to Now initiative.

The 2012 American Express NGen Fellows are:

  • Ellie Buteau, Vice President-Research, The Center for Effective Philanthropy, Cambridge, MA• Tammy Gregory, Vice President, Quality and Health IT, American Heart Association, Dallas, TX

  • Michael Hill, Senior Vice President of External Affairs, United Cerebral Palsy, Washington, DC

  • David Lee, Policy Advocate, Feeding America, Chicago, IL

  • Katherine Michonski, Director, Business Council on Climate Change, San Francisco, CA

  • Dara Munson, President & CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, MI

  • Alejandro T. Reyes, Counsel, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, DC

  • David Ringer, Media Relations Director, National Audubon Society, New York, NY

  • Jennifer Sigler, CFO/COO, GlobalGiving Foundation, Washington, DC

  • Eric Stowe, Founder & Executive Director, A Child’s Right, Seattle, WA

  • Lindsay Torrico, Manager, Public Policy, United Way Worldwide, Alexandria, VA

  • Vivian Vasallo, Vice President, Housing, AARP Foundation, Washington, DC

The American Express NGen Fellows program gives emerging leaders an exceptional opportunity to strengthen their capacity for future impact. Over the course of nine months, fellows collaborate with other talented under-40 leaders, interact with established mentors, and contribute to Independent Sector’s work on nonprofit impact and leadership.

“Each year, I am impressed by the caliber of extraordinary young leaders selected for the American Express NGen Fellows program,” said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “I look forward to welcoming these talented leaders to our highest echelons, learning from them, and partnering with them to improve life for all.”

The American Express NGen Fellows Program offers these twelve professionals a rare opportunity to strengthen their capacity for future impact. Its programming, anchored by the IS Annual Conference, offers a comprehensive program that develops fellows’ capacity to lead in turbulent times, strengthens their professional networks, and elevates NGen accomplishments on a national level. Over the course of their fellowship, they will also embark on a major keystone project that will positively impact the sector.

“The nonprofit sector plays a critically important role in addressing many of today’s biggest challenges,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Independent Sector and the

NGen Fellows Program offer a great way to focus on strategies that can develop the next generation of leaders and help nonprofits deliver on their full potential to serve the communities in which we all live and work.”

The program runs August 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013, anchored by the IS Annual Conference on November 11-12 in San Francisco.

American Express, the lead sponsor of the American Express NGen Fellows Program, is a major contributor to the development of emerging nonprofit leaders through their Foundation’s philanthropic giving initiative committed to leadership.

Learn more about the American Express NGen Fellows Program.

Read the bios for each of the 2012 American Express NGen Fellows.

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Independent Sector is a leadership network of 600 nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good. Our nonpartisan coalition leads, strengthens, and mobilizes the sector; we advocate for public policies that fortify our communities; and we create unparalleled resources so staff, boards, and volunteers can further their missions and increase their impact. IndependentSector.org.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, twitter.com/americanexpress and youtube.com/americanexpress.

One of American Express’ three philanthropic platforms, Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow, recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit sector. American Express is making grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century.

CIRCLE K FLORIDA DONATES MORE THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS TO UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY AFFILIATES IN FLORIDA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS: 
Lauren Cozzi: 202-973-7114, lcozzi@ucp.org
Alicia Kubert Smith: 202-973-7168,

CIRCLE K FLORIDA DONATES MORE THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS TO
UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY AFFILIATES IN FLORIDA

Presentation at annual fundraising event underscores support 

for people with disabilities in Florida communities

Fort Myers, Fla. (May 10, 2012) – Circle K Florida, the largest corporate supporter of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), presented UCP affiliates with an oversized check for $552,837.73 during an awards dinner and ceremony at the company’s FishStix 2012, an annual golf and fishing tournament at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Myers, Florida. The amount represents the proceeds that were raised from last year’s FishStix event and funds raised through canister donations and other in-store promotions from June 2011 – March 2012.

The check presentation ceremony included Circle K Florida executives, Regional Operations Directors and Store Managers; UCP executives from the Florida affiliates that benefit from Circle K Florida donations; and executives and staff from UCP’s national office in Washington, DC.

UCP shared a special video highlighting UCP clients from six UCP Florida affiliates that were featured in UCP and Circle K’s “Adopt a Child/Adopt a Life” campaign this year. The campaign celebrates and promotes the tremendous difference that Circle K has made in communities across Florida by featuring the story and photo of a UCP client on each coin collection canister that lives in the region that that particular store serves. The campaign helps emphasize that Circle K customers who donate at the register are supporting those in their immediate community.

“Without Circle K’s support, there are many types of services that we provide that we couldn’t continue to provide. Circle K Florida has such a huge impact – hundreds of thousands of people are impacted by their support, just in our territory alone,” said Craig Byrd, Executive Director of UCP of East Central Florida, in the video. 

“Circle K Florida cares deeply about the communities where we have stores and operate,” explained Darrell Davis, Vice President of Circle K Florida. “It is paramount for Circle K Florida to give back to the people that we serve, and our decades-long partnership with UCP will continue to raise funds that serve local people with disabilities, making Florida communities stronger and inclusive of everyone.”

“UCP is grateful to Circle K Florida for its unwavering support of our affiliates serving people with disabilities in their local communities,” said UCP President & CEO, Stephen Bennett. “The partnership with Circle K Florida is unlike any other corporate partnership, because Circle K Florida’s culture has made fundraising for UCP a part of the company culture for thousands of Circle K employees over decades, significantly furthering UCP’s mission to advance independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities.”

Acclaimed actress, comedian, author and disability advocate Geri Jewell was on hand to entertain attendees and celebrate the importance of Circle K Florida’s partnership with UCP. Ms. Jewell is best known as Cousin Geri on the NBC sitcom, “The Facts of Life” and was the first person with a disability to have a regular role on a prime time series. She began her career doing stand up comedy at the Comedy Store in 1978.

After her ground breaking role on “The Facts of Life,” she has appeared on such shows as “The Great Space Coaster,” the Emmy award-winning movie Two of a Kind, “Sesame Street,” “21 Jump Street,” “The Young and the Restless,” “Strong Medicine,” and the HBO hit series, “Deadwood.” Ms. Jewell just recently released her autobiography, I’m Walking As Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond. Just this week, the book was acknowledged with a first place prize in the memoirs category of the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Ms. Jewell entertained the audience with stories from her varied career in Hollywood and experiences as a person with a disability. She emphasized that the real disabilities in life are prejudice, negativity and hatred.

UCP-Circle K Partnership

When the Circle K Corporation purchased the UtoteM chain of convenience stores in 1984, Circle K management adopted UCP as the company’s designated charity. Today, UCP remains Circle K’s charity of choice in the Florida and Gulf regions. Circle K stands as 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.

Circle K and UCP use campaigns that aim to deepen Circle K Florida’s connection to the community and increase support for the UCP affiliates in the region. The “Adopt a Child/Adopt a Life” campaign helps to celebrate and promote the tremendous difference that Circle K Florida has made in communities across Florida. Each coin collection canister in every Circle K Florida store features the story and photo of a UCP client living in the region, which each particular store serves. Circle K Florida customers donating at the register see a true example of one of the many UCP clients that their donation helps to support in the immediate community.                               

This type of targeted campaign that ties donors to outcomes is designed to trumpet the good work of Circle K as a community partner and good corporate citizen. At the same time, it raises public awareness of UCP and the services it provides to people with disabilities, and raise crucial funds that will change their lives for the better. View all canister inserts online at: ucp.org/get-involved/whysupport/circle-k-adopt-a-child-adopt-a-life-campaign.

The “Be a Star” campaign, ran last fall through the holiday season, whereby Circle K Florida patrons were able to purchase a “star” that includes coupons for in-store use on select products. The stars hung throughout the stores to help raise awareness of Circle K’s support of UCP, visualize the significant impact people can have in the lives of people with disabilities in their communities, and encourage other customers to support. This campaign reinforced Circle K Florida’s philosophy of giving back to the communities of which they are a part, by inspiring individuals to support those in their community who need it most.

UCP presented Circle K with its 2011 Chair Award in recognition of a partnership that has spanned three decades and seen the convenience store chain donate tens of millions of dollars to the charity. The Chair Award is UCP’s highest honor and is given by the Chair of UCP’s National Board of Trustees for exemplary commitment to UCP’s mission, as part of UCP’s annual Awards for Excellence, presented to UCP affiliates, individuals and companies whose exceptional activities, achievements and dedication exemplify the UCP mission.

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.