UCP Celebrates Life & Accomplishments of Founder and Board Member, Nina Eaton


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

UCP Celebrates Life & Accomplishments of Founder and Board Member, Nina Eaton

Entire disability community mourns loss of dedicated, accomplished colleague

Washington, DC (April 2, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) — an international advocate, educating and providing support services for children and adults with a spectrum of disabilities — mourns the loss of Nina Eaton, one UCP’s founders, an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees, and a longtime supporter and advocate for people with disabilities, who passed away on Friday, March 30.

“UCP is saddened to lose such a tremendous advocate whose life’s work has been integral to advancing the civil rights movement for people with disabilities,” said Stephen Bennett, former UCP President & CEO. “Nina was an amazing woman and will be greatly missed among the UCP family and disability advocates. Our deepest sympathies go to the entire Eaton family.”

A funeral service was held at Boulevard-Riverside-Hewlett Chapel, 1450 Broadway, Hewlett, New York 11557, this morning, and the family will be sitting Shiva on Monday and Tuesday at 8 Hazel Place, Woodmere, New York 11598. Cards and notes of condolence can be sent to the Eaton family, 543 Derby Avenue, Woodmere, New York 11598.

Eaton’s son, Leonard Eaton, was born with cerebral palsy in 1941 and led his young, uncertain mother towards a lifetime of advocacy for people with disabilities. Eaton and other parents, including UCP founders Leonard and Isabelle Goldenson along with Jack and Ethel Hausman, laid the foundation for a far-reaching organization that has enhanced the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities. More than a half century later, UCP is an international network of nearly 100 affiliates serving more than 176,000 people with disabilities and their families on a daily basis.

Eaton was a founding member of the New York State Cerebral Palsy Association in 1946. As the organization evolved into UCP in 1949, Eaton helped educate communities about cerebral palsy, which, like most developmental disabilities at the time, carried significant social stigma. She is well known for her persistent lobbying, leading to regional and national expansion of community-based services for people with disabilities.

Eaton remained an active leader in the disability community, and served on the Board of Directors of UCP of Suffolk for the past 20 years. She also served on the UCP national Board of Trustees and most recently as an Emeritus board member.

UCP honors an affiliate with the Nina Eaton Program of the Year Award, as part of the UCP Awards for Excellence, on an annual basis. The UCP affiliate award winners are honored for making an extraordinary contribution to the quality of life to people with disabilities through the delivery of state-of-the art direct services in the affiliate’s community. Award recipients are chosen based on affiliates’ ability to enable the individuals served to become more independent, productive or integrated into the family or community, and the programs stand out as a model worthy of replication by other UCP affiliates. Eaton loved the Awards for Excellence presentations and served as the Emcee for many years. She added her charm and wit to the evening of celebrating the accomplishments of UCP affiliates and individuals, in multiple categories.

“Nina was so much a part of our history and our lives,” said Stephen H. Friedman, President and CEO, UCP of Suffolk. “The lives of individuals with disabilities will be forever enriched because of her legacy. I know you all join me in extending sincere sympathy to the Eaton family.”

About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services 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.