Leonard H. Goldenson, is best known as the founder and former President of ABC. However, even though he hobnobbed with U.S. Presidents and royalty, his family was collectively ostracized when they were out in public with their daughter Genise who was born with cerebral palsy.
In the 1940s, disabled people were treated as second-class citizens and endured pervasive social and professional discrimination.
Goldenson’s wife Isabelle Weinstein Goldenson, refused to accept this terrible treatment of their daughter and so they started a campaign to raise money to support research and founded UCP in 1949. UCP since its inception has tireless efforts resulted in the passage of unprecedented federal legislation that has helped protect the rights of disabled people and make life more accessible to them. In fact, UCP raised awareness about horrific living conditions for disabled people living in state institutions. As a result, the thousands of disabled people were released nationwide.
UCP now has several support centers all over the world and US. Loreen Arbus, youngest daughter of Goldenson has accepted the mantle of leadership in promoting the welfare of those less fortunate, as is evident from her work with Women Who Care. She annually hosts the Women Who Care Luncheon to not only benefit UCP but also to honor people who have broken the glass ceiling and or have done something significant to help improve lives of other people.
The concept and mission of UCP does strike a chord with the people because as Edward Matthews, CEO of UCP of New York points out that parents of disabled children want a better and fulfilling life for their kids. “The expectations of parent’s now is that, children with development disabilities, regardless of the level of that, will lead a normal life and have a job and will live in the community and lead a normal life. The expectations have risen enormously!” said Matthews proudly.
UCP has improved lives of millions people with disabilities. It has fought for the rights of individuals that have done nothing to deserved the discrimination and treatment that society bestowed on them years ago.