United Cerebral Palsy of Detroit (UCP/Detroit) and United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan (UCP/Michigan) have merged to expand the scope of service and reach provided to the disabled community, they announce.

The new entity is MI-UCP (pronounced My-UCP), and will continue to operate from offices in Detroit and Lansing. The merger became official on July 1, 2020, but the announcement was delayed due to the COVID Pandemic, according to a media release.

“This is positive news in times where we are seeing people with disabilities become increasingly disenfranchised. With approximately 1.4 million people with disabilities in Michigan, there’s a definite need for the services we provide. Our goal is to close the disability divide that has marginalized so many of our clients. They deserve every advantage that we all have.”

— MI-UCP President and CEO Leslynn Angel

Working Together for One Mission

The two merging organizations were founded in 1949, the same year that the national organization, United Cerebral Palsy, was founded. They have joined together to work for one mission “To enable all Michiganders with disabilities to live to the best of their abilities and ambitions.”

The new MI-UCP aims to serve every person in Michigan with a disability, including those affected by cerebral palsy, autism, spinal cord injuries, intellectual disabilities, visual impairments and many other disabling conditions. And, because COVID is disproportionately affecting people with disabilities, they further aim to help reduce that disparity.

As an advocacy organization, MI-UCP closes the disability divide by providing services connecting its clients to organizations that can best address a particular need.

Examples of services include: a Representative Payee program to assist with financial matters; Benefits Counseling that helps individuals navigate complicated systems like Social Security and Medicaid; and Assistive Technology that can be provided via grants to address needs in the areas of mobility, communication, learning, transportation, independent living and more. MI-UCP also provides Quick Ramps for Kids who are in need of an inexpensive, portable option for wheelchair accessibility, the release continues.

The staff would remain the same, and that there were several changes to the board, Angel notes in the release. New to the board as Treasurer is David Brown, and moving from the Treasurer position to board member is Charlie Hawes.

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