In the 1940’s, there were not many options for people with disabilities. Faced with fear and a lack of understanding from medical professionals and the public at large, individuals with disabilities were relegated to second-class status. Medical professionals frequently urged parents to warehouse their children with disabilities in institutions, where they lived out their lives, segregated from the rest of society. Many parents felt isolated, helpless, and alone.

In 1948, Leonard Goldenson, President of ABC Television and United Paramount Theaters, with his wife, Isabelle, joined with prominent New York businessman Jack Hausman, and his wife, Ethel to improve the quality of life for their children with cerebral palsy and for others like them.

The two families placed an advertisement in the NEW York Herald Tribune to recruit families interested in improving available services to children with disabilities so that Hundreds of parents of children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities joined the Goldenson’s and Hausman’s crusade to create an organization to improve services for people with disabilities. It was from this grass roots beginning that UCP was born as a national organization in 1949.