United Ability

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United Ability (formerly Spastic Aid of Alabama and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham or UCP of Greater Birmingham) is a non-profit organization that supports individuals and families affected by intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, spina bifida and other conditions affecting physical and mental functioning.

The organization was founded in August 1948 by a group of local citizens. Rabbi Milton Grafman served as its first president. Its offices are located at 100 Oslo Circle in Birmingham's Oxmoor neighborhood. Gary Edwards, who died in 2020, was CEO of the organization for 35 years.

Since 1950 the organization has been supported by the Civiettes Club. Beginning in 1960 at the initiative of developer Newman Waters who sat on the charity's board of directors, Spastic Aid of Alabama also received proceeds from coins tossed into one of the two fountains at Eastwood Mall. Spastic Aid of Alabama changed its name to United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham when it opened the new John W. Simpson Cerebral Palsy Center in 1972.

In 1995 UCP joined with The Arc of Jefferson County and Positive Maturity to merge their respective transportation services as the Birmingham Regional Paratransit Consortium (ClasTran). From 1998 to 2004 UCP of Greater Birmingham was the beneficiary of proceeds from the sale of WRAX-FM's "Live in the X Lounge" compilation albums. The organization moved to its present 20-acre campus in 2001.

In 2016 UCP took in an estimated $15.7 million in revenues and employed a staff of 83 people locally. In 2017 UCP, whose focus had grown well beyond only serving those with cerebral palsy, rebranded itself as United Ability.

Lee Yount was tapped to succeed Edwards as interim director in July 2020. Susan Sellers was hired as permanent director in March 2021.


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