UCP Oregon’s mission is to support independence, productivity, and full citizenship for individuals touched by developmental disabilities. We believe in the power of real choice, real jobs, real homes, and real connections for all—a full life for those we serve.
It is clear that experiencing a full life can be extremely challenging, given the funding and service delivery systems that currently exist for people with developmental disabilities.
In an effort to remove barriers and support meaningful lives for our customers, UCP Oregon is excited to announce the creation of the Bill Porter Memorial Fund.
To honor Bill’s legacy, the UCP Oregon Board of Directors have designated $250,000 from the agency’s assets to seed the fund. Guided by a fundraising, investment, and disbursement strategy, it is UCP Oregon’s intention to grow the principal to $1,000,000; including $500,000 contributed by individual donors and community businesses, and a further allocation $250,000 of UCP’s assets in the future.
Annually, per the Bill Porter Memorial Fund disbursement policy, awards of up to $5,000-$7,000 will be provided until each year’s allowed annual disbursement amounts is reached.
Anyone can refer an applicant; however, applicants must be currently receiving services from UCP Oregon to be considered. UCP Oregon customers can apply each year regardless of prior receipt of funds.
Department Directors, with oversight from UCP Oregon’s Board of Directors, will review applications for selection.
Bill Porter: The History
Bill Porter was an Oregonian who experienced cerebral palsy. He was not defined by his disability or diagnosis, but instead by his incredible achievements while employed as a door-to-door salesperson for Watkins Products.
Bill began his career at Watkins in 1961. In those days, salespeople like Bill strove to generate $1000 in monthly sales, which would earn them entry into the coveted “Watkins $1000 Club.” Bill managed to achieve this goal while compensated strictly on commission and assigned to the most challenging territory in Portland (which involved walking eight to ten miles per day).
Over his 40 year Watkins career, he was also recognized as the top-selling Watkins salesperson in the Oregon and Northwest Region, and was among the ten top Watkins salespeople in the United States.
As Bill said, “Keep on trying. Opportunities will come eventually as they did for me.” And: “People change their minds when they fully understand.”
Bill’s story was made into a TNT original film, Door to Door, in 2002, and was shown nationally by the Turner Broadcasting System. UCP Oregon, and the national UCP affiliate network, organized screenings across the country. Actor William H. Macy, who starred as Bill Porter, said, “Bill is a successful salesperson. That’s hard to do even if you don’t have cerebral palsy…. he succeeded wildly. He stayed his own man all through his life.”
Bill’s incredible story of perseverance was also portrayed in a book, Ten Things I Learned from Bill (New World Library, June 2002), which was written by former delivery assistant and business partner, Shelly Brady. As Shelly shares in her book, “Bill Porter is a perfect example of an individual succeeding because he stayed focused on something he felt passionate about.”
Bill and his family recognized how valuable UCP’s services can be for people who experience cerebral palsy.