The United Arc recognizes our founding families for their belief in a future of full community inclusion for all. Founded in 1951 by Rita Marguerite Canedy, and incorporated in 1960, The United Arc continues to support people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in achieving the universal goals of inclusion, choice and independence.
In the late 1940’s, Rita Marguerite Canedy, was a mother of two sons with developmental disabilities. At the time, the only option available for parents was to put their children in an institution, as there were no community-based options for support or services. Parents with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities were told, usually by their family physician, to institutionalize their children and get on with their lives. Ms. Canedy did not want to do that. She wrote a letter to the editor of The Greenfield Recorder describing her situation and asked if she was alone. She discovered she was by no means alone. Other parents came forward and with her founded our organization in 1951. We were incorporated in 1960 by our founding family members: Edward H. Letourneau, Robert L. Archer, Jeanne E. LaMontagne, Edward M. Evans, Fred R. Renfrew, Lillian G. Wells and Ms. Canedy.
The United Arc is an affiliated chapter of The Arc of Massachusetts and The Arc of the United States. The state and national organizations maintain ongoing communication with the Arc membership about legislative and budget concerns that impact individuals with disabilities and their families.