February 22, 2019

Gatepath and Abilities United Enter Merger Talks

Two Bay Area nonprofits serving individuals with developmental disabilities explore strategic alliance to proactively address significant underfunding of California’s disabilities system.

Redwood City, CA – Gatepath, headquartered in Redwood City, and Abilities United of Palo Alto, two award-winning nonprofits dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities, have announced they are entering formal merger discussions.

This decision is designed to address the challenges posed by the increasing costs of doing business in California over the last decade while the funding for California’s disabilities system has been reduced by more than $1.1 billion.  The resulting economic pressures have created a systemwide crisis seriously impacting some of California’s most vulnerable residents.  Like other Bay Area nonprofits, Gatepath and Abilities United are addressing the harsh reality of these financial pressures, ensuring continuity and quality of the services they provide.

The leadership teams of both organizations believe that by joining together, Gatepath and Abilities United will provide a unique opportunity to ensure important services continue to thrive and grow for Bay Area children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Gatepath and Abilities United have been providing a lifespan of support services to thousands of children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities and their families in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties collectively for more than 150 years.  Gatepath has 11 program sites that span the Peninsula from Daly City to Sunnyvale, and Abilities United has two locations in Palo Alto.

“Combining our two organizations will be incredibly advantageous to the families we care so much about,” said Bryan Neider, Gatepath’s Chief Executive Officer.  “We believe the merger will provide an opportunity to scale our administrative functions, allowing additional resources to be dedicated to direct care staff and the important programs they provide.”

“We have strategically and proactively addressed the financial challenges brought about by California’s underfunding of the developmental disabilities systems,” said Jennifer Wagstaff-Hinton, Abilities United Board President.  “We explored many options, all aimed at ensuring the individuals and families we serve would continue to receive the services they have counted on from us.”

“We are very excited about the future opportunities for this combined organization. Abilities United and Gatepath will create a stronger, more unified front to serve and represent our community members with developmental disabilities,” stated Charlie Weidanz, Abilities United Chief Executive Officer.

The two organizations are committed to their shared mission of improving the lives of those with developmental disabilities.  “We envision a world where people of all abilities are fully accepted, respected and included in all aspects of society,” said Elaine Cohen, Chair, Gatepath Board of Directors. “Jointly, we are in a better position to make this vision a reality for our community’s most vulnerable citizens.”


Gatepath has been a cornerstone of our community for more than 98 years, providing a lifespan of support services to individuals with developmental disabilities in the greater Bay Area. Our mission is to empower people with developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential through innovative, inclusive programs and community partnerships. With educational, therapeutic, vocational and family support services, we are distinctive in providing support to an individual throughout his or her lifetime. We collaborate with businesses, third party providers, local nonprofits and various organizations to bring the highest quality services to the children, youth and adults in our programs. Together, we are creating a world where people of all abilities are fully accepted, respected and included in all aspects of life – in the classroom, the workplace and in our communities.


Founded in 1963 by 12 Palo Alto families whose children had intellectual disabilities, Abilities United serves a diverse group of individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area, who have developmental (autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and intellectual disability) and physical disabilities or are at risk of developmental delay.

Abilities United advances advocacy, inclusion, and independence for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Since its inception, Abilities United has offered people of all ages and abilities educational, therapeutic, recreational, and vocational experiences to help them lead meaningful lives as well as resource connections that make it easier for them to lead the lives they chose. Abilities United sees a world where people of all abilities live, learn, work, and play together. Although Abilities United primarily serves people with developmental disabilities and their families, people without disabilities can benefit from services as well.

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