INDIANA – LIFEDesigns’ Board of Directors unanimously voted to combine LIFEDesigns, Inc. with Developmental Services, Inc. (DSI), taking effect December 1, 2021.
While both agencies are successful and financially sound, this is a strategic decision to take a proactive step to ensure the sustainability of both organizations well into the future. LIFEDesigns and DSI are strong agencies, providing high-quality services that boast substantial capital and program influence in Indiana and are often the models for service innovation and quality within the industry. LIFEDesigns and DSI also have a decade-long history of working together, sharing resources and best practice standards through the industry’s trade association, INARF, and the Strategic Indiana Provider Network (SIPN). This partnership has resulted in the agency becoming one of the largest non-profit organizations in Indiana helping those with disabilities.
LIFEDesigns and DSI will remain in their respective local communities and continue to provide the high-quality services the disabled population is accustomed to receiving.
Families and caregivers have not seen and will not see any disruption in services from the partnership. DSI and LIFEDesigns will continue to use their respective logos and operate under their respective mission and visions. Local donations will stay local. There has been no loss of jobs or programs since the partnership took effect, and the partnership is committed to maintaining this — no employees will lose their jobs and no programming will be cut.
“The decision by the Board to combine with DSI is proactive and strategic – as human service agencies, we are staying ahead of the curve and making the best decisions possible for the individuals with disabilities in our great state of Indiana. We will be better and more successful together, and I am excited for the future opportunities this brings,” stated LIFEDesigns’ Chief Executive Officer, Russell Bonanno.
“Together, we will be able to offer more comprehensive services to clients. Our partnership will provide more resources and high-quality programming to those with disabilities across southern and central Indiana.” said Shane Burton, Chief Executive Officer of DSI.
LIFEDesigns was formed through a 2012 partnership between Options and Christole. Both agencies grew from the same grassroots efforts grounded in local, nonprofit services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Several families wanted to better meet the residential and long-term care needs of their children than was available at that time. Better Living for Special People (BLSP) and Christole both opened in 1981. These families felt smaller, more personal homes would provide a greater quality of life for their children than institutions or nursing homes. BLSP served Monroe, Owen, and Lawrence counties, providing respite for 22 families in their first year, later adding group homes, independent living, and community-based supports. The name changed to Options for Better Living, Inc. in 1990 and was shortened to Options in 2007. Separately, Christole grew to 7 group homes in Monroe, Brown, and Bartholomew counties by 2011.
LIFEDesigns now provides an array of services including employment supports, group homes, independent and supported living, respite, and family supports. Developmental Services, Inc., or better known as DSI, was established in 1975 and provides early intervention for infants and toddlers, residential living options, job training, placement and follow-along, respite care, family support, and individualized community-based services. DSI serves over 40 counties in Southern Indiana with 11 facility locations, and headquarters in Columbus, Indiana.