LIFEDesigns’ Board Voted to Combine LIFEDesigns, Inc. with Developmental Services, Inc. (DSI)

On November 1, 2021, 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 to 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

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.

Agencies’ Histories:

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 home,
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 home, 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.

If you have any questions regarding this merger, please email