Donovan Fornwalt has been the Director of Governmental Affairs & Disability Policy for the Council since 1998. His long history of disability advocacy began in 1994 when he was director of Advocacy and Legal Rights for the Center for Accessible Living in Louisville. Even in these early days he demonstrated his proclivity for strategic successes by lobbying successfully for the first funding increase for the Personal Care Attendant Program since its inception in 1984.
Prior to joining the staff at the Council, Donovan served as the principal assistant to then-Senate Majority Floor Leader David Karem, where he was responsible for health and disability policy, staffing the Rules Committee, and serving as liaison to the Senate Caucus and the Office of the Senate President.
Besides extensive experience on a broad, statewide scale that requires both savvy in the national arena and ability to navigate Kentucky and medicaid finance systems, Donovan brings a personal perspective to his role as executive director. In addition to serving as an advocate for this own family members with developmental disabilities, he has been a family home provider for a young man with developmental disabilities for nineteen years, who long ago became friends with Donovan and his children.
Highlights of his accomplishments during his tenure at the Council include:
Kentucky Delegate to the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation, Washington, D.C.
- An International Collaborative of advocates, legislators, and policymakers. Participated in the PCMR committee planning and drafting of the framework for House Bill 144 and Fiscal year 2000-2002 Budget Request.
Successful Lobbying Results; 300% Increase in SCL Funding since 1998.
- House bill 144 (2000 Regular): $50 million in additional funding for the SCL Medicaid Waiver Program;
- House Bill 449: strengthened the rights of appeal for parents of residents of ICF/MR facilities:
- House Bill 488: Guarantees freedom of choice for people with disabilities who use Medicaid transportation services;
- House Bill 269 2003 Session): Helped secure $34.8 million additional funds for SCL Program-despite a $450 million Medicaid deficit and General Fund shortfall.
Co-founder of the Coalition for Quality and Choice
- Unique short-term collaboration of 53 service providers, advocacy groups, churches, business and civic organizations committed to improving the fiscal effort on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. Coordinated all media events, legislative strategies and negotiations with the Executive Branch. Developed mission, briefings, and membership.