By Gina Macris
Donna Martin, the leader of a trade association representing two thirds of Rhode Island’s private providers of developmental disability services, will move to a new national advocacy post effective March 1.
Since 2005, Martin has worked as executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI), helping about two dozen members weather drastic cuts in state and federal Medicaid funding in imposed by the General Assembly in 2011, with rippling effects on services for adults with developmental disabilities that still linger.
Effective March 1, Martin will be Director for State Partnerships and Special Projects at the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) – the national umbrella organization for CPNRI and 54 other trade associations representing other states.
In a recent memo to CPNRI members, Martin said she had not been looking for a new job because she loves her work in Rhode Island.
“It has been a remarkable experience which has been a major influence on my professional path,” Martin said.
The opportunity to do similar work on a national scale “very unexpectedly presented itself, and I feel it’s the right time for me personally and professionally to embrace it,” Martin said.
Until now, Martin has been a member of ANCOR’s Board of Directors, an elected position she said she has resigned to join the staff. She said she will not have to relocate to the Washington area to take the job.
In her new role, she said, she will lead the work on a federal grant ANCOR has received to help providers best prepare for implementing managed care initiatives and also support state associations and help build their participation in the national organization.
Martin said that during her 19 years at CPNRI – she joined the staff in 2001 – she has developed “really strong relationships with members” of the organization.
“I understand the commitment they have made” to provide the best possible support to a vulnerable population, “in spite of difficult financial conditions and a draconian regulatory environment,” Martin said.
“That’s what strengthened me in my work,” she said.
Martin said she would advise her successor to “continue strengthening relationships” with the state legislature, the executive branch of government, and others. “Focus on those relationships,” she said.
“We really do better when we’re building in the same direction,” Martin said.