David Bunker’s motivation to support people with disabilities is from personal experience. His twin brother, Doug, developed a brain tumor when he was two years old. It caused severe physical and intellectual disabilities.
David, left, and Doug, right, with their mother.
Their parents wanted to keep Doug at home and give him the best quality of life possible even though it would dramatically change their lives. There was no regional or state support. The law that created the regional center system, which supports people with developmental disabilities, didn't occur until Doug was nearly 11 years old.
His parents developed the education and built the equipment needed for Doug to thrive. He was included in camping trips, boat trips, day outings to amusement parks, dirt bike rides, tandem bicycle rides; all the family activities. Having Doug in their lives gave them all the opportunity to know him, see him grow, and teach everyone a little more about the world and the people that live in it.
Doug and David shared a bedroom for almost 18 years, until David went to college. They played, cried, laughed, and did all that siblings and families do together. The whole family felt they were richer for having Doug in their lives. Doug still lives in that home in Culver City; the only home Doug has ever known.
Through their parents' example, David learned that almost anything is possible. given creative thinking and hard work.
Why My Life Foundation?
David Bunker, left, and his brother Doug, right.
David built his life around services that support individuals with special needs. He received his Masters in Educational Psychology from Loyola Marymount University, focussing on educational services for adults with developmental disabilities.
After graduating in 1991, he worked with a local nonprofit to assist with their CSLA grant; the Community Supported Living Arrangement, the precursor to Supported Living Services (SLS). In 1992, Westside Regional Center recruited David for their SLS services first as a case manager and then as their first SLS Quality Assurance Specialist.
For over 11 years David worked with current SLS providers and consulted those that wanted to create their own SLS programs and business. He saw a demand for more effective services firsthand and wanted to contribute in a more meaningful way.
Inspired by his love for his brother, he took a leap of faith. He took out a loan against his condo and retirement savings to launch My Life Foundation, Inc. (MLF) on August 13, 2004, as a nonprofit agency.
He built a Board of Directors and forged partnerships in the community to make My Life Foundation become a dynamic and responsive service provider.
Based on his education and experience, David created programs and services that work for people with intellectual disabilities. What started in David's condo, with 15 staff serving five clients, grew into an agency that helps over 160 individuals and employs more than 280 dedicated staff.
My Life Foundation now has three offices and serves a large geographic area, from the Westside of Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley and Palmdale. MLF has vendor-partnerships with the Westside Regional Center and the North Los Angeles County Regional Center.