Dennis Felty has been in a leadership role of the community mental health and intellectual disability movement since 1968. He was a co-founder of Keystone Human Services in 1972 and served as its President until November 2016. Dennis will continue in his role as Founding President until October 2018. Over the past 45 years, Dennis’ vision and leadership has been instrumental in developing Keystone into a family of non-profit organizations that is committed to helping people with disabilities become valued and contributing members of the community.
In addition to his work at Keystone, Dennis has also served as President of the Commonwealth Institute, the Pennsylvania Association of Community Residential Programs, and the Pennsylvania CASSP Institute. He is the Past President of the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, as well as Past President and co-founder of Open Stage of Harrisburg.
He serves or has served on many boards and task forces. Dennis served as Chairman of the Board of PAR, which is the major professional association addressing services in the area of intellectual disabilities and autism. Dennis is also a Past Board Chair of the Susquehanna Art Museum.
As a graduate of Elizabethtown College, he received the “Educate for Service Award” in 2013 and currently serves on the college's Leadership Council.
For thirteen years, Dennis served as an Officer and pilot with the US Air Force and Pennsylvania Air National Guard and has over 2000 flight hours in multi-engine and jet aircraft.
A fine art photographer, Dennis frequently exhibits his work in one-man shows. He has carried out several photographic projects for the Office of Intellectual Disability, photographing people living in State Centers as well as the Office of Children and Youth. This work has included assisting in the production of Everyday Lives, a documentary on the history of intellectual disability services in Pennsylvania.
Dennis has also been instrumental in helping to found a seminary in Kursk, Russia. In 1999 he produced a photographic essay on children living in orphanages and psychiatric hospitals of Russia, Romania, and Moldova. This work includes images and interviews of children living in the underground of Bucharest, Romania. He has also had the opportunity to visit psychiatric hospitals in the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Moldova.
Dennis serves on the Federal Council (Governing Board) of FICE International, a federation of over sixty countries concerned about the status of children worldwide. He is also the President of FICE-USA (external website).
Dennis served on both Governor Corbett’s and Governor Wolf’s Transition Teams and currently serves on Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Health. He also served on the Joint Legislative Advisory Commission on Gun Violence.
Dennis has been recognized nationally and internationally for his work, including:
- 2002 Humanitarian Award presented by Genesis Asset Protection, Harrisburg, PA
- 2002, along with his wife Barbara, recipient of the Edna Silberman Humanitarian Service Award presented by Keystone Human Services, Harrisburg, PA
- 2006 The Frank R. Grady Outstanding Professional Award presented by the United Way, Washington D.C.
- 2010 Annual Leadership Award presented by the Pennsylvania Association of Resources for Individuals with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
- 2011 Legacy Leadership Circle Award presented by American Network of Community Options and Resources, Washington, D.C.
- 2011 The Gunnar Dybwad Humanitarian Service Award presented by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Minneapolis, MN
- 2012 The First Annual I Am the Evidence Award, presented by the Mental Health Association of the Capital Region
- 2013 Cornelius Award presented by Arms Around Communities
- 2013 Educate for Service – Service Through Professional Achievement Award Presented by Elizabethtown College Alumni Association
Dennis and his wife Barbara have two children, Adam and Laura, and reside in Middletown, Pennsylvania.