In deciding to make an unprecedented $1 million gift to Northeast Arc, Steven P. Rosenthal wanted to ensure it would have maximum impact.

“I wanted to do something different, innovative, even disruptive, in a positive sense,” he said. “The idea was to find a way to literally change lives one at a time.”

The result is the establishment of the Changing Lives Fund, which will provide a new vehicle for Northeast Arc to expand services in creative and innovative ways that traditional funding has not allowed.

Rosenthal, a Marblehead resident, is founder and chairman of West Shore LLC, a Boston-based real estate private equity company. He said he wants his gift to enable Northeast Arc to break new ground in the work it does providing lifelong support for people with disabilities.

“This is a real game-changer for us,” said Jo Ann Simons, CEO of Northeast Arc. “Not only is Steve’s gift significant in the level of his generosity, it will allow us to greatly expand our reach in supporting individuals and test other new ideas and innovations.”

Rosenthal said he is confident in Northeast Arc’s ability to effectively use the gift as intended.

“They can figure out what will be innovative, what will be impactful, what will be different,” he said. “Jo Ann is an innovative, aggressive thinker. Northeast Arc is on the front line of helping people on the most basic level, in their day-to-day individual lives.”

The Changing Lives Fund can be used to develop a service model that is not currently funded by a state or federal agency; provide seed money to start a new initiative that will become self-sustaining; and develop initiatives that simultaneously support the Northeast Arc’s mission and the needs of the community.

The fund also allows Northeast Arc to provide financial support to new ideas of other individuals and organizations that support people with disabilities and are consistent with Arc’s mission.

“To borrow Steve’s use of the word ‘disruptor,’ the Northeast Arc has a history of playing that role. Family members have been the most creative and positive disruptors in our industry, and this fund will give us the flexibility to support them,” Simons said.

Rosenthal earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard and a law degree at Boston University. He practiced corporate law for 25 years and served as co-managing director at Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo. Prior to forming West Shore, he served as president and CEO at Northland Investment Corporation.

Rosenthal’s philanthropic work includes currently serving as a trustee of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which advocates for the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout society. He also serves on the board of trustees at the Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut. He has previously served on the board of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, American Israel Public Affairs Committee and several roles at Harvard College.

Sustainability for the Changing Lives Fund may include future donations, grant activity and business income from start-ups supported by the fund.

Founded in 1954 by families advocating for community-based services and supports for their children, Northeast Arc’s core values remain the same: All people, regardless of abilities, should have access and opportunities that support them to continue to learn, grow and become contributing members of society. Northeast Arc has been a leader in the disability field, advocating for and developing programs and service options that support people in all stages of their lives. The Northeast Arc also has developed small business opportunities that teach valuable employment skills.