Evan Goldman, JD '99
Evan Goldman, JD ‘99, CEO of HANDY, was recently awarded “Organization of the Year” at the 6th Annual South Florida Community Care Network Non-Profit Academy Awards hosted by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. This prestigious award comes after Goldman won the PNC Bank “Non-Profit Staff Leader of the Year” Award in 2015 and HANDY won the Children’s Services Council “Collective Impact for Youth” Award in 2014. No other organization has won awards three consecutive years. HANDY is the leading organization in Florida providing comprehensive wrap-around services to children who are being raised by their grandparent, aunt, close family friend or other person who is not their parent, either in the foster care system or in informal arrangements.
“I am blown away by the incredible honor. The awards were an affirmation of HANDY’s incredible board and staff who go the extra mile at all times and commit themselves entirely to their jobs,” said Goldman.
What sets HANDY apart, according to Goldman, is HANDY’s family-model. HANDY has dedicated life coaches who, at a minimum, have a bachelor’s degree in social work. The children and families served by HANDY know that HANDY staff will be there for them no matter what— in good times and in bad. For example, recently, a 15 year old boy served by HANDY from Plantation High School was hospitalized after being injured in a car accident. Hospital staff called HANDY and HANDY staff members have been by the boy’s side every day providing support to him and his grandmother.
HANDY provides holistic services to about 1,300 children and families per year, working to “embrace, educate and empower the next generation.” Approximately 164,000 children live with relatives, because they are unable to live with their parents, in Florida. Although the majority of these children live with relatives for the same reasons children enter foster care (for example, their parents are struggling with substance abuse, are incarcerated, deceased, or dealing with a mental illness), they do not receive supportive services like youth in the foster care system. HANDY works to fill this gap in services and empower these youth through life skills, education, development and other supportive programs.
Goldman sees education as the most important component of HANDY’s mission. “Any youth raised with a relative, non-relative, or in foster care is eligible for a scholarship and wrap-around services including assistance with college application process help,” said Goldman.
Prior to joining HANDY as CEO, Goldman served as a mentor with HANDY for 10 years. During that time, he recalls learning more from the youth than from his peers. “They taught me resiliency,” said Goldman.
“I encourage all law students to consider a career in public service or non-profit management. These are exciting, and growing fields where you get to see your hard work and effort make an impact on others. There is no substitute for that feeling,” said Goldman. “Although the salary may not compete with top law firms, you will make a difference and can make a life,” he said.
Read more about Goldman’s time at Miami Law and his path to HANDY.