The HANDY Board of Directors announced the appointment of Evan J. Goldman, Esq. to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Evan has extensive government, not-for-profit and private sector experience in the areas of legislative affairs, organizational development, law, grassroots advocacy and communications strategy. His background also includes more than 20 years of working with federal, state and local governments. He earned a B.A. from American University in Washington, DC and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, FL.
Prior to joining HANDY as CEO, he served as the Assistant Director of Public Affairs and Organizational Development for the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, where he worked for 11 years. He serves on several local and national boards, including the Center for Hearing and Communication, Broward Days and Florida Prosperity Partnership and Florida Impact. In addition, he serves as an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University Shephard Broard Law Center.
“I'm proud to be HANDY's new CEO, because we build champions from the classroom to the Capitol, to the corporate boardroom,” Evan said about his new position.
Evan provides our Broward community with constant leadership in the provision of services for children and youth. He is a relentless advocate for our youth locally, at the state level and nationally. He bolsters his skilled understanding of each issue with his direct contact with the affected children and youth. When Evan advocates before a legislative body, he advocates not just for an idea or policy, but for individual children and youth he personally knows. In September 2012, he received the Children’s Advocacy Award from Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida.
No stranger to HANDY, Evan has been a dynamic mentor where he has dedicated countless hours to working with young people. He is affectionately known at HANDY as “Uncle E,” and was honored in 2011 with the HANDY “Biggest Heart Award.” His community service extends to his congregation, where he is an active member of Temple Bat Yam and the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Broward County.
Significantly, Evan founded HANDY’a TRIP of a LIFEtime Program which has taken sixty teens from Broward’s foster and relative care system to Washington, DC for an educational journey of a lifetime. For these efforts, Evan was recognized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute with the 2010 Angels in Adoption Award. In September 2012, he received the Children’s Advocacy Award from Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida.
"After conducting an extensive search, the board realized that the best person to lead HANDY is Evan Goldman. He brings the right combination of passion, experience, skills, knowledge of the community, and expertise in the unique population HANDY serves to ensure a bright future for HANDY. We look forward to working with Evan and our team to ensure HANDY remains a valuable resource to the disadvantaged youth we serve to build bright futures for our young people and a solid foundation for our community,” said Barbara Burnette, board chair.
About HANDY: HANDY's mission is to embrace, educate, and empower vulnerable youth to become engaged, productive adults. HANDY annually serves more than 1,300 at-risk children who participate in comprehensive programs that focus on education, youth development, and economic self-sufficiency. HANDY relies on the generous donations and support of the community. Make a difference in 2014! For more information about how you or your company can get involved in HANDY’s events, programs and spirit, please contact Beth Bryant, Director of Development at EBryant@HANDYinc.org.
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
My daily interaction with the most remarkable young people in Broward.
Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input?
Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, President/CEO of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County and Sandra Bernard-Bastien, the Council’s Chief Communications Officer, are mentors par excellence. They’ve taught me more than I ever learned in school.
You are out in the public arena quite often; who is the most interesting person you have ever met?
I recently had lunch with Howard Schnellenberger, the venerable football coach. I was blown away by his breath of knowledge. He’s forgotten more than I’ll ever know.
What program with your organization do you get the most excited about?
The HANDY Scholars Program, which has helped legions of our most vulnerable young people stay in school, understand their educational and employment options, and learn to make positive choices so they can break the cycle of poverty and abuse. The innovative aspect of the LIFE Scholars Program is student preparation. They receive academic tutoring, mentoring and emergency services that prevent them from becoming homeless.
How have things changed for you through the years?
I’ve grown to keep things in perspective. Never let the highs get too high, or the lows too low.
What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to your organization?
Humility and accessibility.
What is your greatest challenge at this time?
Rasing funds to continue HANDY’s life-affirming work.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Arizona. I hope to retire there one day. Something about daily sunshine, low humidity and remarkable views in every direction has a strong appeal!
What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of?
Hope. It fuels everything.
Is there an inspirational book you have read that you would recommend to others?
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – by Laura Hillenbrand.
Who can make you laugh?
The kids in the HANDY program. They do it with aplomb.
What can make you cry?
Seeing limitless potential go unfulfilled due to senseless violence in our community. Sadly, it impacts our young people all too often.
How do you want to be remembered by future generations?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who “didn’t promise, but always delivered.”
What do your want your epitaph to read?
“A heart feels a heart.” It was my maternal grandmother’s favorite saying and we’ve adopted it here at HANDY.
Do you have a motto, or some words of wisdom, that has guided you through your life?
“Think strong.” It’s a motto instilled in me by my father.
What is your proudest achievement?
Prior to joining HANDY, I founded the Trip of a LIFEtime project, which over a five year period, has taken 60 children from relative care and foster care to Washington, DC. Many of them had never been outside of Broward County.
Who is your hero?
Terran Vandiver, one of the “original” HANDY crew. He overcame challenges that would have sidetracked most people to receive his BSW from Florida Atlantic University. He is resourceful, resilient and marches to the beat of his own drummer. He recently returned “home” to HANDY where he works as a Youth Development Counselor.
In order to thrive and survive in the corporate workplace, we sometimes have to desensitize ourselves in order to get ahead. Not being real and authentic, isn’t that a big sacrifice to make?
Actually, it’s a sacrifice I refuse to make. I learned early in my career we all need to distinguish ourselves in some form or fashion. There so many people trying to be who they’re not, I learned that I could stand out by just being myself.
What are your favorite leisure time activities or hobbies?
I have a 155 gallon African Chiclid Fish Tank at home. That’s a half-ton of water. It’s my hobby and passion.
What is your favorite sport?
Baseball. I’m a dedicated Miami Marlins fan and try to attend each homestand. It’s shaping up for another long season, but hope springs eternal!
What’s the best movie you have ever seen?
Half Nelson, starring Ryan Gosling and written by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Calypso in Pompano Beach.
If your house was up for sale, and a potential buyer did a walk through, what would your home say about you?
What is your pet peeve?
Calls and emails that go unreturned. Just ask my staff. I’m fanatical about follow-up.
What can we personally do to make things better for future generations?
We need to shift our paradigm from "you vs me" to "you and me."