2007 MFE Awards
Community Service

By day, Joel Altman develops luxury condos and apartments throughout the country. By night, the chairman of The Altman Cos. can often be spotted at fundraising events for his charity, Kids@Home. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based nonprofit organization, which Altman founded and personally helped seed in 2000, helps 18-year-olds transition out of foster care. Every year, 20,000 foster teens nationwide must leave the child welfare system, regardless of whether they are prepared to live as adults.

“I've always had a spot in my heart for kids that come into this world and don't necessarily get a good hand of cards,” Altman says. “I want to advocate for kids who don't get all the benefits of life that I am fortunate to have.” Kids@Home was established through a grant raised by The Altman Foundation for Children, which Altman started in the early '90s to provide grants to children service organizations. Today, Kids@Home stays afloat through a variety of fundraising efforts, including events with the NFL Alumni of Palm Beach, Fla., and the Miami Heat basketball team.

About 20 paid employees and volunteers, including several Altman associates, staff Kids@Home. The program—the first and largest in South Florida to assist foster teens leaving the system—offers a wide array of services. Mentors and life coaches teach independent living skills; assist in finding and often paying for clean, safe housing; and help with the pursuit of post-secondary training, education, and careers. “Our goal is that together we create the opportunity for them to begin adult life with good direction, stability, and the Kids@Home family to turn to as they work towards independence and face life's challenges,” Altman says. For more information on the program, visit www.kidsathome.org.

Fast Facts

  • Company: The Altman Cos.
  • Purpose: To help 18-year-olds transition out of foster care.
  • Established: 2000
  • Notable: The program serves more than 90 former foster teens and provides life skills to an additional 250 teens still in foster care.
    Judge's Verdict

    “THIS COMMUNITY SERVICE INITIATIVE SERVES AN OVERLOOKED GROUP—FOSTER TEENS WHO ARE BECOMING ADULTS WITHOUT THE LIFE SKILLS NEEDED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. THE CHARITY SPONSORS MANY EVENTS AND FUNDRAISERS EACH YEAR, AND THERE IS REAL DEPTH TO THE ORGANIZATION.”

    —Dave Woodward, CEO and managing partner, Laramar Communities