Alabama Family Trust, a pooled special needs nonprofit 501(c) 3 trust that invests and protect assets of persons with disabilities, has been selected as a finalist in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2016 Nonprofit Awards.
AFT is being recognized in the $1 million to $2 million category of the Nonprofit Awards, which honors Birmingham’s top nonprofits and charitable organizations. AFT will be recognized at the BBJ’s Nonprofit Awards ceremony on June 23 at Regions Field.
The Alabama Family Trust is a pooled special needs trust set up by the state in 1994 to encourage, enhance, and foster the provision of medical, social, or other supplemental services for children and adults with a mental or physical impairment by investing and protecting their assets.
AFT is able to protect money that otherwise would keep a disabled senior, adult, or child from qualifying for Medicaid and SSI while then using those assets in trust with the families to pay for what is needed to improve their quality of life, including summer camps, vacations, additional therapies, internet access, cell phones, and recently, a service dog.
Alabama Family Trust has grown in the last two years, with a new team of executives and a new office in the Berry Building on Columbiana Road in Vestavia Hills. AFT board members appointed elder law and trust attorney Melanie Bradford Holliman as Executive Director in 2014 who then brought three more new members to the executive team during this time of growth.
Funds for Alabama Family Trust funds are invested at BancorpSouth Asset Management and Trust by the family of those with special needs to cover costs above what is provided through core governmental benefits, such as Medicaid and SSI, and to give them the financial ability to improve their overall quality of life. Alabama Family Trust has 627 active trusts with a market value of $19.3 million. The average trust is $31,000, but the minimum to set up a trust is only $1,500.
In 2014, the Alabama legislature passed a state statute that allows AFT to expand nationally, making the nonprofit one of only a few trust services in the country with such national capability. AFT’s growth is strategic and well planned. It has also begun conversations with private and nonprofit entities to form new relationships and forge new joint ventures. That includes key progressive steps of building partnerships with Birmingham-based companies and nonprofit organizations.
Staff members also speak at such events as The Full Life Ahead Foundation retreats at Children’s Harbor, Arc of Alabama’s Annual disABILITY Conference, the Alabama Gerontological Society’s Annual Conference, Alabama Family Retreat with Rooftop Friends at Camp ASCCA and those sponsored by numerous senior living facilities and governmental agencies serving individuals with disabilities along with their caregivers. AFT also provides educational training to attorneys, probate judges, health/social work professionals and the general public while always providing one-on-one consultations to families.
AFT has won other awards. In October 2014, UAB Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging recognized AFT with its distinguished New Horizons at UAB Award for its work in improving the overall quality of life for the elderly beneficiaries that AFT serves.