Alternatives, Inc. was founded as the Association for the Advancement of Mentally Handicapped — AAMH, in 1979. The agency was founded by Arthur Rittmaster of Princeton, the parent of a child with special needs. After seeking a living arrangement and supports for his son, and finding no adequate options, he founded his own agency.
Alternatives provides comprehensive services to individuals and families with special needs so they can reach their highest level of independence and integration into the community. The agency has a person-centered philosophy that is dedicated to providing each person served the support needed to assist in achieving his or her goals, dreams and aspirations.
New Jersey human service agencies are transitioning to fee-for-service funding for Medicaid services previously covered by contract funding. This shift will have dramatic and longstanding effects on the services offered in the state and agencies, like Alternatives, which provide those services.
The agency’s short-term goals are to open new programs and services for the state’s citizens with special needs as it makes a full and successful transition to the new funding model. Long term, the goal is to identify and address new areas of need within the parameters of the agency mission.
Alternatives, Inc. provides residential services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including a day program, mental health services, transitional housing, employment, behavioral support services, recreation and support coordination.
This year, Alternatives’ focus has been on expanding residential, day/vocational and in-home services. The agency opened two new group homes in Ocean County, with plans to open six more in Hunterdon and Somerset counties, and expand existing homes in Warren and Hunterdon counties. Group homes accommodate several individuals, providing 24/7 care and access to shopping, social activities and other services typically found in most communities.
The agency raises private contributions through a combination of special events, grant submission for corporate and foundation funding and an annual campaign for individual contributions.
The agency is supported by a variety of sources, including community resources and those with an affinity for the population served.
Top supporters include: Ethicon, Video Corp. of America, Investors Bank, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Perfect Remedy Packaging.
Until recently, most of Alternatives’ client referrals came through Medicaid contracts. Due to the new fee-for-service funding model, Alternatives now needs to proactively promote its image to raise visibility for its programs and services and attract more clients in the communities it serves. The agency launched a new website and debuted a video and original song to reinforce the theme of “One Community.” The video features Alternatives’ clients interacting in the community, including Uncommon Notes, a chorus of clients singing with the rock band Goodworks, who wrote and produced the video.
For more information, please contact Anita Feiner, director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-685-1444, Ext. 226.
Location: 600 First Ave., Raritan
Serving: Central New Jersey — Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties Key member: Nancy Good, president
Prominent board members include:
- Linda Leparulo, attorney at law
- Susan Anczarki, volunteer
- Deidra Britt, Chubb Group of Insurance Cos.
- Helen Grunwald, volunteer
- Maria Fidelibus, QuickChek Corp.
- Paige Mangen, OneBeacon Insurance Group
- Kenneth Meyers, attorney at law
- Ivette Michel, Raritan Inc.
- Linda Olson, volunteer
- Morris Malmstrom, Perfect Remedy Packaging Inc.
- Luke McGrath, volunteer
- Patricia McMurtry, volunteer
- Janine Morris, Fox Hollow Properties
- Richard Sample, IT Depends
- Mohan Tummalapalli, Morgan Stanley
- Joseph Westlein, volunteer
- Alexandra Zeng, trustee
- Nancy Good, president, Alternatives, Inc.