Heidi joined the RSRT Board of Trustees in 2009 and became Vice-Chairman in 2012. With business experience acquired as the head of an Institutional Sales force at a New York investment firm and her natural enthusiasm, Heidi brings determination, leadership and organizational skills to any endeavor she undertakes. Heidi’s involvement in the world of non-profits, philanthropy and community service work began in Tokyo, where she worked as an English language editor for a large Japanese charity. She and her husband Jonathan, brought their family back to the United States shortly after their second daughter, Hannah, was born prematurely. Settling in California, Heidi was soon involved within her new community, becoming a member of the board of the Palisades Junior Women’s Group, raising money for local charities, engaging with various community activities and fundraising for her older daughter’s school.
For little Hannah, Heidi organized a team of therapists to address developmental problems thought to have resulted from her early birth. She researched Hannah’s challenges, put together an intensive intervention program, and coordinated schedules and team meetings with her army of therapists. But shortly after Hannah’s third birthday, the cause of her difficulties was reassessed: she was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. Heidi threw herself into searching for information on the disorder. She found the RSRT website the very day it launched online, and she immediately wanted to be involved. Within weeks, she and Jonathan met with Monica Coenraads, to see how they could help.
Heidi began a letter-writing campaign to friends and colleagues, quickly raising $100,000 for research. In 2009, she spearheaded the first Hope for Hannah fundraiser. Joining forces with Marci and Rudy Valner a few years later their event, Hope for Hannah & Gaby, became the most successful Rett fundraiser worldwide, raising over $900,000 in 2015. Heidi has spearheaded global fund raising resulting in some $5 million for Rett Syndrome research.
With business connections and friends spanning across the US and abroad, the Epstein’s have co-chaired RSRT’s events in New York, Boston and London. Heidi has also been instrumental in engaging large firms to provide pro bono services, including McCann Erickson’s generous support and creation of a PSA for RSRT.
In 2010, Heidi’s family was one of the three featured in a documentary on Rett Syndrome, produced and directed by filmmaker Jason Rem. Jason’s inspiration for the documentary began the night he attended the first Hope for Hannah and learned about the devastating effects of Rett.
Heidi graduated from UCLA with a degree in English Literature. She lives in Los Angeles with Jonathan, a Managing Director at GreenOak Real Estate Advisors LP, and their two daughters. The Epsteins are passionate about the goals of RSRT, and committed to supporting RSRT’s research agenda.