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 nonprofits, 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. A few years later she joined forces with Marci and Rudy Valner, and the event became Hope for Hannah & Gaby. Today, the event Heidi launched has expanded to become Reverse Rett LA and is now co-chaired by the Epsteins and three other Rett families, and has a committee of 63 dedicated friends and families. Since Heidi started the event it has raised a remarkable $9.2 million in total for RSRT.
With business connections and friends spanning across the US and abroad, the Epsteins have also co-chaired RSRT events in New York, Boston, and London. Their efforts have resulted in some $15 million in total for Rett syndrome research. 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.
Heidi graduated from UCLA with a degree in English literature. She lives in Los Angeles with Jonathan, a Partner at BentallGreenOak, and their two daughters. The Epsteins are passionate about the goals of RSRT and committed to supporting RSRT’s research agenda.