The Redlich Horwitz Foundation works to accelerate transformation in New York’s child welfare system to keep children, youth and families supported and thriving.
The Foundation believes children do best when they are raised by their families of origin, where they have a strong sense of love, belonging and community. We believe children should remain with their families whenever possible, and that all caregivers—birth, foster and kinship—should have access to the same types and levels of support, including financial, programmatic, and therapeutic.
Every child who must enter foster care should live with a well-supported family—preferably with kin relatives or someone they know—and should leave foster care to a stable, permanent family as soon as is safe. While short-term residential placement is a necessary part of the continuum of care for some high-needs children, it is rarely an effective long-term solution. When we value our foster and kinship parents as the heroes they are, and provide the financial and therapeutic services they need to care for children who have experienced trauma, we will not have a system dependent on institutionalizing children, and families will be able to reunite and thrive.
The Foundation works to accelerate change by partnering with county and state leaders, the courts, nonprofits, foundations and grassroots advocates. We seek to improve practice and policy in support of increasing preventive services, reducing residential placements through kin-first practices, improving supports for all foster families, increasing community-based services for children and families, and implementing other strategies proven to keep families safely together or expedite the path to permanency.
To that end, we support and work collaboratively with other stakeholders to implement thoughtful, data-informed policies and programs that:
Promote child welfare systems that prioritize family preservation, engagement and family-based care;
Ensure that every child exits the foster care system into a permanent, loving family through timely reunification, adoption, kin guardianship or another lifelong adult connection; and
Improve the overall wellbeing of youth and families involved with the child welfare system in New York.
Founded in 1986 by Catherine Redlich and Robert Horwitz, the Redlich Horwitz Foundation has provided financial support and implementation assistance to improve outcomes in areas of interest to them, most recently in foster care practice and policy.
While the Foundation is now best known for its efforts to ensure that every child has a safe and loving home, in its earlier years RHF supported diverse initiatives in education, criminal justice, drug policy, child welfare, and global health. The Foundation's first grants supported major national and international nonprofits, but evolved over time to help smaller organizations implement innovative, impactful programs. As then-residents of New Jersey, Rob and Cathy, through the Foundation, also funded policy reform, successfully spearheading efforts to legalize needle exchange programs in New Jersey to curtail the spread of AIDS and to achieve sentencing reform. The Redlich Horwitz Foundation worked with New Jersey based foster-care organizations to develop a mentoring program for foster youth, to promote adoption of older or hard-to-place children, and to provide financial support for young adults leaving foster care.
In 2012, after moving to upstate New York, Cathy and Rob made the decision to narrow the Foundation's grant-making focus significantly. Their objective was two-fold: to increase the impact of the Foundation's giving, and to become more proactively involved trustees. To that end, the Foundation hired its first executive director in 2013 and began a strategic planning process to determine the direction the Foundation would take going forward. The staff and trustees met with respected thought leaders, government officials, advocates, and philanthropies to learn more about opportunities and challenges facing New Yorkers and the systems that serve them. The result was a decision to focus the Foundation's mission on improving New York's foster care system to achieve better life outcomes for children in care and for those young adults aging out of the system.
Staff & Trustees
ROBERT HORWITZ & CATHERINE REDLICH
Founders & Trustees
Rob Horwitz earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. His first business venture was a custom bicycle frame-building business which he founded, operated and ultimately sold. Rob subsequently worked on Wall Street, starting the high-yield bond department at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, while remaining involved in private industry as a founder or co-founder of several medical device companies. In 1983, Rob formed RH Capital Associates, an investment management firm that operated a hedge fund from 1983 through 2006. Rob has been actively involved in many business startups, turnarounds, and restructurings and has served on the boards of numerous companies and foundations.
Cathy Redlich earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from the University of Michigan, and a law degree from the Harvard Law School. Her first career was in the publishing field as an editor and writer. Following a federal judicial clerkship, she joined a law firm in New York and eventually became its first woman partner. Twenty years ago she co-founded Driscoll & Redlich, a law firm specializing in complex criminal litigation and regulatory and enforcement matters. She serves on the Dean's Advisory Council of the University of Michigan, the English Department Advisory Board, the Board of the Ancram Opera House, and has served on boards of directors, as well as various committees, related to the practice of criminal law. Cathy is a certified foster parent in New York State.
Their family includes two adult daughters, Jane and Grace Horwitz, who stay current on the Foundation’s work and participate, as time permits, in strategic planning and in guiding the direction of the Foundation moving forward.
Roseanne Scotti brings a wealth of expertise to the Foundation in policy formulation and advocacy, political strategy, and managing legislative initiatives. Roseanne is the Senior Technical Advisor for Syringe Access Services for Vital Strategies. She is seconded to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, working to expand syringe services programs and harm reduction in Pennsylvania. Before joining Vital Strategies, Roseanne served for 17 years as the New Jersey State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. While there, she directed major campaigns focused on aspects of criminal justice reform and drug policy. Previously, Roseanne was a research coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Studies of Addiction in the HIV Prevention Research Division. Roseanne has authored and co-authored law review and medical journal articles on HIV prevention and drug policy, and frequently lectures on these topics. In 2004, Roseanne received the award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of HIV Prevention from the New Jersey HIV Prevention Community Planning Group. In 2005, she was appointed by the Governor to New Jersey's Gang Land Security Task Force. Roseanne received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Temple School of Law.
Cecilia Zalkind brings to the foundation an extensive background in public policy advocacy for children. In her 25 years in leadership roles at Advocates for Children of New Jersey, including now as executive director, she has led important coalitions such as the Early Care and Education Coalition and the New Jersey Build initiative that have advanced high-quality early care and education in the state. Ceil has argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on preschool standards in Abbott v. Burke, the landmark educational equity case, and on the issue of permanency for foster children in several child welfare cases. Ceil serves on various national leadership committees, including the national Children's Leadership Council. While at ACNJ, she served as an adjunct professor of family and adoption law at Seton Hall Law School. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from New York University and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School.
SARAH KROON CHILES
Sarah Chiles joined the Foundation in 2013 as its first executive director and, in partnership with the board of trustees, helped the Foundation develop its new strategic direction. She has overall operational responsibility for the Foundation's grant making, the implementation of its mission objectives, and its relational networks with grantees, foster youth, government agencies, and policymakers. Sarah was most recently vice president at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, where she headed the NY office. Previously, Sarah was a vice president with SeaChange Capital Partners, a philanthropic network focused on providing growth capital to exceptional education nonprofits, and prior to that served as the director of programs for the NYU Stern School of Business's Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. During her tenure at NYU, she launched and directed the Stewart Satter Program in Social Entrepreneurship and oversaw the Social Venture Competition and grant making for the Satter Social Entrepreneurship Fund. Earlier in her career, Sarah worked in investment banking and directed a nonprofit social venture operated by a consortium of environmental groups. Sarah serves on the Steering Committee of the national Youth Transition Funders Group, is the Co-Chair of the Foster Care Work Group and is a Co-Coordinator of the NYC Foster Care Funders Group. Sarah is a graduate of Middlebury College and the NYU Stern School of Business.
Director of Programs
Rashida launched and leads the Foundation's foster care reform efforts in NY State (excluding New York City) through collaborative grant-making, research and knowledge-building in partnership with nonprofit, county and state government entities. Prior to joining the Foundation, Rashida served as the Chief Program Officer at Boys' Club of New York, where she co-developed and implemented a five-year strategic plan, resulting in new programs, improved youth outcomes, an increase in stakeholder engagement and over one million dollars in new funding. With expertise in social research, program evaluation and design, Rashida has worked in youth development, social service, court innovation, political intelligence, grass-roots policy reform, and has authored several articles and papers. A proud graduate of New York City public schools, Rashida holds honors degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Wesleyan University. She is a graduate of Coro Leadership NY and serves as the co-chair of the Wesleyan University Center for Prison Education’s advisory board.
Senior Program Manager
Jessie leads the Foundation’s system-reform initiatives around implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act in NY. Through collaborations with government, philanthropic and nonprofit partners, she supports efforts to shift the child welfare system toward a focus on prevention and family-centered care. Jessie’s brings expertise in strategic planning, policy analysis, system improvement and organizational capacity building. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked as a senior consultant with Deloitte, where she assisted state child welfare agencies in developing programmatic strategy and operations improvements to drive better outcomes. Previously, Jessie served as an executive director of the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Planning at New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), where she managed the system-level implementation of Strong Families NYC—New York’s Title IV-E waiver and ACS’s largest foster care initiative. Jessie is a graduate of the New School and Kent State University. She is a meditation instructor and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ethiopia 2010-12).
In his role as the program associate, Anthony is responsible for the Foundation’s external communications, internal scheduling, payment remittance and management of grantee databases. Previously, Anthony spent three years as a case planner for preventive services in New York City where he helped vulnerable children across the five boroughs. Specifically, he conducted change-focus interventions in the homes of children who were at risk of being placed into foster care due to abuse and/or neglect. He completed his B.A. in Sociology at the George Washington University where he interned at Magnet Schools of America.