R Baby Heroes

Avis Richards

Honoring Inspiring and Dedicated Volunteers Helping Us Save Babies' Lives

When thinking of this year’s R Baby Hero Award, during our 5th birthday, there was no question of who it would go to since this person has worked tirelessly by our side for the past five years. Avis Richards, CEO of Birds Nest Foundation, has been a vital part of the R Baby team since our inception and her devotion has never waived. Year after year she continues to be there for us in many capacities.

It all started in 2006 right after Rebecca passed away. I remember the Richards being at our home consoling us and also committing to us to help in any way if we wanted to improve the healthcare system that failed our daughter. The first year of R Baby’s birth was the first year I was dealing with my daughter’s death. So, you can imagine how emotional it was but at the same time how driven Andrew and I were to make sure that this didn’t happen to any other family. Well, Avis was right there every day not only helping us start a new not-for-profit organization but being so passionate about our cause and also being there as a friend along the way. That is the biggest thing about not for profits — they are personal — they are emotional – and Avis Richards understands this. She is sensitive, caring while also being driven to make change.

Our first event at the Mandarin Oriental was an incredible success. Avis was a large part of that given her constant advice and “can do” attitude. She took on many projects including our first video production as well as auction items with a hands on approach. Given how philanthropic Avis is, she was able to advise on many elements of the night to help make it as successful as possible. She was literally willing to help with anything and taught me from the beginning how to never spend the charity’s money unless absolutely necessary as more can go to saving babies’ lives. This may seem obvious, but most charities only give 60-70% (CHARITYNAVIGATOR.ORG) directly to the cause where R Baby gives over 90%. Avis makes sure her bargaining skills are R Baby’s gain! Her values on frugality, authenticity and a hands on approach were and are invaluable to us and R Baby.

After our first event, Avis continued to support us year after year through her wonderful video productions, her talented team of photographers at every event we have and her extremely valuable board and marketing input. When we did our Run/Walk in Central Park, Avis even led a family photo booth to make the experience even that much more special of a day. She is always there when we need her. She never hesitates. Her commitment to R Baby and other charities should be recognized and appreciated as she continues to inspire me and others to be passionate, giving and selfless — as she is.

Andrew and I are forever grateful for Avis’ contributions, devotion and friendship. Thank you for all that you do and most importantly, all that you are.

— Phyllis and Andrew Rabinowitz