A Leader in Ensuring Strong, Effective Organizations

In her 29 years at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Ms. Rassen succeeded in expanding a small social service agency with three offices serving 6,000 people a year to its 2006 $28 million budget and service to over 55,000 people annually. This growth was accomplished in part by obtaining seed grants for major new innovative programs, partnering with regional and national major institutions and bringing state-of-the-art efficiencies to JFCS.

The programs initiated and run by Ms. Rassen at JFCS operated with a business model that made them self-sustaining. This enabled JFCS to move away from financing models that relied solely on the government or foundations for continued existence. Ms. Rassen built several divisions at JFCS that have successfully effected change and capacity to generate revenues for the organization. Through Ms. Rassen’s efforts and business savvy, over 60% of the organization’s operating budget still comes from fees.

Ms. Rassen has used her knowledge and expertise to start up the American Asthma Foundation (, a national health related foundation and assist in revamping of the Health Care System for California’s incarcerated adults (, and created organizations focused on supporting families

She continues to Consult with non-profits on organizational design and development, turnaround troubled organization and coach executive directors.

Promoter of Healthy Children and Families

Over her nearly 29 years at JFCS, Ms. Rassen oversaw JFCS’ outpatient mental health services for children and families. She also founded and was the initial director of Parents Place in San Francisco, one of the first family resource centers in the country. She was ahead of the curve in developing innovative, responsive programs for the community. This includes the award-winning Early Childhood Mental Health Project (ECMH), a place-based approach to mental health that meets the needs of childcare providers, children and families. An external evaluation of ECMH confirmed that this model improves the quality of childcare for low-income children by increasing childcare provider knowledge and skills, identifying challenged children early, and virtually eliminating expulsions from centers.

While striving to make a difference “one person at a time”, Ms. Rassen also has worked on effecting changes in public policy to support families. To that end, she advocated for the federal Department of Health and Human Services to develop state networks of family resource and support programs, and for the component of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 that required states to develop family support centers to promote the well-being of children and families. She also participated in drafting 1993 landmark legislation in California, the Federal Family Preservation and Family Support Program, that also established funding for family support and resource centers. Her advocacy efforts to effect positive policy changes and preserve the entitlement programs for the poor have been part of her daily life.

Ms. Rassen stewarded the family support movement through her steadfast participation as a director, treasurer and chairperson of Family Support America (FSA), the national organization that was the catalyst and clearinghouse in family support through advocacy, publications, technical assistance, training and public education. Concurrent with her work at FSA, she founded and served as president of Family Support California.

The Guidebook for Developing Drop-In Programs for Families with Children Under Age Three was commissioned by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Family Connections Family Resource Center and First 5 San Francisco.

Drop-in Center Guidebook

Innovations for Seniors to Age in Their Own Homes

Over the course of her career, Ms. Rassen has been the architect of multiple innovative, replicable programs and services that are recognized nationally as financially sustainable responses to the needs of seniors in the community. These include private duty home and skilled care, case management and conservatorship businesses that contract with health plans, medical systems and insurance companies to serve seniors in their homes.

Best practices are evidence-based and require research for validation. The case management model of care for the elderly developed under Ms. Rassen’s leadership has been confirmed through external research to improve the quality of life for seniors and also reduce costs to the medical system. This model has also been replicated by many organizations around the country.

ADD Link to JAMA paper

Change Agent

Ms. Rassen continues to serve on multiple boards of directors, advisory committees and task forces both locally and nationally. She has been frequently requested to speak at national and local conferences, professional gatherings and legislative hearings on topics related to her areas of expertise. Her knowledge, practical approach, clear thinking, personal commitment, business savvy and passion for her work make her a unique resource to non-profits, foundations, research institutions and universities.

Her Testimony on Commercially Sexually Exploited Minors to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights exemplifies her role as change agent.
Testimony to US Civil Rights Commission