APF Staff


A world where all individuals with autism reach their fullest potential.


Advancing effective methodology and behavior analytic treatment to improve outcomes of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Meet The Staff

Jason Rizzi

Executive Director

Jason Rizzi was named Executive Director in May 2022 and joins APF from JUST Capital, where he was instrumental in bringing in new major and principal donors to the organization, working closely with the Board of Directors, and creating a robust culture of philanthropy, both internally and externally. Jason also led a team that created meaningful and relevant donor engagement and stewardship opportunities. 

Prior to JUST Capital, Jason served as Director of Major Gifts for the Northeast and Florida regions of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation – helping support Team USA athletes. Before that, Jason worked at Hackley School, a K-12 independent school in Tarrytown, NY, where he was responsible for raising awareness and support for the school’s $90M comprehensive capital campaign. Prior to Hackley he managed the Annual Fund for Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Mailman School of Public Health. 

Outside of work, Jason is an avid Ironman triathlete and charity fundraiser, competing each 140.6-mile triathlon for organizations like the Challenged Athletes Foundation, GMHC, New York Organ Donor Network, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He has competed in over a hundred triathlons.

Jason grew up in Tarrytown, NY as a scholar-athlete-artist, where he volunteered with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and their families. Additionally, his mother, Phyllis, spent her entire career in special education. Jason holds a B.A. in Psychology from The George Washington University and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Columbia’s School of Professional Studies (SPS). He is the inaugural alumni recipient of the Dean’s Excellence Award at SPS and serves on the SPS Alumni Council and Columbia Alumni Association Board. Jason has relocated to Southern California, where he will be close to APF offices. 

Haleh Tavakol

Organizational Enablement

Haleh Tavakol joined APF as Chief of Strategy & Advocacy in March 2019 and was named Executive Director in December, 2020. With extensive experience in the nonprofit industry, Haleh previously served as Associate Director of Advancement at Hackley School in New York. During her fourteen years at Hackley, Haleh worked on capital campaigns, consistently met giving goals, founded affinity groups, launched successful social media and networking platforms for alumni, and oversaw parent and alumni relations, annual fund, special events, and alumni publications. She also served as Harassment Officer and as a member of the Head of School’s Transition and Strategic Marketing committees. Known for building meaningful and lasting connections, Haleh considers relationships at the core of her being.

Prior to Hackley, Haleh spent eight years in Boulder, Colorado, where she served on nonprofit boards, including the Family Learning Center. She also worked at Global Education Fund, and earlier in her career, as an attorney in Manhattan.

Haleh received her Bachelor of Arts in French Language & Literature and Political Science from Colgate University and her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. A writer, avid gardener, and cook, Haleh lives in Sleepy Hollow, New York with her daughters.

Scott Lawlor

Technology Director

Scott is the Technology director for APF. He oversees the implementation of new digital assets, ranging from online learning activities to technical conference solutions. Scott has a background in online education and is particularly passionate about promoting fairness and diversity in educational settings.

Feel free to send Scott a message if you ever want to discuss the intersection of Behavior Analysis and technical solutions.

To contact Scott, email him at: scott@apfmail.org.

Kate Solomon

Administration & Development

Kate Solomon joined APF as Administrator in November 2020. She brings extensive experience in business administration, marketing and law, having created several successful small businesses and worked for 7 years as a paralegal. Kate is a jill-of-all-trades and handles any manner of day-to-day administration duties, as well as grant, development and operations work for APF. Originally from Zimbabwe, Kate’s international background gives her a well-rounded perspective, with a special interest in diversity, inclusion and catering to the global village.

Kate received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Business Administration from the University of North Texas in 2017 and has plans to attend graduate school in the future. Kate is a lover of baking, travel, the outdoors, hiking, and surfing.

Kate can be reached at kate@apfmail.org

Go to top