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Risa Kaufman

Director, Human Rights

Risa E. Kaufman (she/her) joined the Overbrook Foundation in 2023 as the Human Rights Director. In this role, she is responsible for Overbrook’s grantmaking, partnerships, and collaborations advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice, defending democracy, and supporting human rights defenders in Latin America.

Prior to joining Overbrook, Risa was the director of U.S. Human Rights at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she led the Center’s efforts to integrate international human rights norms and strategies to advance the full spectrum of reproductive rights in the United States. She previously was the Executive Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, where she developed and implemented strategies and initiatives to promote U.S. accountability for human rights and provided overall management for the Institute. Risa is a co-founding board member of A Better Balance, co-author of the law school casebook Human Rights Advocacy in the United States (with Martha F. Davis, Johanna Kalb, and Rachel Lopez), now in its third edition, and an adjunct law professor at NYU School of Law, where she teaches a seminar on U.S. human rights advocacy. 

Prior to her role at Columbia Law School, Risa engaged in public interest litigation and policy advocacy focused on gender, racial, and economic justice, political participation, and access to justice, working as counsel at the Community Service Society of New York, as a Gibbons Fellow in Constitutional and Public Interest Law at the Gibbons Law Firm, and as a Skadden Fellow at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum). She was also an acting assistant professor of lawyering at NYU School of Law.  

Risa spent her high school years in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and she holds a B.A. from Tulane University and a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden scholar. Directly after law school, she returned to Alabama to clerk for Judge Ira DeMent in the U.S. District Court in Montgomery. Risa lives with her family in the lower Hudson Valley.

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