Guided by our core values to lead with integrity, respect diversity, support responsiveness, ensure quality, effective stewardship, celebrate innovation, and promote interdependence.
Robert S. Budd is the Chief Executive Officer of Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), a not-for-profit agency that supports individuals of all abilities with community living opportunities, employment, day services, clinical, crisis, education, after-school and other supports. Mr. Budd is a vision driven, results orientated leader with over 35 years of progressive leadership experience.
Mr. Budd joined FREE in 1985 and has held key operations positions most recently named Chief Executive Officer in 2008. He played a key leadership role in expansion of the organization from an annual budget of $1 million in 1985, serving forty-five individuals to a network of organizations providing over $135 million of services in 2019 serving over 35,000 individuals annually.
Mr. Budd has initiated numerous innovative proposals most notably the Network structure that molds the uniqueness and flexibility of distinct smaller organizations with the efficiencies and strength of a larger Network. Mr. Budd is actively involved with many human service agencies that support people who are differently abled, with developmental and other disabilities. He continues to serve and take leadership roles on many advocacy boards, both regionally and nationally. Mr. Budd is the Past President of the Board for American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) and was inducted into the 2018 ANCOR Foundation Legacy Leaders Circle. The Legacy Leaders Circle recognizes ANCOR members who have made significant contributions to ANCOR and the broader disability and provider community during their tenure as an ANCOR member.
Mr. Budd also serves on the boards of New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation (New York Alliance), Interagency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies, Inc. (IAC), Long Island Select Healthcare, Inc. (LISH), Alliance of Long Island Agencies, Inc. (ALIA) and New York Disability Advocates (NYDA).
Mr. Budd dedicates time to the field consulting, speaking and training and is pleased to utilize his certification as an A.M.A and Covey facilitator to support colleagues in personal and professional growth. He teaches a Master’s program cohort class for Stony Brook University’s School of Professional Development and was one of the industry leaders on a panel at the State Of The Not-For-Profit Industry hosted by Long Island Business News.
Mr. Budd holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam and a Master of Professional Studies in psychology from Long Island University, CW Post.
Christopher Long, Ed.D, is the President of Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), a not-for-profit agency that supports individuals of all abilities with community living opportunities, employment, day services, clinical, education and after-school and family and crisis supports. Dr. Long joined FREE in January of 2010. He has been recognized as a professional whose exceptional skills and dedication profoundly affect the lives of people with disabilities. Throughout his career, he has held various administrative positions in residential/housing services, day services, schools, supported employment, and professional development.
Prior to joining FREE, for ten years, Dr. Long held multiple executive management positions at several not-for-profit health related and human service organization. Additionally, Dr. Long has a considerable amount of higher education teaching experience. In 2009 he joined the adjunct faculty at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue and teaches a wide range of graduate courses for the Child Study Department. Dr. Long is also an adjunct faculty member at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY. Dr. Long has a doctorate degree in education, a Master of Arts in special education, master’s degree in educational leadership and another advanced degree in English. He holds a New York State Special Education permanent teaching certification and a New York State School Building Leader certification. Dr. Long holds a Certified Alcohol Substance Abuse Counselor certification (CASAC).
Dr. Long was the 2005 winner of the prestigious Zella Bronfman Butler Award for outstanding contributions in the field of special education/human services. He was also named one of Long Island Business News’ Executive Circle Awards winners for 2018 for his leadership skills, vision and commitment to community service and diversity. Dr. Long is dedicated to mentoring youth with potential and has implemented many programs to help them perform academically and socially to realize their full potential.
Dr. Long is the author of the highly anticipated book, Swimming in a Pool of Peanut Butter, written from the perspective of children with ADHD. Dr. Long is proud to announce his second book, “Stop the Bounce”. This book portrays the experiences of foster children who are hoping to one day find their forever family. All proceeds from these inspiring books benefit FREE’s Youth Services.
Dr. Long’s diversified professional experience and passion for the human services and special education industries has provided him the skills necessary to be an effective leader, a confident visionary and an innovator.
Michelle Amato, LMSW is the Chief Program Officer of Housing Services for the FREE Network. Michelle joined FREE, Inc. in 2021. Michelle came to FREE with a wealth of senior management experience and has held various administrative roles responsible for the oversight of services and departments including but not limited to: Residential Treatment Services, Foster Care, Health Home Supports, Strategic Planning, Human Resources and Risk Management.
Michelle sits on the board at the Child Care Council of Suffolk County, an organization whose mission is to ensure every child has equitable access to quality early care and learning opportunities. In addition, Michelle sits on the Pace University Advisory Panel for their Transformative Leadership Program. In 2018, she was recognized by NYN Media as a distinguished “40 Under 40” Rising Star.
Michelle holds a Masters of Social Work degree from Stony Brook University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ithaca College.
Anu Arnold, MA, LMSW is the Chief Quality and Clinical Officer for the FREE Network. Anu has been a valued team member with FREE since 2002. During her tenure with FREE, Anu has held numerous management and administrative positions and has been an integral part of the evolution of FREE’s service delivery and expansion.
Anu is an integral part of FREE’s continued effort to respond to the shifting and transforming environment and to ensure we are positioned to meet our commitment to transition those we serve to integrated community opportunities and to offer the highest quality of services. Anu is responsible for OPWDD Day Services, Education & Youth Services, START, Supported Housing, Apartment Treatment Program Services, Crisis Housing and Mobile Crisis Supports, Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS), Employment Services (including ACCES-VR, NYSID, Vocational Rehab, TRI and Skills), PRONTO, Adelante, Article 31/related services, Integrated Health and TBI/ABI Services, Nursing Home Transition and Diversion. Additionally, Anu leads the effort to nurture partnerships in specific areas of opportunity and expansion of services for FREE.
Anu served as a Board Member and Co-Chair of the Mental Health Subcommittee in Suffolk County. She is also the Chair of “Aging Subcommittee for Suffolk County.” The focus of this Subcommittee is on developing resources for OMH certified housing providers that can support the aging population in their settings. In addition, Anu is an active member of several trade associations such as ACLAIMH; NYAPRS; NY Alliance; NYS Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and New York City Coalition for Behavioral Health.
Anu has a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Adelphi University.
Susan Dickinson is the Chief Financial Officer of the Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) network of services. This is a growing network of not-for-profit agencies and for-profit companies, all working toward the goal of providing opportunities for people of all abilities to reach their full potential. Ms. Dickinson joined FREE in November 2012, bringing to the job more than 20 year of experience in the field. She is a skilled professional with strong technical skills, providing analysis to promote sound financial decisions.
Prior to joining FREE, Ms. Dickinson was the CFO at Maryhaven Center of Hope, a sister agency on Long Island. She was a key member of the administrative team at Maryhaven, respected for her contribution to establishing policies, creating efficiencies, and implementing solutions to enhance the exchange of information and improve the provision of services.
Ms. Dickinson received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and an M.B.A. from New York Institute of Technology. Ms. Dickinson is a C.P.A. She is the recipient of the 1992 Elijah Watt Setts Award from The Board of Examiners of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts.
John Herchenroder is Chief Legal and Compliance Officer of the FREE Network. Mr. Herchenroder is a vision-driven, results oriented leader with extensive experience as a consensus builder, trouble shooter, compliance plan developer, management trainer and consultant.
Mr. Herchenroder joined FREE as a Board member in 1990, and served as President from 1993 to 2001. Since that time he has served as Chief Legal and Compliance Officer. In the capacity as Chief Compliance Officer, Mr. Herchenroder was responsible for the development of the initial compliance plan for FREE, and has overseen its evolution consistent with the changes in the Medicaid provider world. He has played key roles in formulating strategies to maximize compliance in a fast-growing agency, without concomitant growth in the Compliance Department staffing through an innovative program to “get it right the first time”.
Mr. Herchenroder is actively engaged with many human service agencies that support differently abled persons. He serves on the Compliance Committee of the Alliance of Long Island Agencies (“Alliance”), and is Chair of the Compliance Committee of the Coalition of Long Island Behavioral Health Care Providers, Inc. (“Coalition”). He also plays a leadership role as Chair of the combined Enterprise Risk Management Committee of the Alliance and Coalition. Mr. Herchenroder has presented on compliance and legal topics to the Nassau County Bar Association and the Alliance of Long Island Agencies.
Mr. Herchenroder has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Le Moyne College, and a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School. He is a member of the New York Bar and multiple bar associations.
Susan Sorrentino is the Chief Administrative Officer for the FREE Network. Susan has had a long and successful career within FREE since 1987. The scope of the Chief Administrative Officer’s responsibilities include ensuring we have a solid administrative infrastructure designed to provide operations with a high quality customer-centric service. Susan is responsible for the oversight of the following administrative support services: Transportation (Fleet Management), Property Management (Maintenance-Housing & Commercial locations), Information Technology (including HIM), Central Referral Services, Entitlements, Risk Management, Quality Improvement, Corporate Compliance and Community Development. Susan also serves as Vice President on the Board of the New York State Association of Day Service Providers meeting with provider members state wide and interfacing with Office of People with Developmental Disabilities as part of her role.
Susan earned a Master’s of Education from SUNY Empire with focus on Teaching and Learning and holds a BA in Psychology and BA in Economics from SUNY Stony Brook.
Darren Belcher joined Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), and began supporting the FREE Network, in January of 2016 as the Vice President of Technology Services, where he is responsible for the organization and management of the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, desk and mobile phones, applications and support. In addition, he is responsible for oversight of the IT team, including IT and phone managed services vendors, IT policy, and management of all IT systems.
Prior to joining FREE, Darren worked at another not-for-profit, Phoenix House Foundation, as the Director of IT Support and Infrastructure, where he was responsible for the day-to-day support of all local and infrastructure end points. Darren has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry at different levels of management and support with companies such as Warner Music Group and Computer Associates.
Darren also serves as the VP of Programs for HDI, Long Island Chapter. HDI fosters the sharing of knowledge, skills and networking opportunities for IT service management and support professionals. Besides numerous IT certifications, Darren graduated from Control Data Institute with studies in Computer Science/Electronics.
John Best, SPHR, SHRM, is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for the FREE Network. He joined FREE in April 2017 and is responsible for providing strategic leadership and support to FREE and its affiliates. John oversees a team of 17 human resource professionals who ensure that the 2,500 Valued Team Members have the tools they need to provide quality services to the individuals we support. In the course of his over 20 years in nonprofit management, John has worked for a number of New York City-based social services agencies, including Puerto Rican Family Institute, Good Shepherd Services, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. John has a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Fordham University. He is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a SHRM-Senior Certified Professional.
Anita Dowd-Neufeld is the Senior Vice President for Housing Services. She joined the FREE network in 1992, serving as a senior executive for 28 years, and has played an instrumental role of the evolution of FREE’s service delivery and expansion. Anita has extensive experience in the housing industry and has been involved in the opening of new residential programs both on Long Island and in New York City. Anita has successfully interacted with the state funding agencies such as the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) the Office for Family and Children’s Services and the NYS Department of Health.
Anita has an exemplary track record of proven performance and has a well-established and stellar reputation in the field of health and human services. She is a member of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies (NYSACRA), Association of Community Living (ACL), as well as a past Board Member of Irie Therapeutic Riding Program, and the Adoptive Parents Committee of Long Island.
Anita holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree from State University of New York at Stony Brook (SUNY).
Lynda Foley is the Senior Vice President of Administrative and Quality Supports for the FREE Network. Lynda has been an integral part of FREE’s growth for the past 33 years, and has established a solid reputation in the field of health and human services.
Lynda began her illustrious career with FREE in 1988 as a valued team member in the Behavioral Health division where she worked as a Direct Support Professional. From there she assumed increasingly responsible positions in administration and management catapulting her into leadership roles. Lynda has served as the Senior Vice President of Development and Mission Advancement (DMA) responsible for implementing comprehensive fundraising, marketing, public relations, government relations, grants, and communications strategies for FREE. Lynda also served as the Vice President for the Community Living Services and Opportunities division responsible for the operation and oversight of FREE’s largest area of service delivery.
In her current position Lynda is the agency’s lead executive for a diverse team of departments responsible for Quality Improvement, Compliance, and Incident and Investigatory Services. Lynda takes over the reins of these departments at a pivotal time in the agency’s evolution as it moves towards the delivery of person-centered services that ensure optimal quality for the people we support across the network.
Lynda will work in direct partnership with the executive team to solidify a vision for creating highly successful programs that elevate FREE and its affiliate partners’ presence, and will work with a passionate, mission-oriented team, in a collaborative environment, to develop, execute and achieve ambitious quality outcomes.
Connie Hendrickson, ANP, MS, RN is the Senior Vice President of Healthcare Services for FREE. Connie is responsible for leading and evaluating the Nursing/Medical services for the organization for the programs served under the auspices of Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and Office of Mental Health (OMH).
She originally joined Free in 2007 and returned in 2016. Since returning she has held positions of increased responsibility in the Nursing/Medical division. She has been an integral part of the evolution of Nursing/Medical services and oversite for the provision of healthcare at FREE. Connie has over 30 years of successful experience in the health and human services field. She has extensive experience, training and knowledge in the specialties of ID/DD (Medical and Behavioral Intensive programs) and Long Term Care (Gerontology). Connie has also provided OPWDD consultative services with demonstrated success in: Staff Orientation, Policy Development, Quality Assurance, Survey Readiness and AMAP Certification Course. Connie has a Master of Science degree and certification as a Nurse Practitioner in Adult Health from Stony Brook University.
Nicole Wolf is the Senior Vice President of Community Services for the FREE Network. She joined FREE, in 2021, having over 17 years of experience in the Human Services Field specifically focused towards the integration of people with intellectual developmental disabilities into their communities. Nicole has a true passion for ensuring that the individuals she serves have every opportunity to bring their life dreams into reality. Nicole began her journey through the I/DD world at a very young age as a teacher assistant within self-contained classrooms, recognizing then, how important community integration and inclusion was and became driven to go further with a focus on creating programs that were different from the norm to serve the underserved. Nicole had the vision and drive to develop many day programs serving individuals that were not given a chance to thrive elsewhere due to their intense behavioral needs. Nicole has held various administrative roles and has been responsible for the oversight of many departments inclusive of but not limited to: Day Habilitation, Community Habilitation, Respite, Medicaid Service Coordination, Assistive Supports, Independent Support Services and Family Care. Nicole is a member of the InterAgency Council Committee, NY State Association of Day Service Providers as well as the NY Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation. Nicole continues her firm lifelong commitment serving individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness within the FREE Network to collaborate with families and service providers to establish the best community options so they may reach their fullest potential.
Lauren Accovelli is the Vice President of Housing Services. Lauren is responsible for the operations, innovation, and support of certified residential facilities and its staff under the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). She previously served as Assistant Vice President for Housing Services and Specialized Program Without Walls.
Lauren has 17 years of successful experience in the health and human services field. She has extensive experience, training, and knowledge supporting children and adults in crisis with diverse complex and behavioral backgrounds.
Lauren joined FREE in 2012 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in the Community and Family Services Division including Applied Behavior Specialist for Crisis and Intensive Behavioral Services, Residential Coordinator and Operations Director. Additionally, Lauren provided oversight to FREE’s Respite program, Mobile Crisis and Enhanced Mobile Crisis Services, Family Care, In Home Crisis Respite, and Community Habilitation Program for individuals who live independently in the community and within certified sites. Lauren also created a Specialized Program Without Walls which provides day service opportunities for individuals with significant behavioral challenges.
Lauren has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Dowling College, a Master’s degree in General Psychology with a Clinical Psychology concentration from Adelphi University, and an Advanced Certification in Applied Behavior Analysis from LIU Post.
Nancy Cohen, MSHRM, CFRE, Vice President of Development and Mission Advancement (DMA), joined the FREE family in April of 2001 as a Development Coordinator. Her extraordinary talent and tenacity were quickly recognized and she was elevated to Vice President where she now oversees FREE’s external and internal development programs. Internal events include several annual conferences and a yearly dinner dance attended by approximately 1,000 individuals.
FREE’s annual fundraising efforts include a dinner gala. This event has been fundamental in bringing in revenue and increasing public awareness for the Family of FREE Network.
Nancy is responsible for achieving fundraising goals, engaging sponsors in ongoing service activities, leveraging key community relationships and partnerships, and developing new relationships that generate charitable funds for the organization.
She leads all marketing efforts and develops advertising campaigns for all new and existing activities throughout the Family of FREE Network.
Nancy provides leadership, all while planning, organizing, directing and coordinating the strategic direction of DMA. She sets objectives, leads efforts to ensure progress toward priority goals and evaluates results to ensure that departmental and organizational objectives meet the needs and mission of the organization.
Further, she designs and implements strategies and ideas to work with the private sector for the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of individuals and corporations, as well as obtaining foundation gifts and identifying new donors. She also created a planned giving program based on the agencies 100% Giving Philosophy.
Nancy has always been active in supporting nonprofit organizations on Long Island. In 2006, she volunteered to coordinate the Long Island Fight for Charity, a not-for-profit event that includes several large pre-events and the coordination of more than 100 volunteers, dozens of restaurants, sponsors and over 20 boxers each year. Nancy and her team successfully ran the Fight for Charity for more than seven years. This event has raised over $1,000,000 for a number of local Long Island charities and has attracted more than 1,200 attendees in any given year. After leading the Fight for Charity team for seven years, she now serves on the committee.
Cohen has also been a member of multiple committees, including the Sisters of St. Joseph Golf Outing, Autism Speaks Walks, The Aaron Joshua Soskil Memorial Cruise for Causes, Long Island Cruizin’ For A Cure, Christa House, LIE Masquerade Ball, and was the lead in a collaboration conference with FREE and St. Joseph’s College. Cohen is also a founding member of the Long Island Elite, currently sits on the Catholic Charities Caritas Award committee, and is a member of the Plainview Bethpage Lions Club, as well as the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Vincent Cona has been with the FREE Accounting Department since August of 2011, starting as the Assistant Controller for Medicaid and other fee-for-service billing. As the scope of services in the FREE Network has grown, so has Vinny’s role. In 2014, he became the Controller for Revenue & Reimbursement, adding responsibility for contracts, claims, and all other sources of revenue for the FREE Network. In 2017, Vincent became the Vice President of Accounting, incorporating additional tasks of internal and external reporting, as well as, budgeting. Prior to joining FREE, Vincent worked as an auditor for the accounting firm of Holtz Rubenstein (now Baker Tilly) and has brought a valuable auditors perspective to his position with FREE. Vincent received his bachelors degree in accounting from Hofstra University.
Kristen L. Lott, MA, started off her career at Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) in 2004 as the Program Director for Behavioral Services where she was jointly responsible for the oversight of six OMH-licensed community residence programs, a 46-bed apartment treatment program, an OMH non-licensed Supported Housing program and Homeless Housing under HUD and HHAC. In 2008, she was made Compliance Coordinator for the Compliance Department where she was responsible for the implementation of the agency’s corporate compliance policies, procedures and systems in accordance with OMH, OPWDD and DOH regulations. In 2010, Kristen became Operations Coordinator for Behavioral Health Services and was responsible for auditing records for corporate compliance and quality improvement, as well as evaluating policy implementation. From 2012 through 2014, Kristen was the Residential Director for Behavioral Health Services, where she supervised the management of the licensed and certified residential facilities and its staff, while ensuring ongoing quality care of the men and women we assist, under the auspice of OMH. Starting in 2014, Kristen became Assistant Vice President for Housing Services and Opportunities where she became responsible for the management and supervision of the division’s licensed and certified residential facilities under the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and specialized licensed residential programming under the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), as well as the staff and the men and women we support, while leading several projects to help clients achieve independence. Starting in 2018, in her new role as Vice President of Housing Services, Kristen will co-lead efforts to nurture partnerships in specific areas of opportunity and housing expansion of services for FREE, to include: Cultivate and develop new housing opportunities for those we serve that is aligned with the principles of integration and transforming priorities of the NYS plan; continue to expand related community supports for people who do not require long-term services and cultivate new housing/service options; develop policies and procedures that embody the agency’s philosophy and provide direction to personnel responsible for the provision of all services related to the oversight of housing services; strengthen and lead the development of those services and harness strategic partnerships and opportunities aligned with the mission of the agency and services aforementioned; develop and execute strategies to create new partnerships that cultivate the services related to this evolving area of opportunity; develop partnerships with hospitals, MCOs, IPAs and other health management services in an effort to ensure those we serve receive all services they require to live healthy and satisfied lives; broaden our relationships with the business community, legislators and other key stakeholders; and assure the proper and efficient oversight of the organization, including oversight of management, clinical and other key personnel under her direction. Kristen has proven to be an exceptional leader who possesses great integrity, unrelenting commitment to our mission and she embodies the spirit of inclusion and innovation required as we embrace this new era of opportunity.
Kristen studied at Adelphi University where she received a bachelor of arts degree in communications with a minor in psychology. Furthering her education, she also attended Long Island University to obtain her master of arts in psychology.
Holly Richards Mosby is the Vice President of Housing and Community Services for the FREE Network. She is responsible for the strategic direction for an operating division within the FREE Network and leads efforts of the division to ensure progress toward priority goals. Holly is an integral member of the senior management team and is an active contributor to the organization’s strategic plan.
Holly joined FREE in 1995 as a Senior Counselor and over the past 24 years has held a variety of senior operations positions in both OMH and OPWDD Residential Services. She has served as Operations Director, Residential Director, Associate Divisional Director and Assistant Vice President prior to her promotion to Vice President. During her tenure with FREE, she has worked closely with all stakeholders in the Behavioral Health arena to develop innovative housing and support services. Holly has been able to develop collaborative partnerships with many community providers to improve access to care and services for the men and women FREE supports.
Holly earned a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College. She is a member of the local Continuum of Care Governance Board, and an active member of Association for Community Living (ACL) and the Suffolk County Task Force.
Nicole Ramos, MBA is the Vice President of Housing Services for the FREE Network. Nicole joined FREE, Inc. in 2021. Prior to joining FREE Nicole held various administrative roles responsible for the oversight of departments including but not limited to: Opening new residential programs, ICFs, IRAs, Supported Living Program, Foster Care, Juvenile Offenders in a Residential Therapeutic Home, and working closely with OCFS, Probation, Court Systems and DSS.
Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from York College with a minor in Health Education, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Dowling College with a focus in Healthcare Administration Management.