Our mission is to support rural communities in under-served regions to achieve self-sufficiency and have opportunities to thrive.
Ruth joined the Foundation in 2022 to lead our grantmaking in East Africa and support our grant partners in the region. Ruth is a feminist and development professional with 15 years of experience in Eastern and Southern Africa. Previously, she served as M&E Advisor for Voluntary Overseas Zambia, Deputy Country Director for Restless Development Zambia and Head of Secretariat for East of Africa Youth Leadership Development Program (Now YouLead Africa). She was also the founder and Director of Youth Line Forum Uganda, a youth leadership organization. Ruth is a crusader of development being people and not ‘things.’ She spends most of her time nurturing and promoting social movements and supporting local communities to flourish. She has a particular interest in young people that she mentors and coaches while inspiring and connecting young women leaders across the African continent. Ruth is a published author and member of the Uganda Female Writers Association. Ruth is based in Uganda.
Marieme joined the Foundation in 2016 to oversee the growing Sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti portfolio. She brings over 15 years of experience in international development with a focus on poverty alleviation, primarily in Africa. Previously, she served as Africa Program Director for Trickle Up, a New York City-based NGO that focuses on empowering people living in extreme poverty to build sustainable livelihoods through the provision of grants and coaching. She has deep knowledge of several regions in Africa, as well as expertise in gender-sensitive programming and participatory approaches. Born to Senegalese immigrant parents, Marieme grew up in France and attended NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism. In her free time, she enjoys running, cooking, traveling. Being still relatively new to Portland, she is also enjoying discovering the Pacific Northwest with her family.
Dana joined the Foundation in 2018 as the Communications Associate, working to bring stories from the Foundation’s grantees and country offices to life. Her background is in media, journalism, and storytelling, and before joining the foundation she spent 4 years producing stories for a variety of publications in New York City. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Colorado College and a certificate in Documentary Practices and Visual Journalism from the International Center of Photography. Dana fully believes in the power of storytelling to deepen our connections to each other and to the world around us— ultimately leading to greater understanding and compassion. When she’s not telling stories, she can be found in a yoga studio, on a hunt for the best food in Portland, or off on an outdoor adventure somewhere.
Laura joined the Foundation in 2012 as the second paid staff and has been in her role as Executive Director since 2017. Laura has over 15 years of experience in international and community development. Laura started her career in Guatemala where she spent four years working with a local women’s organization focused on empowerment and livelihood projects. After returning to the U.S., she held senior management roles at several local nonprofits providing programs to support low-income communities in Portland. Laura graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Biology and Spanish and has a Master’s in Public Health from Portland State University. Laura is passionate about supporting local organizations, building authentic relationships, and right sizing M&E for small organizations. In her free time she enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her family.
Xavier joined the Foundation early 2019 in the new role of Director of Operations. Xavier has worked more than 15 years with major non-profit organizations around the world, mainly in the Middle East and in Africa, managing innovative programs, setting up reliable operations and finances, and leading large diverse teams. He’s held roles as finance/admin director, capacity building manager, operations advisor, and country director. Xavier holds a Master’s of Science in Business Management and a Master’s of Science in Sustainability and Environmental Management. He is also certified in project management in development settings. Xavier recognizes the impact of wealth inequality and social injustice as a barrier to overcome poverty, and he believes that local organizations who represent their community are best equipped to identify solutions for more sustainable and equitable communities. Outside of work, Xavier is engaged in supporting refugees in Portland.