The name Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund and the acronym EDTF refers to the call for Ethiopians abroad to donate a dollar a day to support Ethiopians in need. The legal entity Friends of EDTF, Inc. was established to formally and legally create an organization to lead the fundraising and projects funding efforts.

Friends of EDTF, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization established in accordance with the Delaware General Corporation Law.  All of the money donated to Friends of EDTF will be used exclusively to pursue the organization’s objectives and to keep it in proper operation with maximum accountability and transparency.



The EDTF Board of Directors is the apex governance body. It comprises of fifteen (15) persons* drawn from the diaspora globally. Functions of the Board of Directors include:

  • Provide overall leadership and set the strategic direction, policy, oversight and accountability of the EDTF
  • Hire staff to support the operations of EDTF including  Executive/Development Director(s), Finance & IT and Programs support staff.
  • Approve an appropriate executive compensation for the EDTF Staff as needed, including developing an annual budget
  • Approve the EDTF Operational Manual including project submission procedures, formats, report submissions, etc.
  • Review and approve project funding requests from Implementing Organizations
  • Establish appropriate Board Committees that will assist the Board to function smoothly and ensure proper accountability
  • Commission periodic reviews of the EDTF
  • Secure the cooperation of appropriate government entities for the efficient and smooth implementation of EDTF ‘s overall objectives and activities
  • Adopt its own rules of procedure and
  • Perform an annual evaluation on any hired staff as applicable
Ms. Lulite H. Ejigu, Chair
Ms. Lulite Hailu Ejigu is Executive Director in Risk Management at JP Morgan Chase, a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries across the globe. She provides Risk Oversight for the Residential Mortgage and Home Equity Portfolio and Risk Policy Management and Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. She has extensive financial industry experience in Operations, Process Engineering, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Compliance Advisory and Credit Risk functions across the Commercial and Home Lending businesses.
Lulite was recognized as a Market Leader in Dallas as well as a Diversity and Inclusion champion in different capacities across JP Morgan Chase. Most notably, she is a member of the Consumer & Community (CCB) Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council and serves as the Texas Co-Chair of “Women on the Move” in Risk Management. Outside of JP Morgan Chase, Ms. Ejigu is the founder and CEO of MAMO Worldwide, an organization whose mission is to serve, restore, and connect individuals with rare essentials for the advancement of the communities they serve.
Lulite holds an Executive MBA from Texas A&M University – Commerce with a focus on Global Operations and Strategic Management, as well as a BA in Psychology with a minor in Communications Studies from Texas Tech University. She enjoys dancing, hiking, and traveling, and serve as a proud member of her local church, Shoreline City, located in Garland, Texas.
Mr. Mesfin Demessie, Treasurer
Mr. Mesfin Demise is Executive business leader with an impressive track record implementing efficient financial operations across domestic and international locations while seamlessly directing all accounting functions. Strong SEC expertise and background in business valuations, M&A, and SOX requirements.
Mesfin developed and built business from start up to quickly achieve $1.2M+ in revenue providing global call routing solutions to telecommunications companies nationwide. He started the company with no debt and a positive cashflow.
As a CFO for HC2 Holding Inc Mesfin led five direct and 15+ indirect team members focused accounting treatments and control policy/procedures for acquired companies, consolidated, in one year, all five merged and acquired companies under one financial reporting system based on SEC requirements, closed five Merger & Acquisition agreements within one year, and advised and worked collaborated with financial teams in Manufacturing, Marine services, Telecom, Utilities, Life sciences, and Insurance.
Mesfin has served as Senior Director of Finance for Primus Telecommunications, Inc.
where he led and mentored a group of 50+ team members across the United States, India, and the United Kingdom to manage revenue of $250M, integrated financial and operational functions from the acquired company and assumed financial management responsibility for US and UK operations.
Mesfin holds Bachelor of Arts in Accounting & MIS from George Mason University, and a CPA. He enjoys swimming, basketball and traveling.
Mr. Solomon Lemma, Secretary 
Mr. Solomon Lemma is currently President of SOL R1 Enterprise, LLC where he specializes in business development, commercial excellence, strategic marketing, business improvement and mergers and acquisitions in specialty chemicals and materials industry. He is also Senior Outside Advisor at Bain & Company, a $4.5 Billion revenue American management consulting company.
Solomon has served as board member at the Boys and Girls Club, Bethlehem, PA and National Public Radio, Allentown, PA. He was also Co-founder and President of Ethiopia-Cleveland Connection, an organization dedicated to helping schools and hospitals in Ethiopia while creating cultural connections between Ethiopia and Cleveland, Ohio. He was also Co-founder and President of Northeast Ohio Ethiopian American Association.
Solomon is a 30 year chemical industry veteran having held a series of technical and commercial leadership roles of increasing responsibility such as Vice President and General Manager, Specialty Additives at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., a $10 Billion revenue global industrial gases and chemicals company; General Manager, Americas at Arkema, Inc., a $10 Billion revenue global industrial chemicals company headquartered in Paris, France; and Global Business Manager and Research and Development Associate at The Lubrizol Corporation, a $6.5 Billion revenue Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary focusing on specialty chemicals.
Solomon holds multiple commercially successful international patents and invention records and was named Corporate Inventor by The BFGoodrich Corporation in 1995 which led to his induction into The National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.
Solomon holds a B.Sc degree in Chemical Engineering from Cleveland State University and an MBA with concentration in industrial marketing and strategic planning from Case Western Reserve University.
Mr. Elias Wondimu
Mr. Elias Wondimu is a social entrepreneur, knowledge broker, institution builder, peace and cultural ambassador. He is the founding director of TSEHAI Publishers, a global knowledge company. Since the 2011 closure of Howard University Press, TSEHAI is the only African or African American publisher housed in an American or European university. In this unique position, Elias plays a crucial role in bridging the global knowledge gap about Africa.
As a distinguished public intellectual, Elias serves as a senior fellow of the International Strategic Studies Association; a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities; Resident Scholar at Loyola Marymount University; contributing editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books; advisor to the Ethiopian manuscript collection program at Princeton University; and served as a lecturer at the LARB/USC Publishing Workshop and gave guest lectures in many universities.
Elias has received several awards and commendations, including the Bikila Award (2019); the Hidden Heroes Award by Loyola Marymount University (2018); Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of Emperor Menelik II by the Crown Council of Ethiopia (2017); received the Innovative Global Project Award by Loyola Marymount University (2014); Ambassador for Peace by the Universal Peace Federation (2007); and featured in Who’s Who in Black Los Angeles (2008). He also appeared in many national and international media outlets including NPR, BBC, ETV, Pacifica Radio, the Los Angeles Times, and the Ethiopian Herald Newspapers.
Dr. Ghenno Senbetta
Dr. Ghenno Senbetta is a change management professional who provides consulting services focusing on nonprofit and educational institutions. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at Purdue University teaching graduate students human performance technology and strategic assessment and evaluation online courses. As a business consulting professional, Ghenno has held several global leadership roles in learning and development; knowledge management; technology implementation and ethics and compliance at Abbott Laboratories, BP America, Inc., Arthur Andersen LLP, Ernst & Young and Accenture. As an entrepreneur he was the founder and president of Powered Performance, Inc., a performance consulting business offering services to help people learn faster and work smarter.
Ghenno has served as board member for CARE Chicago, a nonprofit organization providing financial literacy education to high school and college students. He has served as a volunteer since the beginning of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF).
Throughout his career, Ghenno has contributed to and volunteered for local and international nonprofit organizations including Rotary International, United Way, World Vision and several book and food depositories to support fundraising and community service projects.
Ghenno is a pragmatic problem solver and a creative innovator. He has a passion for applying his skills and experiences to developing and implementing practical solutions to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in need. He strives to enable organizations to develop their capabilities focusing on delivering measurable results to meet targeted goals.
Ghenno earned his Ph.D. in Educational Computing and his B.S in Geology from Purdue University.
Dr. Henok Tesfaye
Dr. Henok Tesfaye is the President and Chief Executive Officer of U Street Parking, Inc. (USP), a company he founded in 1998. Under Henok’s leadership, USP has become a premier parking company in the highly competitive parking market in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. His efforts proved successful when USP was awarded multi- million-dollar contracts to manage parking facilities at five of the busiest airports on the East Coast, including Orlando International Airport.
Henok plays an important role in giving back to the community. He serves as Chairman of the Board of the Mary Joy Foundation USA, a non-profit organization that seeks to help children and seniors in his homeland, Ethiopia.
Henok is also involved in the real-estate sector, at United Investments with multi-million-dollar properties currently in development within the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. He is featured in multiple publications. The Washington Post described him as “a District of Columbia entrepreneurial success story, a savvy and focused businessman with good standing within the community.”
Henok is a Board Member at Capital Bank and the Washington Architectural Foundation, as well as numerous civic and professional associations including the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Enterprise Development Group, and the National Parking Association.
Professor Lemma W. Senbet
Professor Lemma W. Senbet is the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park, and former Executive Director/CEO of African Economic Research Consortium (AERC:, the largest and oldest economic research and training network in Africa. Prior to his current roles, he was a distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and held the Charles Albright Endowed Chair.
Lemma has achieved global recognition for his extensive and widely cited contributions to corporate finance, international finance, and financial sector reforms and development. He has received numerous recognitions for his impact on the profession. He was elected twice as director of the American Finance Association and is a past president of the Western Finance Association (WFA). In 2000, he was inducted into the Financial Economists Roundtable (FER), a distinguished group of world-wide financial economists. In 2006, he was inducted into the Fellow of the Financial Management Association (FMA) in recognition of his career-long distinguished scholarship. In 2005, Prof Senbet was awarded an honorary doctorate by Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia’s flagship university. In 2012, he was awarded the Ethiopian Diaspora (SEED) award for exemplary lifetime achievements and community service.
Lemma has advised the World Bank, the IMF, the UN, AfDB, and various agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Africa on such issues as financial sector reforms. He has made significant contributions to the US financial industry.  Lemma was a director of Fotris Funds and is currently an independent director for the Hartford Funds.
Ms. Muluemebet Chekol Hunegnaw
Ms. Muluemebet Chekol Hunegnaw is the Vice President and a member of the Executive Leadership Team at HIAS, a global non-profit organization with programs across Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, the Middle East and Eurasia regions.
Mulu has held several senior leadership and global advisory roles in the areas of strategic planning, program management, program design, monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management, and accountability systems.  She has overseen multiple country programs in Africa in her role as Save the Children’s USA Africa Regional Programs Director and a Country Director for South Sudan, Somaliland, and Kenya Programs. As the Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor at the United States Aid International Development mission in Ethiopia, she has worked with multiple US government partners implementing humanitarian and development programs. As the Senior Energy Expert with the Ethiopian Energy Authority, she has participated in several research projects and served as the core member of the National Energy Policy and National Energy Masterplan development task forces and authored the “Women and Energy” section.
Mulu has represented children’s issues in various policy forums including testifying before the United States Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs, sub-committee on Africa. She has also served as a board member for local NGOs in Ethiopia and volunteers in various community initiatives.
Mulu holds an MA in Development Economics from University of East Anglia, United Kingdom as well as a BA in Economics from Addis Ababa University. Mulu is a Yale World Fellow of Emerging Global Leaders.
Mr. Solomon Seyoum
Mr. Solomon Seyoum is an accomplished financial analyst, researcher, trainer, business consultant, and also passionate advocate for justice. He holds that the true measure of progress & civilization is justice and the rule of law. As a survivor of near-death experiences during the totalitarian era in Ethiopia, this has been his lifelong passion. Currently, Solomon works as finance manager for the largest non-profit organization in Seattle, Washington. He also owns and runs a business consulting firm focused on helping Ethiopian and Eritrean minority and immigrant businesses. He believes small minority businesses do need as much professional services as the bigger enterprises but are in dire need for help for they often face insurmountable financial and cultural challenges.
For the most part of his adult life, Solomon had been a teacher, a job he respects very much. He taught accounting classes at the foremost Addis Ababa Commercial College for 13 years. In the US, he taught accounting and finance courses at the University of Phoenix, online and on-ground campuses, for a total of 13 years. Solomon also spends a great deal of his time and energy advocating for his community in Seattle, and his country of birth, Ethiopia. He serves in multiple committees and task forces as a volunteer and attempts to set an example to the younger generation, including his kids, and show them that the biggest reward and accomplishment in life comes from offering others help without asking for anything back in return.
Solomon has earned a BA degree (Honors) in accounting from Addis Ababa University and MBA in accounting and finance from the Catholic University of Leven, Belgium. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Walden University and he is working on his doctoral study that examines Ethiopian diaspora entrepreneurship. At the heart of his study are the success and the challenges of the Ethiopian diaspora businesses in both the country of residence and the country of origin.
Dr. Tesfaye Desalegne
Dr. Tesfaye Desalegne is a development consultant working on various policy analyses, having established Tsedall LLC since 2014. He has a combined expertise on trade policy analysis, industrial development, and foreign policy, having worked for over two decades in the Ethiopian public service.
Previously, having reached the rank of Minister Counsellor, in the Ethiopian foreign service, he served in Tokyo, Dubai and Khartoum as a resident economic attaché, where he represented Ethiopia’s economic interest in the respective countries. At the Ethiopian foreign ministry, he served as a Director for Development Finance and Technical Cooperation Department, and European Affairs Directorate where he led teams of experts for overseeing various bilateral cooperation programs. His engagements on preparation, monitoring and evaluations of the Ethiopian development plans in the 2000s as well as being a lead in resource mobilizations from DAG sources are notable.
Prior to joining the foreign service, Tesfaye worked for the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the National Bank of Ethiopia as a junior economist.
Tesfaye earned his PhD from Howard University’s African Studies Department with public policy concentration in 2020. His research project won the prestigious Sasakwa Fellowship for examining industrial linkages in the Ethiopian manufacturing sector vis a vis FDI and technology transfer. He obtained his MSc in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom), under the British Chevening scholarship, a Post Graduate Diploma in International Trade India) and a BA in Economics (with distinction) from Addis Ababa University.
Tesfaye has published several articles on nation-state building, structural transformation, foreign policy and food security. Being member of the Ethiopian Economic Association and the African Studies Association, he presented various papers on African development, more particularly the Horn of Africa. With a combined studying or working experience in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America, Tesfaye carries a unique professional exposure of several international multicultural setting.
Mr. Yehenew T. Walilegne
Mr. Yehenew Tsegaye Walilegne is Senior Legal Counsel at the World Bank Group (WBG), based in Washington D.C. Prior to joining the WBG, he was Legal Officer at WHO (Geneva) where he handled international law, constitutional law, and international civil service law matters for eight years. He has also worked as Lecturer in Law and Assistant Dean of Addis Ababa University School of Law; Rule of Law Project Manager and Head of Project Office with United Nations Development Program Sudan; Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and in-house counsel for the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation.
Yehenew has co-authored a book on Ethiopian labor and employment law, and a monograph on international migration, health and human rights. He has also published a number of articles on the hydro politics of the Nile Basin; labor market flexibility and employment and income security; state of emergency and human rights in peer-reviewed journals. He earned his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree (Distinction) in 1997 from Addis Ababa University School of Law, Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Law in 2001 from Dalhousie University Law School (Nova Scotia, Canada), and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Human Rights Law (summa cum laude) in 2004 from Notre Dame University Law School (Indiana, United States). He has also attended highly coveted short courses in international law and forced migration at The Hague Academy of International Law and the United Nations International Law Commission and the University of Oxford.
Dr. Yodit Benalfew
Dr. Yodit Benalfew is a practicing internist at Kaiser Permanente MAPMG serving as a primary care physician in the mid-Atlantic region for over 25 years. She is a leading champion of preventive care and has consistently maintained high performance in cancer screening, prevention, and management of diabetes. She has served as a module lead in the Kaiser Permanente Fair Oaks Center for over 5 years, where she led a team of 10 physicians.
Yodit is the co-Founder of The Kidus Legacy Education and Soccer Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Ethiopia which works with Addis Ababa University providing underprivileged youth with tutoring and soccer training to raise the next generation of Ethiopians.
Yodit was recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for her professional contributions. She was nominated by her peers and recognized by the Northern Virginia Magazine as one of the 2017, 2019 Top Doctors in the region and by Washingtonian Magazine 2020.
Yodit obtained her medical degree from the Medical College of Poznan, Poland. She completed the educational commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Certification (ECFMG) in the U.S. She then completed training at the internal medicine residency program in Presbyterian Medical Center, University of Penn Health System in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Minelik A. Getahun
Ambassador Minelik Alemu Getahun is a 2021 Fellow with Harvard University, Advanced Leadership Initiative. Prior to his current position, He served as Assistant Director General (ADG), Global Issues Sector, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from December 2014 to December 2020 and oversaw Programs covering Traditional Knowledge, Building Respect for Intellectual Property (IP), IP and Global Challenges as well as External Relations. Before joining WIPO.
Before WIPO, he served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations Offices in Geneva and in Vienna and other international organizations in Switzerland and in Vienna. He was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to Switzerland and (non-resident) to Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. He was the legal advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and has held different diplomatic positions.
Minelik holds a master’s degree in Public International Law from University College London and a Bachelor of Laws from Addis Ababa University. He has served as a member of the African Union Commission on International Law.
Zaki Sherif
Dr. Zaki Sherif is a Tenured Full Professor at Howard University College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is also a medical research scientist in cancer research, translational medicine, and Long-COVID-19 (Post-Acute Sequalae of SARS-CoV-2). As a principal Investigator, his research works have been funded by leading biomedical research institutions such as the National Institutes of Health and American Cancer Society.
Zaki has mentored and graduated over 90 MD’s, and PhD’s; served as a United Nations’ visiting scholar / professor at Addis Ababa University Faculty of Medicine; submitted a blueprint proposal to the Ethiopian Government on cancer center design and operation and made trips to Ethiopia on medical missions and peace negotiations. He also served as a founding member of Badr Ethiopia and First Hijrah Foundation in the United States.
Among Zaki’s notable accomplishments are discovering novel genetic mutations in breast cancer and identifying biomarkers for early diagnosis of liver cancer. He sits on the editorial boards of six scientific journals and reviews over four dozen research papers annually for over fifteen journal publications. His work is sited in numerous scientific publications including book chapters.
Zaki is recognized for his scientific accomplishments with national and international awards including the Hall of Fame Society for Science and Technology, American Association of Cancer Researchers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora.
Zaki completed his graduate and medical school studies and trainings at University of Wisconsin, Howard, Georgetown, and Stanford Universities.
Kassahun (Kassy) Kebede
Mr. Kassahun (Kassy) Kebede has served as a director of WorldSpace since 2005. He is the founder and managing partner of PANTON Capital Group, a New York based credit arbitrage hedge fund established in February 2004. From 1995 to 2004, Mr. Kebede worked at Deutsche Bank in a number of positions, ending as the head of a bank-wide management task force concerned with measuring, assessing and reducing the bank’s exposures (trading and loans) in Latin America.
Previously, Kassy has worked in the Global Markets Division focusing on the bank’s exposure in Asia and Latin America. He also served as the head of equity derivatives and a member of the division’s Management and Commitment Committees. He originally joined Deutsche Bank in 1995 as head of European fixed income derivatives. From 1994 to 1995, Kassy was head of the credit derivatives department at Merrill Lynch. From 1991 to 1993, he was employed at Bankers Trust.
Kassy earned his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Marquette University in 1985.
Gabriel Negatu, Chair
Mr. Gabriel Negatu is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and an Advisor at the World Bank. He also serves as Managing Director at Invest Afrique Inc. an Investment Strategy & Advisory Group.
Gabriel previously served as African Development Bank (ADB) Director General for Eastern Africa; with portfolio management responsibility for lending and non-lending operations valued in excess of US$ 9 billion in 13 countries. His portfolio mix covered sovereign and non-sovereign lending, policy-based operations, sector-wide projects and advisory services. Gabriel founded and directed the ADB’s Economic & Financial Governance program; with responsibilities for economic & financial reforms in more than two-dozen countries during the global financial crisis. His carrier at ADB includes Policy & Compliance Reviews and managing relations with stakeholders to mainstream impact, harmonization and alignment.
Gabriel completed advanced studies in several universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University Business School and the University of Manchester. He is a widely sought-after speaker and investment strategist featured in leading publications on Africa.


An 18-member EDTF Advisory Council is appointed by H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed with a global mandate. Its principal functions were:

  • Provide advice on mobilizing the Ethiopian Diaspora Community globally to make financial contributions to the EDTF Account on a timely and sustained basis to ensure the realization of the EDTF objectives;
  • Promote the establishment of chapters globally in cities and countries with significant presence of Ethiopians to increase the EDTFs outreach and resource mobilization;
  • Serve as a discussion forum for the formulation of strategies for adequate resource development and funding of development projects within the mission framework of the EDTF;


Professor of Political Science and Attorney at Law, California State University


Senior Development & International Affairs Advisor


President and CEO of TSEHAI Corp.


Director General, Eastern Africa, African Development Bank


Founder and Managing Partner of Cepheus Growth Capital and Panton Capital Group


William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, University of Maryland, College Park


Executive Director, Risk Management Strategy & Advisory at JP Morgan Chase


Former SVP, Center for Policy Analysis and Research and the Leadership Institute, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation


Managing Director, BlackRhino Group


Assistant Director General, World Intellectual Property Organizations


Executive Director, Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, Human Rights Activist


President and CEO, Global Translation & Interpreter


Public Figure, Human Rights Activist


President and CEO, Metropolitan Transportation Network (MTN)


Counsel at The World Bank


Architect, Manager of Facility Operations, Washington Convention Authority


President and CEO, U Street Parking, Inc.


Professor, Howard University College of Medicine