Who We Are
Stephanie Garlichs, co-founder of the Ethiopian Education Fund, is passionate about improving the lives of children. From 2002-2004, Stephanie, along with her husband Jeffrey Ried, was co-director of a health center in southwest Ethiopia where she focused on public health and expanding support to marginalized children. She realized the importance of education to help improve the lives of rural Ethiopians. Although she has stayed connected to the people and their culture by focusing on the students and their needs, she is still trying to learn the language. When not pursuing all things Ethiopia, Stephanie runs her own business in the USA helping dogs and cats lead healthy and fun-filled lives.
Jeffrey Ried, PhD, is co-founder (with wife Stephanie Garlichs) of the Ethiopian Education Fund. He brings over 15 years of experience in building partnerships and catalyzing change in complex, multicultural settings where sensitivity, consideration, and action are called for. He has held leadership positions in non-profit, philanthropic, and government organizations in the US and Ethiopia including developing and managing projects for the Gates Foundation, as a member of the Leadership Team of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency within the Government of Ethiopia, co-director (with Stephanie) of a health center in Ethiopia, and currently leading a multi-sector analytical project to better understand and address the challenges of Food Security in Ethiopia. He and Stephanie are grandparents and live on Whidbey Island.
Annie Clay is a retired hospice chaplain in Olympia, Washington. She is trained in elementary education, social work as well as carpentry. She is active in social justice issues within the local community. She traveled to Ethiopia in 2004 and in 2018 and sees the need for improved opportunities for children from poor families in rural areas. She first visited the health center where her sister, Stephanie Garlichs, was working and met children who would become future beneficiaries of the Ethiopian Education Fund. Annie is a mother, partner and owner of a cute dog.
Rochelle is a public involvement consultant who specializes in strategic communications and outreach for projects in the greater Puget Sound area. Based in Seattle, she has spent the last several years raising community awareness and understanding of major transit initiatives, energy infrastructure investments and highway redesigns. Rochelle's passion for telling stories and connecting with people was energized by her first trip to Ethiopia in 2013, where she produced a short video about the students and the challenges they face. She is also a ceramic artist, bike commuter and is fueled by (mostly Ethiopian) coffee.
Zelalem (Zed to his friends) is project manager for the Ethiopian Education Fund and lives in the city of Arba Minch in Southwest Ethiopia where he teaches English at the university. He started his career in the rural village of Chiri in the early 2000s as an English teacher, which is where he met Stephanie and Jeff. Four years later he moved from the countryside to the capital to attend Addis Ababa University and received his BA degree in Linguistics. Following a year of teaching at a private school, he moved to Arba Minch and taught English in a Teachers Training College and simultaneously completed his second degree. His experience as a teacher and living in a village as a child have helped him gain knowledge of the education system at all levels, cultivate a broad network colleagues, and understand the challenges EEF students face. Zed and his wife Ketcho are parents of a daughter and a son.
Azeb Ayele Tefera
Azeb (Azi to her friends) is EEF’s Program Assistant. She was born in a village in Ethiopia and advanced her education to become an elementary school teacher and medical laboratory technician. She currently lives on beautiful Whidbey Island, USA. Azi has worked with young people as a counselor and mentor at church, and as a teacher of Amharic (the national language of Ethiopia). She is drawn to the Ethiopian Education Fund because of her heart connection to the kids of Ethiopia (especially girls) and to helping them overcome the challenges that she knows so well so they have an opportunity to receive an education. Azi loves gardening and is married to her awesome husband, Serawit, and together they have two beautiful daughters.