i knew GGRF, precisely the simien girl runners, through friends in debark and decided quite spontaneously to volunteer there for 1 month in 2010. returning to debark for other 3 times, i could see what impact the creation of a running team there had. the initial group of the 10 simien girl runners grew to a "running school of almost 100 young runners, boys and girls, supported and trained by 3 coaches. so as fas as my experience concerns, i can attest that their project in debark was successful.
I have known the foundation since its beginning and followed them closely since then. I happen to attend their kick-off celebration, then became instantaneously inspired by their mission and sense of dedication to Ethiopian girl runners. And I have been in awe to see how much impact they have made since then--the founder and her small number of staff are so talented, dedicated, and appear to work extremely efficiently to make the kind of impact they have made since their start. On behalf of all wonderful Ethiopian girls whose lives were changed forever due to the hard work of the Girls Gotta Run Foundation, thank you for your dedication and keep up the excellent work!
This foundation absolutely rocks. All you have to do is take a look at the faces and expressions of the girls in the photos on the GGRF website to see that their lives have been absolutely changed. They have a new world of hope and possibilities thanks to GGRF and thanks to you if you donate. This foundation is making the world a better place, one girl at a time.
I discovered Girls Gotta Run Foundation through a story that appeared in Canadian Running magazine a few years ago. I was attracted to a number of things: First, it twins my athletic interests with my philanthropic perspectives -- I loved the idea of twinning gender, education, and sport. Second, it operates in an economic environment where a modest donation is enough to make a large impact. Third, it was (and is) an extremely grassroots organization that does a lot for a little. This was an organization where my relatively modest monthly donations would cumulatively mean more (as a proportion of total revenues) than in many of the other much larger charities I support. That gives me a tremendous sense that I am contributing. My donations are cross-border -- I donate from Canada -- and so are not tax deductible for me. But this is the charity to whom I donate with the most enthusiasm. I look forward to their reports and tales of their activities and wish them long life!
As an avid runner, I have a deep appreciation for how running provides confidence and discipline that carries over into all aspects of one's life. This is what Girls Gotta Run is about--helping girls use running as a vehicle to empowerment for themselves, their families, and their communities. Girls Gotta Run uses limited resources wisely to partner with other successful organizations that share our goals of improving the lives of women and girls in Ethiopia. I look forward to watching Girls Gotta Run expand their impact by helping more girls to "run their own worlds." Founder Pat Ortman and Executive Director Kayla Nolan deserve much praise for their fearless leadership in getting the organization to where it stands today.
I was introduced to Girls Gotta Run Foundation 5 years ago when I met the wonderful and incredibly dedicated co-founder at the gym for women that I manage in Washington, DC. I felt an instant connection with their mission of helping impoverished young Ethiopian women train to become professional runners, to support and empower them, to give them a better life... Since that day, my gym and I have supported them through participation in races, an art show, an athletic wear fashion show, and other fundraisers. Every time I put on my running shoes I think of those girls. I am so proud to be a supporter of Girls Gotta Run Foundation, and hope you will support them too!
I am a Co-Founder and was the first GGRF Executive Director and Chair of the GGRF Board. After operating exclusively as an all volunteer organization from 2006 to 2011, providing support for an increasing number of girls who successfully completed GGRF sponsored programs and went on to experience additional success in their lives as adults, we outgrew our capacity to operate as an all volunteer organization. Thus, in 2011 we hired Kayla Nolan, a recent college graduate with a degree in International Relations who had already spent a summer in Ethiopia working with women and girl runners under GGRF's aegis. For a modest stipend as our Director of Outreach, Research and Development, she worked closely with us for a year to become thoroughly grounded in our operations and to solidify the groundwork necessary to move GGRF to the next level, one that includes some paid staff. On October 1, 2012, she took over the position as E.D. Additionally, two extraordinary young women who had served on the Board for some time, working incredibly hard and very effectively, were ready to take leadership positions on the Board. Sheena Dahlke assumed the position of Chair of the Board; Ashley Griffith Kolme took over as Vice Chair. After one year under their leadership, I could not be more proud, pleased, or confident about the future of GGRF. They, along with the rest of the Board and our many supporters, partners, and the girls we support and empower, are doing a magnificent job. It is my pleasure to continue to advise, donate to, and volunteer with GGRF as it continues to grow and move forward.
As a young girl sports were important to me for a number of reasons. They were a positive outlet that allowed me to connect with other young women and make friends, they helped me enhance my leadership, interpersonal, and teamwork skills, and they provided a way for me to have fun and stay healthy. As I grew older I continued to develop a passion for social justice and an interest in international issues, I became more aware of the issues facing young girls in other countries. A personal connection to someone involved in GGRF provided me with an opportunity to support in whatever way I could, young girl trying hard to make better lives for themselves against a number of very difficult barriers. GGRF helps to remove some of these barriers so girls in Ethiopia can have greater opportunities to create the lives they dream of. As a woman, a runner, and a social worker I'm proud to support such a fantastic organization.
This year I donated the cost of 250 limited edition prints to create an awareness raising postcard that was included in the 55th Annual Grammy Award bags. I was proud to do this, and I hope that the awareness that was raised led to donations to the Foundation. I continue to show my artwork from Ethiopia (including images of the team I met in Addis Ababa) in shows in US, UK, and Mexico.
Anyway that I can, I work to make the lives of women and children better. No offense to the guys, but it if we can raise the safety and health of the world's women, then they in turn will be able to raise the next generation in a cocoon of love and safety. This is the way to change the world. Improve women's lives. Girls Gotta Run Foundation has found a unique way to accomplish this goal. The impact that these girls will have in their country over the next decades will be amazing to watch. I support them in the great work they are doing.