Our Story

In 2011, two American women with Ethiopian families banded together to create educational programs to orphanages and impoverished children in Addis Ababa.

These women formed a board in the US, received 501c3 status, and became The Lelt Foundation. The organization addresses severe impoverishment, malnutrition, and economic security in the neighborhood of Kara Kore, which is on the outskirts of Addis Ababa.


Our Finances

Lelt Foundation believes in complete transparency and accountability. Private donors pay all of Lelt Foundation’s administrative costs.

100% of your donation goes to our programs in Ethiopia. View our financial information here.

Our Philosophy

The Lelt Foundation believes that being born into poverty should not deny you the right to succeed. Our programs are designed for women and children in Kara Kore to not only survive, but thrive.

Lelt utilizes a Synergy Strategy which achieves success and sustainability through a combination of programs in education, nutrition, food security, orphan care, trauma counseling, microfinance and job creation for participating families.

Our Board of Directors and Team

Anja Wood

President, co-founder,
and Director of Operations

Anja has studied Nonprofit Management at the University of Illinois, Chicago. A musician as well, she has recorded and performed with David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Mary J Blige, Harry Connick Jr, Iron & Wine, Rod Stewart and Rufus Wainwright. Anja lives in New York City with her 2 daughters, and plays the Broadway show HAMILTON.


Carlos Cabrera

Fundraising Committee Co-Chair and Board Member

Carlos heads the Institutional Prime Services (IPS) team at ADM Investor Services, Inc. In addition, he is the founder of JOIA Investments LLC, his own family office that allocates to early stage managers. Carlos is a member of Lelt’s Board of Directors and is a Co-Chair on the Fundraising Committee.

Jay Sternstein

Merchandise and Business Consultant, Member of the Board

Jay is on Lelt’s Development and Fundraising team, a Board member, and merchandise and business consultant for the foundation. He is also Vice President of Sales for designer Thom Browne. Jay resides in New York City.

Diane Curley

Board Member & Health Initiatives Director

Diane is a member of the board of directors and the Population Health and Health Initiatives Director for Lelt Foundation. She travels to Ethiopia every year and forms partnerships with local organizations to improve the health system for our community. Diane is a MSN, RN, CNOR and CBN in Bethpage, New York, where she has been a lifelong resident. diane@leltfoundation.org

Jeffrey Weiser

Chief Financial and Business Advisor, Board Treasurer

Jeffrey is the Board Treasurer of the Lelt Foundation. He is also the Co-Founder and President of ROW Asset Management, and resides in New York City.

Danielle Schmidt

Member of the Board

Danielle is a founding member of Lelt’s Board of Directors, and is the editor of Lelt’s child and family sponsorship updates. She is a labor and delivery nurse in Santa Cruz, CA, where she resides with her husband and two boys.

Candice Prezens

Member of the Board, Director of Events

Candice is a member of Lelt's Board of Directors, and coordinates fundraising events for the foundation. Originally from Australia, she studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and currently resides in New York City, where she runs her own Interior and Event Design business.

Zack Smith

Director of Social Media and Marketing

Zack manages Lelt's social media and marketing. He studied Media Arts and Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and has worked in marketing for print distributors, document solution providers, educational institutions and supplier discovery platforms. He currently lives in New York City, where he was born and raised.

Girma Amdie

Director of Program Operations (Ethiopia)

Ethiopian Director of Operations Girma Amdie works tirelessly for our Kara Kore community. He has been in leadership positions for the past 19 years, co-founding and co-directing a school and orphanage in rural Ethiopia before becoming our Director of Operations in Kara Kore. Girma has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Management.

Wubit Ashenafi

Executive Director (Ethiopia)

Ethiopian Executive Director Wubit Ashenafi has been in leadership positions in the for-profit sector, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Lelt Foundation for the past 8 years. She has a diploma in Computer Science and IT, and holds a Bachelors degree in Accounting. Wubit also has a Certificate in Leadership and Management and is certified in HIV/AIDS prevention training. She leads Lelt’s Ethiopian team.

Carrie Neel-Parker, co-founder

In loving memory of Carrie, who passed away on September 2, 2016