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July 1st, 2015

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We, the board members of The Fregenet Foundation, wish to let you know some significant changes in our organizational structure that we hope you will find useful and interesting and…maybe even exciting.

The need to meet our goals and make our mission a reality in a challenging environment necessitates that we stay nimble, flexible, and innovative. The concern in this case was to simultaneously respond to Ethiopian law governing how nonprofits conduct business, and to address an unacceptable sense of distance and a belief that we could improve synchronization between the operations in Ethiopia and The Fregenet Foundation, the fund raising arm in the United States. To address the gap, we created an executive director position and a country representative for our foundation in order to expand and speed up our services. The executive director’s job description includes being in charge of all operating activities of our organization and representing the board on the ground in Ethiopia.

The assignment of carrying out the wishes and directives of the board of directors, advising the board of directors as to the overall health of both the Fregenet school as well as the foundation, and reporting back to the board with findings and recommendations is a weighty task.  This role requires frequent trips to Ethiopia to talk to government officials, the local board and to check in on the running of the school.  The board came to the conclusion that, in spite of the implications of shake-up and reassignment of responsibilities, Ato Tafesse Woubshet, founder and Board Chairman for almost 12 years, would be the perfect candidate for this new job.

Tafesse informed us that he would be happy to shoulder the new responsibilities.  So, as of the most recent meeting of the board of directors for The Fregenet Foundation, Tafesse has stepped down as Chairman and member of the board in favor of inhabiting this new role.  The newly vacated position of Board Chair will fall to the capable co-founder of The Fregenet Foundation Elizabeth Asrat, who has bravely and confidently stepped forward.

The board deliberated a good deal and delayed the final decision in favor of further conversations and thought to make sure that we were making the best move.  Topmost in our minds were the twin concerns that 1) Any change we might make must serve to make the organization stronger and 2) There should be careful consideration given to any unintended consequences as a result of the changes.  Finally we decided that while we cannot rule out all unforeseen potentialities, we feel confident moving forward that the changes will serve to make the Foundation stronger and more capable.

Our new Chair Person, Elizabeth Asrat, who served the foundation as a board of director and financial officer since the organization’s inception, is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor with an MBA focusing in Finance from the University of Southern California, USC. She currently works at the City of Los Angeles, Department of Water and Power as a Budget Manager. Elizabeth assumed the Chairmanship position as of June 21, 2015.

Please join us in congratulating our new chairperson and the Executive Director on their new roles and responsibilities. We always count on our supporters to stand on our side and help us move our mission forward. As always, we welcome any of your thoughts and questions.

Thank you very much

The Fregenet Foundation