Our work in America focuses primarily on fundraising, awareness, and engagement. We conduct many fundraisers throughout the year through both our foundation and our subset, the Wegene Youth Club. Our hope is to get Ethiopian-Americans engaged in giving back to their roots. In addition to engaging Ethiopian-Americans, we also want Americans to embrace Ethiopian culture, and help us to expel poverty and propel Ethiopia to the next level.
Here are a few volunteering events we participate in throughout the year.
- D.C. Homeless Feedings: Every winter, our youth club and Wegene members volunteer at various local D.C. homeless shelters. We provide PB&J sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, snacks, water, and basic necessities packages (toothbrushes, deodorants, socks, underwear, and more). Click here to see last winter’s events.
- Vetran’s Day Cards: Every Vetran’s day, our youth club meets at a local northern Virginia elementary or middle school to make cards for our American veterans. Click here to see last year’s event.
- Gardening Projects: Every spring, our youth club and Wegene members volunteer at different public schools or public housing areas for yard/garden restoration projects. Click here to see last year’s Boy’s Town planting event.
Here are a few ways we fundraise throughout the year.
- Annual Fundraising Galas: Each October we host our annual fundraising gala in the Washington, D.C. metro area. We bring together Ethiopians and Americans in the D.C. metro area for a night of good music, fellowship, comedy, dancing, silent auctions, live auctions, Ethiopian art sales, selling of Wegene merchandise, and speeches from prominent community and Wegene members. Click here to see pictures from our last Fundraising Gala.
- Annual Brunch with Santa: Every December, Santa comes and visits the Wegene Youth Club early and joins us for brunch! Last year, all funds from this event went towards drought relief efforts in Ethiopia. Click here to see last year’s event.
- Oldies Night: Each spring we host our annual Oldies Night, which is a night of 80s and 90s music. Funds from this event go primarily to supplying basic necessities for our sponsored families. Click here to see pictures from our last Oldies Night.
- Drives: Each year, we sponsor many different drives. These include our “Laptops for Success” campaign, our “Gabi Drive”, our “Clothing Drive”, our “Book Drive”, and our “Change for Change” campaign. Click here for our drive donation form.
- CFC Campaign: Each fall we participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, the official workplace giving campaign of the U.S. federal government. If you are a federal employee and would like to donate to us through this program, please use our CFC number: 16021.
- Grants: We work diligently to secure grants in the U.S. To date, we have received $40,000 USD from McMillan Stewart Foundation as well as a $3,000 community grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Membership: We have a vast network of Wegene members who pay $10 a month to help fund our mission. We also release annual newsletter to update our members on our progress in eradicating poverty in Ethiopia. Click here to become a Wegene member.
We also conduct many fundraisers through our Wegene Youth Club. Click here to learn more about their efforts.
Look below to see the latest blog posts on our efforts!