Maximizing Impact

OHBD is designed to take on important, hard challenges that haven’t yet been solved. We didn’t want to be just one more small NGO: We want to have an outsized impact by choosing “white space” opportunities which if successful, will be game changers. We also wanted to use the best of business and technology to help drive faster progress.

Our focus is K-14, education and Ethiopia but everything we do can be applied to other parts of the world with similar challenges.


We believe in the power of collaboration. A key goal is driving collaboration with other organizations, NGOs and individuals who share our mission and approach. We collaborate directly and use our programs to introduce organizations and individuals to encourage collaboration between them.

Our pillars of focus are literacy, leadership, innovation and inclusion. We chose each of these because they provide children, and adults, a way to reimagine their future. We believe education is more than formal schooling.  We also believe teaching leadership is critical to helping communities solve their own challenges. We elevate innovative work being done for kids in Ethiopia.

OHBD Fund believes the chance to dream big dreams should NOT depend on where you are born.

When we brought our little girl home from Ethiopia in 2008, we committed to her and ourselves that we would make a positive impact in her birth country.  We started by donating books and then funding a library in Bahir Dar, her birthplace, which we have been able to visit three times so far.

Then we took a big leap of faith and launched our first OHBD event.

As we grew and raised close to half a million dollars to support literacy related efforts, we realized we needed a different structure to continue to increase our impact.

My husband Michael and I, with the support of a talented group with HUGE hearts took another leap of faith and created “Open Heart Big Dreams Fund” as a 501(3)(c) not-for-profit.

Our little one is growing up too and she has helped us raise the funds needed since she was three years old.

In her words, “It’s not fair!!” that some kids don’t get the chance to go to school or learn to read.



Click the button below to buy OHBD Bilingual READY SET GO Books. All proceeds support our book literacy project. A great way to help others discover our books is to leave a review on Amazon!

Innovation Projects

Model Libraries

Technology Literacy

Leadership for the future