Ethiopia: Girls Gotta Run Foundation Announces New Leadership

Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) is the first organization investing in girls who use running and education to empower themselves and their communities in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: August 20, 2020

New York (TADIAS) — Since it was established in 2006 in the Washington, DC area the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), a non-profit organization based in the U.S. and Ethiopia, has been providing athletic scholarships and additional financial resources for low-income “Ethiopian girls who are training to be professional runners.” It was inspired by an article in the Washington Post about girls using running to change their lives in Ethiopia that led its founder Dr. Patricia Ortman, a retired Women’s Studies Professor, to launch the organization fourteen years ago.

GGRF announced new leadership this week as it continues its mission of transforming lives in Ethiopia.

“In these precarious times, I am thrilled to bring some exciting news about recent developments in the leadership of the Girls Gotta Run Foundation. In line with our leadership transition announced in March, our fearless leader and Executive Director (ED) of over eight years, Kayla Nolan, will transition to become our new Chair of the Board,” the current Chair of the Board of Directors, Ashley Kollme, said in a message to supporters. “We are pleased to announce that she will pass the baton to our new ED, Danielle Taylor, on September 1st.” She added: After an extensive and robust international search beginning in March, the Board is thrilled to welcome Danielle, who brings over a decade of experience working in championing women and girls’ right to education in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has driven results in a range of organizations in international development, from the Carter Center to Òman Baako, a non-profit organization she founded that works to build stronger, more equitable communities across Africa and the African Diaspora. Danielle’s background, leadership experience, and passion for vulnerable girls’ education make her the perfect fit for GGRF’s next phase of growth and impact.”

Danielle Taylor will take over as the new Executive Director of GGRF on September 1st, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

Kollme shared the following update:

As Chair of the Board for the past 6 years, I think I can speak on behalf of the entire Board in saying that we couldn’t be more fortunate to have Kayla take my place as the new Chair. Kayla has been involved with GGRF since 2009 as a Richter Scholarship Research Fellow. She has embodied the values of the organization and has consistently gone above and beyond her job description as she worked tirelessly to increase the size of the organization by ten (yes, ten!) times. Perhaps the biggest legacy she will leave is spearheading the design of our signature programs in Soddo and Bekoji that have impacted the lives of over 1,200 girls, women, and community members during her tenure. From living and working in Ethiopia, to stretching our small budget in the early years; from finding major donors around the world, to engaging thousands of supporters through annual international fundraisers and campaigns, Kayla has truly poured her heart and soul into this organization.

Personally, I am looking forward to serving as a member of the Board and working with Danielle, Kayla, and our dedicated Board leaders as we continue to evolve and meet the multifaceted needs of our talented girls in Ethiopia.

I hope you will join me in raising a toast to Kayla for her incredible service, and in celebration of Danielle’s acceptance of the Executive Director role. Often transitions are bittersweet, but fortunately we will not be saying “good-bye” to our tremendous leader, Kayla, and have gained a truly inspired champion of girls’ rights with Danielle.

You can learn more and support GGRF at


In Sodo & Bekoji, New GGRF Athletic Scholarship Keeps Girls in School

Why Girls Gotta Run: Tadias Interview with Dr. Patricia E. Ortman

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