The HFCF Team


Carol A. Rhees, Executive Director and Founder

CarolCarol practiced law with Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, DC, for more than 20 years and has extensive experience in tax planning for charitable organizations and individuals. Since leaving the practice of law, she has taught U.S. and World History at the Maret School in Washington where she designed and taught a service learning curriculum focused on domestic and global hunger, with particular emphasis on Ethiopia. Carol’s leadership and inspiration guide the Board and our many partners in developing programs to help meet the needs of children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, and in raising funds to support the programs. She has volunteered with our Ethiopian partners every year since 2005 and has been instrumental in establishing the Youth Centers we fund.


Elizabeth McDavitt-Centenari, President

For 28 years Elizabeth has been a partner at THE Artist Agency, Washington’s premiere modeling agency where she has marketed and developed professional talent from across the country. Elizabeth has always devoted considerable time to philanthropic endeavors. Elizabeth’s passion for helping others was truly ignited in May 2012 when she and her family spent two weeks at Hope for Children in Ethiopia working with the extraordinary children there. Elizabeth considers herself fortunate to be part of an organization that helps change the lives of those in need.

Ruthann Bates, Treasurer

Enatu and RuthannRuthann currently consults on health information programs with Federal contracting firms in the Washington, D.C. area. Ruthann retired in 2009 from Lockheed Martin Corporation where she was a Vice President. Previously, for 20 years, she was Vice President of Health Programs for Aspen Systems Corporation, managing programs focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, research and clinical trials. She has extensive experience in business management, financial systems, and forecasting. She and her family have traveled to Ethiopia, and she has been involved with the Hope for Children Fund since 2005.

Barbara Brown, Secretary

BarbaraBarbara is a certified Project Management Professional with expertise in strategic planning, stakeholder relationship building and management, and work plan development and oversight. From 2008 to 2011, Barbara served as Deputy Director of the Global Health Informatics Partnership for the American Medical Informatics Association, focusing on improving access to health care in low resource settings around the world by increasing capacity to implement eHealth systems. Previous clients include the National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Barbara and her husband have been child sponsors since 2006.

Addis Getachew

AddisAddis ran Hope for Children’s Youth Center in Ethiopia from 2008 to 2012 and is credited with its tremendous success. He is currently an Information Technology student in Turku University of Applied Sciences in Finland. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Physics from the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He also has certificates in project management and leadership skills. Even while studying abroad, Addis is committed to helping HIV+ and vulnerable youth. He stays in close contact with the many youth who we support who look to him as a mentor and role model and also acts as a consultant to local NGOs in Ethiopia.

Caroline Alder Pierson

carolineCaroline has extensive experience in nonprofit development including leadership, board development, speakers’ bureaus, fundraising and operations. Prior to her involvement with the Hope for Children Fund, Caroline served as director of development and community relations for Georgetown University’s Capital Breast Care Center (serving uninsured women in DC). There she built, from the ground up, a stellar advisory board that was led by DC’s then first lady, and raised significant funds through creating a successful annual fundraising event. Caroline’s nonprofit experience has been driven by a passion to help populations living in poverty and was parlayed to her involvement with the Hope for Children Fund in 2007 when she began sponsoring a child. Prior to her shift to nonprofit work, Caroline did marketing and sales management for Franklin Covey for over 8 years.

Elizabeth Ferenczi

ElizabethElizabeth spent thirteen years teaching at The Chapin School in New York before becoming their Director of Lower School Admissions from 1999-2005. She has a Master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as a Certificate in Independent School Management from Johns Hopkins. Family moves took her first to Paris and then to Washington, where she continues to tutor low-performing elementary school students. Elizabeth became committed to improving educational outcomes for vulnerable children following her first visit to Ethiopia where her daughter was serving in the Peace Corps. She has returned twice since and is a great believer in the mission and the effectiveness of the Hope For Children Fund.