In 2005, Dr. Patricia E. Ortman, a retired women’s studies professor and lifelong feminist, sat down to read the Washington Post and found an article that would send her on an unlikely journey: transforming the lives of young female runners she had never met, in a country across the globe. The article was, “Facing Servitude, Ethiopian Girls Run for a Better Life,” by Emily Wax, and its message spoke clearly to Pat: courageous but impoverished Ethiopian female runners are struggling to make a life for themselves and are asking for support to overcome the obstacles they face.
Pat had never been a runner nor had she ever been to Ethiopia, but she was drawn to the authentic need for assistance expressed by the female runners and she saw her capacity to organize the resources needed to support and foster their profound initiative.
In 2006 Girls Gotta Run Foundation, Inc., was established as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with the mission of providing support for impoverished Ethiopian girls who are training to be professional runners. Since then, Girls Gotta Run Foundation has provided tools and resources for almost 50 female athletes, funded the establishment of four running teams and developed a community of partners working to support female runners in Ethiopia.
From the very beginning, the work of Girls Gotta Run Foundation was achieved through the efforts of an international group of dedicated volunteers and supporters. Girls Gotta Run Foundation also sought to work closely with local actors in Ethiopia who provided the experience and knowledge needed to create effective programming.
Today, Girls Gotta Run Foundation looks forward to expanding its impact and capacity to empower young women in Ethiopia through the work of our driven volunteers, continued collaboration with key international and local organizations and generous support of individuals like you.