Daniel Assefa

Daniel Assefa is a seasoned professional with more than thirty years of experience in customer relations. His industry experience includes the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, independent contractor for aviation fuel, among others.


Trained as a political scientist, with a BA from the American University, Washington, DC. Daniel is active in international relations with a special focus on Ethiopian economic and political affairs. He is one of the founding members of the foundation and has been serving as President since 2019.

Shannon Spence

Shannon Spence is a Professional Engineer and is the Acting Director at the H.L. Mooney Advanced Water Reclamation Facility in Woodbridge, Virginia. Shannon has extensive musical training having studied classical viola for over 10 years.


She graduated from the High School of Music and Art (now the LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts) in New York City and also attended the Mannes Conservatory of Music. Shannon keeps up with music by singing in two choirs and continuing to play viola Shannon Spence serves on the Board as the Director of Finance and Music Programs.

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Lucy Gebre-Egziabher

Lucy Gebre-Egziabher is an award-winning, independent filmmaker and a Fulbright Scholar who lives in Falls Church, VA. She earned an MFA degree in Film from Howard University and a BS degree in Communications & International Relations from Wilson College.


Lucy produced & directed narrative films as well as organizational videos under Teret Productions, a production company she founded in 1999. She is a Professor of Cinema at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Alexandria Campus, in the Visual, Performing & Media Arts AFA program. For more information on Lucy visit her faculty blog.

Nicolas L. Gaffney

Nicholas L. Gaffney is the Director of the Center for African American Studies (CAAS) at the University of South Carolina Upstate, and is an Assistant Professor of History.  In his role as CAAS director he oversees the university’s African American Studies curriculum and Minor in African American Studies, and develops African American Studies related co-curricular and extra-curricular programming and research for the campus and community at large.  His teaching and research interests center on exploring the intersections between black music and black socio-political activism.  His work has been published in a variety of academic outlets and has presented numerous papers before academic and public audiences.


Prior to joining USC Upstate Gaffney served as Associate Dean for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Assistant Dean of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria (VA), where he also taught history.  Prior to beginning his career in academia Gaffney worked in the financial services industry as an analyst for the American Express Company.  Gaffney holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a M.A. in African and African American Studies from Ohio State University, and a B.A. in English from Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia.


Board Members