Lily Yoseph considers herself lucky. Growing up in Ethiopia, she had a privileged life. She came from a middle-class family, got an education and was encouraged to follow her dreams. While on a trip back to her childhood hometown of Kofele in 2008, the Mill Valley, CA resident realized not all women in Ethiopia were as lucky. Out of the trip the idea for Tangible Hope, her nonprofit foundation was born.


Tangible Hope Foundation is a community-based non-profit organization that empowers and protects young girls living in poverty in rural Ethiopia by giving them access to education, medical care and nutrition and creating a thriving community through community-based sustainable development projects that will address their needs of education, food security, and primary/preventive medical care.


Lily Yoseph started the nonprofit out of her then one-bedroom apartment in Sausalito CA, while working various odd jobs to make ends meet. Today, it supports 100 young girls in Ethiopia and continues to grow each year.


Lily grew up in a family that always adopted children from the street. “My father was a mayor and then governor and he built the towns first high school and he was always helping the poor. I grew up with this influence all my life. After high school I lived in Europe for 13 to 14 years, went to college there and went on to the United States. My passion at the time was fashion. I worked at high profile retailers Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, but I always wanted to do something more than just working for myself. The vision came to me back in 2008. Something came to me after a hike; I told myself that I needed a purpose in my life, something greater than only focusing on myself. I decided to travel back to my birth town of Kofele a town in southern Ethiopia, located in the Oromia Region. I emailed friends and some family and told them I was trying to find my purpose and to donate whatever they could. I received $5,000 from my family and friends which enabled me to make this trip”.


After 25 years of being away she was overwhelmed and overcome by the poverty. “I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t help everyone. … I was in the village and I saw this young girl. She was only 7-years-old and everything she does is work, cleaning, washing dishes, doing all kind of work. One day I took her picture and spoke to her. She saw her image and she said, “I didn’t know I was so beautiful.” That changed my whole life and focus — empower young girls. Her name is Ubo, and she was the inspiration and the beginning of Tangible Hope Foundation.


Tangible Hope Foundation was chosen by the local Ethiopian government as the most effective NGO in the region.  The current project of the foundation is a safe haven for the girls, protecting them from harm as they learn and grow The design for the Adu Darara (Sun Seed) Center for Girls was given the Honor award in the 2018 SARA | NY Design Awards Program. The design is by San Francisco architects Bill Grenedier and Ellen Gordon.