History of EFF - Marla HughesHow We Got Started

The Ethiopian Family Fund was created in 2006 by Marla Hodes and Melanie Robbins. However, events leading up to its formation began nearly twenty years earlier…

In 1985, a young American doctor by the name of Rick Hodes set out to make a difference in the lives of Ethiopians by giving a year of his life to serving them. What he didn’t expect was that the people of Ethiopia would capture his heart and never let him go, transforming him into their life-long advocate and champion.  Nearly thirty years later, Dr. Hodes (fondly referred to as “Dr. Rick”) continues to dedicate his life to the most needy by caring for the sick while living full-time in Ethiopia.

In 2006, Marla Hodes and her good friend Melanie Robbins traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on a two-month’s voyage to visit Dr. Rick, who is also Marla’s brother-in-law.  This trip altered their lives profoundly as they witnessed the harsh realities of life in Ethiopia – extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, lack of education and medical care for the destitute, dying and homeless.  Witnessing the pain and daily struggles of Ethiopians affected Marla and Melanie deeply. Through that experience, they also found inspiration and hope in the beauty and strength of the Ethiopian people. They felt an immediate urge to do something to help.History of EFF - Melanie Robbins

”For us, it was always about the children; What could we do to make a lasting change for them?” The creation of Ethiopian Family Fund became the answer to that question.  Before returning home, Marla and Melanie met some incredibly dedicated people who would become their partners in Ethiopia.

In 2006 Marla and Melanie created a non-profit organization whose purpose would be to help provide life-saving medical procedures, and a path out of poverty through education, to the most needy of Ethiopians. EFF is the manifestation of their dream.

We hope you are inspired by our mission to create a brighter future for Ethiopians.


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