Can’t wait any longer…

to share our “Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy” campaign progress.  During this short weekend, more than 800 bricks were purchased for FOVC!  Check out the size of our LEGO wall:


Most of the new bricks (the white and yellow layers) were gifts to Noah F. in St. Louis.  Noah (who is newly 5) chose bricks over toys for his birthday gifts–isn’t he fabulous? Thank you handsome Noah.  YOU are EOR!

Speaking of fabulous, I can’t wait any longer to introduce you to our newest board member (yep, another–we’re growing in leaps and bounds!), the fabulous Alex Dedels.  Alex hails from DC, but currently lives here in the greater Columbus area.  Alex and her husband Dan are parents to the terrific E, of Ethiopia, and sweet baby R, who was adopted domestically.  Alex was a key volunteer for The Dead of Winter Bash, works hard to plan the local Enkutatash celebration, and she is a good friend besides.  We are SO pleased to welcome her to the board, especially as she joins the fundraising team.

Alex & Dan aka  Anne and Henry

Thanks, Alex!






Melkam Lidet!

Just finished cleaning up after my sweet four year old’s birthday party.  The actual anniversary was weeks ago, but the calendar and illness conspired and we had to postpone the big event.

Despite the delay, the day held all of the birthday girl’s desired elements–lots of balloons, lots of cupcakes, lots of guests, all in shades of blue.  At the end of the event, Astrid Meklit opened many lovely birthday cards, nearly all bearing checks, not for the birthday queen herself, but for Ethiopian Orphan Relief.  Astrid was delighted, “look mama, another money to buy toothbrushes (she’s really into oral hygiene!) and bananas in Ethiopia where I lived with the nannies!”

At four, my sweet girl is beginning to learn about the work we do through EOR–she’s been helping to fill backpacks for Project Gena, she helps add the stamps to the thank you notes I send out, and she’s starting to realize why we do what we do.  There are lots of kids in Ethiopia who’d like a new toothbrush and a banana (and shoes, and a warm bed, and clean water…) and this year, for her birthday, Astrid Meklit was able (with the help of lots of loving friends) to make that possible.

Thank you to all of our friends who enrich our lives.  We are humbled by your generosity and your affection for Astrid Meklit.



If you plan to celebrate with donations to EOR rather than gifts, please let us know.  We’d love to blog about YOU!


Children giving from their hearts

Miss A who hails from the midwest celebrated her 3rd birthday by giving back to Ethiopia. This Ethiopian born tot joined her forever family as a infant. For her birthday this year they asked in lieu of a gift to consider a donation to Ethiopian Orphan Relief. Thanks Miss A for your giving heart! The generosity of your party guests will help many children in your first home at Le Toukoul Orphanage/SOS EE.

Miss A a “Philanthropist” tee shirt will be on it’s way soon. Thanks for making a difference! Happy 3rd Birthday to you.


Happy, Happy Birthday, baby

We’ve mentioned it before, but I wanted to remind our readers that donating to Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. in lieu of receiving gifts is an excellent way to share the wealth.  When my daughter turned two last October, we had a party for grown up friends and a separate gathering for our toddler playgroup.  We specified, ‘no gifts’ for both occasions but also mentioned that if people must give gifts,  a donation to EOR would be welcome.  It was so lovely at both parties, not to focus on gift opening.  Although the world’s most delightful two year old received some gifts from the immediate family and a few close friends, she also received a number of donations in her honor.  Not one to be left out, our 10 year old also asked for donations for his birthday in January.

I thought we’d miss all the trinkets, the sweet little outifts, and the new puzzles, but really, by the end of the birthday extravaganza, both kids seemed happy despite not having a tower of presents to open.  After the success the kids enjoyed, I asked for donations for my birthday as well.  People seemed genuinely pleased to write a check for each of these occasions–it’s a good deal easier than gift shopping, wrapping and shipping, and in the end it’s a lovelier gesture too.

If you (or a small loved one) has a special occasion coming up–a birthday, graduation, Bar Mitzvah or something like that, consider asking for donations in lieu of gifts.  The orphans of Ethiopia, who will receive playthings and clean water and medical care on your behalf will thank you.  I’ll thank you too.



EOR Project Updates-September

The moms and dads that make up Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s team of Board Members, Advisory Board and Volunteers have been so very busy raising money and organizing projects, we wanted to update all of our readers on the status of our various projects.

Many amazing children have spent their summer selling lemonade to benefit EOR, asking for donations to EOR instead of birthday gifts and even donating all the money they were saving for a Wii to EOR (Curious? Look back in our archives). Parents, you’ve done good–mini philanthropists in the making, for sure. Kids–we’re all so proud of you. You probably don’t remember the cheesy lyrics to Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All,” but as someone who spent many a summer day torturing my babysitter with a lip-synced version of the song, I can tell you–you are the future, I hope the money you’ve raised has made you feel proud and I hope other kids (and adults) see you as heroes like the kids in Ethiopia will.

We’ve also had lots of adults step up for Ethiopian orphans–we’ve had parents to be ask for donations to EOR instead of gifts at their baby showers, and raise lots of money in the process.

As of today, a mere 8 months after our founding, EOR has raised over $6,000 to benefit Ethiopian orphans. None of this came in the form of huge donations. Our vision for EOR was lots of people doing whatever they could for the greater good of Ethiopian orphans–it’s amazing to see that coming to fruition.

Here’s the status of individual project fundraising–

Playground for AHOPE for Children: We’re about half way there…but we need the rest of the money ASAP so we can get the playground shipped over the first week of October. PLEASE donate now to this project if you can! There is a link on our website!!

Playground for SOS/EE: We’re about a quarter of the way there. Donations welcome!!

Building/Facility for Children’s Heaven: We’ve only just begun…EOR will be hosting an Art for Ethiopia event in Denver on November 8th to raise money for this project, please plan to attend if you’re in the area and if you’re an artist, please donate something!! More information is available on our website under “Fundraising”

Sanitation System for Hope for Hosanna School: Donations needed!

Foundation for Be’Emenet Orphanage and School: Donations needed! This is a new project for us, and a very important one. If we can get the foundation built quickly (by the end of the year) we can have the land FOR FREE to build the rest of the orphanage and the school.

For more information on our projects and beneficiary organizations, please visit our website and click on “Partners and Projects” and/or search our blog archives.

Thanks again for your support, donations and purchases from our store–every little bit helps. Together, we can change the world for Ethiopian orphans.

-Danielle, President of EOR

Thank You Anthony!

Thank you to Anthony in Oregon for choosing to have his 8th birthday party be a benefit for Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. Anthony chose to ask for donations of art supplies for the Toukoul Orphanage, where his sister Annie lived. The supplies were recently brought over to Ethiopia by our Advisory Board member Krista, as she travelled to bring home her beautiful daughter Eden. The art supplies were used by the children at Toukoul in an art clinic, and the finished works of art were brought back to Oregon. At our Board Meeting next week, we will be selecting from these works of art (and those submitted by your children who are already home!) for inclusion in our first series of greeting and note cards, which will be for sale in our website store in mid-August. Thanks again for your generosity, Anthony! Your gift will have a lasting impact on our programs.

Happy Birthday Amelie!

Happy 2nd Birthday Amelie from Colorado! Amelie was adopted from Ethiopia in 2007 by Ethiopian Orphan Relief Founder and President Danielle Marquis and her husband Bryan Cudmore. In lieu of gifts at her “Bubble” themed birthday party, Amelie’s parents requested that donations be made to EOR. All donations will go towards the construction, installation and upkeep of a playground at the Toukoul Orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Amelie lived before coming home to Colorado. The playground will be dedicated to Amelie’s friend and “crib mate” Sayre Grimm who came home to a loving family in Portland, OR before passing away in a tragic accident at the age of 15 months. Amelie’s party was attended by many of her friends from the Ethiopian Adoption community in Denver and a great time was had by all! If you’d like to host a celebration to benefit one of EOR’s projects, please email us at!

Happy Birthday Aidan!

Happy 7th Birthday Aidan! Aidan in Maine, whose family is adopting a little girl from Ethiopia and is currently 2 weeks into their referral wait, chose to celebrate his 7th birthday by asking for donations to Ethiopian Orphan Relief in lieu of gifts! Thank you so much Aidan! Aidan’s party theme was an “Ethiopian Tie-Dye Party” and from all accounts it seems a good time was had by all. As a thank you for choosing EOR as his benefit charity, we sent him our “Philanthropist” shirt to wear at his party. His mom says he’s very proud of it and has worn it almost every day since his party. If you’d like to follow Aidan’s family’s adoption journey, visit their blog at If you’d like more information on fundraising birthday parties, please contact us at