Canadian Friends of Fresh and Green Academy Inc.
Board of Directors
Founder and President
Neil was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and is a Captain flying with Air Canada. His varied career includes running an Engineering Design and Consulting firm for the last 21 years as well as dabbling in Physics and Astronomy at York University.
Having met Trish Hack-Rubinstein, the founder of the U.S. non-profit, by chance, he was in New York at a fundraiser one month later, and standing in the schoolyard in Addis Ababa a month after that. Seeing an opportunity to help, he was quickly involved in the website, campaigning and organizing fundraisers and has since attended several events geared towards spreading the word amongst the Ethiopian diaspora in North America. He has also founded the Canadian arm of this multi-national organization to better serve the many Canadian donors to the cause.
“I can only describe my experience in meeting Muday and the children of Fresh and Green Academy as it was reflected in my two daughters’ eyes when we went again 3 months later. What a worthy cause this is to bring a future to children who had little hope to even survive. I am glad to be a part of Muday and Trish’s vision.”
Paul was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and has worked in a variety of industries as a Certified Management Accountant. He and his wife Mary have 4 adult children and still live in his childhood parish.
Neil and Paul have been good friends since age 5 with the exception of the year Neil got Paul kicked out of Mr. Morgan’s Glee Club, but the challenge of helping make a difference for children in a challenging place has meant that Paul has provided invaluable business advice on a volunteer basis.
Fasika was born in Addis Ababa and moved with her parents to Calgary at a young age. She discovered Friends of Fresh & Green Academy at the annual Ethiopian soccer and cultural celebration in Dallas, Texas.
When she moved to Toronto to study at the University of Toronto, she became an essential volunteer for Canadian Friends. She has visited Fresh and Green Academy twice since then and was elected as a Board Member in 2021.
She is now studying to become a medical physician at the University of Calgary but still plays an active part in each and every venture the charity undertakes.
Former Board Member
Rahel was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to Canada with her family. She is a registered nurse asssiting in surgery at Shouldice Hospital in Toronto.
Rahel and Neil were both keen participants in the Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America’s annual soccer tournament when it was hosted in Toronto in 2016. Her son now plays for the Canadian National Men’s Team Under-17 side.
Sadie (Tsedey) Legesse
Sadie was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved with her family to the United Kingdom. It was there that she reconnected with her childhood friend, Kal, who was studying to become a doctor. They are now married with four beautiful children in grade school, the oldest two of whom have already volunteered at our events. They live and work in Mississauga.
Neil and Sadie first met at the Enkutatash (New Year) celebration at Christie Pits in Toronto in 2017. She immediately saw that it was a worthy cause and a unique opportunity to get involved in helping deserving kids in Ethiopia.
Alixe has spent a career dividing her time between commerce, government and volunteer postings, most notably with CESO(now Catalyste+) where she spent time in Addis Ababa.
Her husband, Kelly Daniels, was adventuring there while she worked and came across Fresh and Green Academy. He was so taken by the kids and the work Muday was doing empowering women at the school, that Alixe, too, became involved.
Thus started a branch of Canadian Friends on the west coast where they live surrounded by helpful friends and eager volunteers (Kelly is involved with the local Rotary Interact Club at Ladysmith Secondary).
Alixe was elected Secretary in 2022 and spearheads grant applications and other proposals.