Our Team


Marcie Erickson and Sefinew Birhan Mengistu

Executive Director and Co-founder

Marcie Erickson, originally from Naples, FL, USA is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Grace Center in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. She has spent 10 years in Ethiopia and has a background in photography, videography, music, and childcare, among many other gifts. Grace Center started after she adopted her first three children and more children in Ethiopia were in need of services. After adopting four children Marcie was married to Sefinew Birhan Mengistu, now a vital ministry partner. Together they have had five more children and continue to serve with Grace Center.

Amy Minard

On-site Director

Amy Minard, originally from Ohio, had always wanted to serve the poor and orphaned children in Ethiopia. She adopted two children from Ethiopia and while receiving one of her children, she visited Grace Center.  In the fall of 2014 she moved to Ethiopia to serve as Grace Center's On-site Director. With a degree in psychology, and her experience in founding and directing Dream Shine, a day program in the U.S. to serve adults with special needs, Amy has quickly become an asset to Grace Center. Click here to support Amy and her family as they serve in Ethiopia.

Worku Assab

Assistant Director to the on-site Director

Worku has previously served as the senior social worker at Grace Center for the past ten years. He is an asset to the day-to-day operations of Grace Center. In addition to being the first responder in many of the devastating situations Grace Center sees on a daily basis, he also oversees the other administrative staff, Melese, our reunifications officer, Kedist, our social worker, and other administrative staff. In addition Worku and his wife also reside in a connecting room to our foster boys to oversee the children. 

Melishew Ateka

Staff and Center Coordinator

Melishew has been an employee at Grace Center since the beginning in 2007. She began as a childcare giver and is now the head of staff and centers. She oversees anywhere from 100 - 150 staff members and verifies the programs are running as they should. She also runs training programs such as our childcare training. In addition she lives in a connecting house to our foster girls to oversee their wellbeing. 

Andrew and Deanne Knife


Andrew and Deanne Knife, from Australia, first came to Ethiopia in 2006. Deanne has a background in childcare and retail and Andrew in computer engineering and nursing. In 2006 they met Marcie in church in Addis Ababa and assisted her with the three newly adopted boys. They became like a family to her and together, founded and directed Grace Center in Bahir Dar Ethiopia. They are currently in Australia with their six children.

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