Angelica Towne started Educate! with her Co-Founders based on the shared values of scale, sustainability, and the power of young people to change the world. Towne built Educate! from scratch, combining her experience piloting youth programs in Jamaica and Ethiopia with her creativity and passion to spearhead the creation, development, and continued evolution of Educate!’s model. For the last six years she has lived and worked in Uganda overseeing the implementation of Educate!’s programs in 250 schools. She also adapted Educate!’s curriculum for use in the Uganda national curriculum and designed a new practical standardized examination, reaching 25,000 young people annually. Angelica’s goal is to transform traditional classrooms into training grounds for youth to learn the skills to end poverty in their own lives and their communities.
In her words: “I know firsthand what it means to be literally saved by nonprofit organizations that embody creative solutions to society’s opportunity gaps. At Kyangwali Refugee Camp, I swapped stories with other youth who received “sponsorship” or scholarships to attend university and how it changed our lives forever. I felt such a beautiful solidarity with our students and reaffirmation of the necessity of this work.”
Angelica was twice named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list of social entrepreneurs. She was honored with the Mulago Foundation's prestigious Rainer Arnhold Fellowship and the Global Good Fellowship in 2015. In her free time, Angelica enjoys African, Caribbean and hip-hop dancing and loves performance poetry and theater. Towne holds a BA from Middlebury College.
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Boris Bulayev is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Educate!.
Under his leadership, Educate! has grown to 100 staff and over 150 volunteer youth mentors, reaching over 120,000 youth across 500 schools in Uganda and Rwanda, and advised on integration of skills-based education into Uganda and Rwanda’s national education systems, The organization has received much global acclaim for its work, including the 2015 WISE award, recognition as one of 14 global case studies on scaling education by Brookings Institution, and fellowships from Echoing Green, Ashoka and the Mulago Foundation.
Boris emigrated to the U.S. from Latvia at the age of 7. He considers himself lucky to have attended a great public school in San Francisco that eventually got him into Amherst College. As a refugee himself, Boris believes in giving other young people access to the same educational opportunities he had that have allowed him to get to where he is today.
Before jumping into Educate! full-time, Boris worked at startup incubator Loeb Enterprises, learning about entrepreneurship and how to start companies. Personally, Boris is a Startingbloc fellow, an Empact100 Top Young Entrepreneur of 2011, a recipient of the 2011 Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, and a two time Forbes Top 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur.
Desiree is a Monitoring & Evaluation professional from Germany. After graduating with a M.Sc. in International Economics and Economic Policy, Desiree worked for a Consulting Firm managing international development programs in education and employment promotion and worked as an M&E Consultant building integrated M&E frameworks and developing capacity around M&E.
In 2013, Desiree came to Uganda to join Educate!. She loves that as an NGO Educate! strives towards working at scale as someone once said: “It isn’t about changing the world, but rather, how many worlds you have changed”. Educate! is changing around tens of thousands of worlds each year.
Beyond that, Educate! has inspired her that M&E can be an integrated discipline that influences planning and decision-making in an organization. As Innovations Director, Desiree works towards building a culture of evidence-based decision making across Educate! promoting rigorous impact assessments and continuous learning to improve the program and its operations from year to year.
Desiree loves to go and listen to live music, travel and discover new countries, and to bake (and eat) cakes and cookies.
Rwanda Country Director
Donnalee is an educator and lawyer from Montego Bay, Jamaica. Since 2007, she has been involved in creating educational ventures in the USA, Ghana, Tanzania, and Rwanda. She is passionate about expanding access to quality education, particularly because academic scholarships enabled to her to have access to an education that would otherwise have been unattainable. She joined Educate! in order to pursue her interest in working on systemic change in the education sector, and is thrilled that Educate! has partnered with the Rwanda Education Board to support the country's secondary school curriculum reform.
Before joining Educate! she worked for Kepler where she helped launch two university campuses in three years, including Rwanda's first in a refugee camp. Teaching at the university level allowed her to have insight on some of the improvements that need to be made at the secondary level to better prepare students to enter the workforce or become entrepreneurs. Donnalee was previously a litigation attorney for the City of New York's Law Department, and remains a member of the New York State Bar. She holds a B.A. from Seton Hall University and a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law. Additionally, she was one of Ashoka's inaugural Changemaker Scholars in 2016.
In her spare time, she emcees events, teaches Jamaican dance classes, and volunteers as a teacher trainer for secondary school teachers. She's also a travel enthusiast, and is steadily working towards her goal of visiting every country in Africa.
Uganda Program Director
From Kampala, Uganda, Hawah’s skillful versatility has led her to serve Educate! in a variety of roles. Starting out with Educate! in 2008 as a mentor to over 100 students in Kampala, her talent for organization and impressive leadership were immediately evident. Soon after, she was promoted to Senior Program Coordinator and in 2013 she was named the Regional Manager, where she oversaw the implementation of the leadership and entrepreneurship program in Educate!’s newly-formed eastern region.
Currently, Hawah is leading Educate!’s Ugandan team as Program Director, giving the organization support to enhance program quality and explore opportunities for expansion into new countries and communities.
Hawah truly embodies Educate!’s mission to to develop young leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa. When asked why she works for Educate!, she says, "I love working with youth and knowing that I am creating a positive impact in the lives of youth."
In 2012, she was certified as a business trainer by the International Labour Organization’s partner Youth Entrepreneurship Facility, allowing her to support and train over 40 widows and youth to start enterprises in their local communities. Again in 2013 she was recognized as an emerging female African leader, when selected as Educate!’s first Acumen Fellow. In her spare time Hawah loves to read.
Regional Operations and Finance Director
Ivan is a finance and operations professional, a graduate of Economics from the Egerton University, and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya. Over his 14 years of practicing experience across East Africa, he has built a passion and record of robust systems in organizations in different industries, including audit, energy, international development, education, and healthcare.
Ivan joined Educate! because of his passion for developing young people in Africa. He is inspired by Educate!’s unwavering focus on the youth of Africa, reflected in major and minor decisions in the organization. In his spare time, he organizes book gifting and reading visits to slum families in Kampala with his daughter to develop literacy among underprivileged families. He is a self-proclaimed Tintin comic aficionado, song writer and guitar player.
Director of External Relations and Counsel
Loren joined the team at Educate! because she is passionate about creating the greatest impact possible to improve lives across Sub-Saharan Africa. Loren was first inspired by Uganda while working for the United Nations World Food Programme in Kampala in 2009, and again in 2010 when she spent six months designing strategy for a small nonprofit in the western part of the country. She has also spent time in Senegal working for the Millennium Challenge Corporation. In her role as Director of External Relations, Loren loves telling Educate!'s story and sharing its invigorating vision. "I love knowing that every dollar we raise is leveraged to make the biggest difference possible for those who need it most and can use it to really transform their lives, and eventually the world."
Prior to joining Educate!, Loren was an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, focused on Credit and Real Estate law. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and a graduate of Stanford Law School and Amherst College, where she first met Boris and co-founder Eric Glustrom. Loren loves teaching others and in the past has taught gardening, English, and arts and crafts. In her free time, Loren loves exploring New York and doing crosswords.
Director of Policy and Partnerships
Maggie Appleton is the Director of Policy and Partnerships for Educate! and leads Educate!'s government engagement strategy in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.
Formerly, Maggie was Educate!'s program director in Uganda, living and working in Kampala for almost 6 years. She led Educate!'s programs team through its first big growth phase from 54 to 240 schools in 2014, and worked closely with the Global Director in designing Educate!'s programs and operational systems for scale.
She is inspired most by Educate!’s proactive approach: “We all know about the problems that challenge our world, most especially Africa. I love Educate! because it empowers young people to think about solutions!” Maggie is currently pursuing a masters degree in international education at Columbia University, Teachers College.
Uganda Country Director
Sarah is the Uganda Country Director at Educate! She first heard about Educate! from her son who was studying in one of the high schools that Educate! was working with at the time. Sarah is inspired by the attitude and leadership quality of the youth that undergo the Educate!’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship course; they are change makers.
As Country Director at Educate!, Sarah oversees internal and external communications in Uganda. She reviews performance goals and financial operations quarterly, and ensures annual goals are set and achieved. She is currently building an optimized HR structure to handle changes and growth in staff structure related to scaling.
Sarah, formerly the Head of HR at TechnoServe Uganda, is a graduate of Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute. She is a teacher by profession and very passionate about education. She believes in Nelson Mandela’s words “Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world” and she believes Educate! is doing just that. “Educate! has given me an opportunity to work towards improving the education system in my country and I feel blessed”, she says. In her free time, Sarah loves to travel, discover new things, learn about other cultures and eat good food.