The Mission of the Hope for West Africa Foundation is to cultivate partnerships to advance and support programs for those infected or affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS in West Africa. 

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The Hope for West Africa Foundation works with established West African non-profit organizations to provide support for sustainable projects addressing poverty and health care. Hope for West Africa board members have built trusting relationships with each of the West African partners. Funds are awarded to partners on a project-by-project basis through board-approved proposals with full transparency requirements.

By directly funding individual proposals, the Hope for West Africa Foundation ensures that donations go straight to cover a most pressing need. 


Meet the Board:

Sara Kennedy, MPH, President

Sara Kennedy joined the HFWA board in 2011 after serving in a volunteer capacity since its inception. She has lived and worked in both Ghana and Nigeria and has spent significant amounts of time with the Nigerian partners of the Hope for West Africa Foundation. She brings with her to the board her experiences in both public health and fundraising. 

Sara holds an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA from Boston College. She currently works as an Epidemiologist in a job that allows her to work both in West Baltimore and Nigeria.


Dr. Christy Johnson, MD, Medical Liaison

Christy Johnson received her undergraduate bachelors degree in English (Phi Beta Kappa) from Princeton University. While at Princeton, Christy received NCAA Division I All-American honors in cross-country and in indoor track, and was repeatedly awarded All-Ivy Academic honors.  Her experiences in Nigeria (in 2003, 2005, and 2007) led her to pursue a career in medicine, and she received her medical doctorate degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2014. She is currently a resident in orthopedic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery (an affiliate of Weill Cornell, NYC), where she remains dedicated to empowering excellence in healthcare and capacity-building for institutions for resource-limited settings, such as Nigeria. 


Andrew York, Pharm D., JD, Secretary

Andrew York is a pharmacist working on public health policy at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation where he works to develop innovative patient care models that improve the quality of US health care. Prior to his current position, he completed an ORISE Fellowship with the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion where he worked on the HHS National Action Plan for Adverse Drug event Prevention.

Andrew holds a PharmD from the University of Maryland and BA from Wilkes University, and is a JD candidate at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.


Melinda Capone, MBA, Corresponding Secretary

Melinda spent 10 years in sales before devoting full time to raising her three children.  During that time she volunteered teaching, serving at various poor and elderly outreach programs, and coordinating activities at her children's schools.  Presently she works at a Racquet and Fitness center, managing staff and working with member relations.

Melinda graduated from St. Mary's College in South Bend, Ind. and received her MBA in International Business from George Washington University.  She enjoys swimming, hiking, outdoor activities and reading.

Melinda is married to Chris Capone, a Graduate of Johns Hopkins University MBA program and is VP of Sales for American Standard Brands.  They have three children, Christopher, Alexa and Benjamin.


Hilary Ferro, MBA

Hilary Ferro is the Director of Finance for Groundswell, a social enterprise that leverages consumer buying power to make clean energy and other services more accessible to communities in the United States.  She has worked with a number of social enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa through her work with Acumen in Kenya and TechnoServe in Mozambique, and she began her career in the investment banking department of William Blair & Company.  Hilary holds an MBA from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and a BA in Economics from Northwestern University.