Eliel Tekka

Learning & Evaluation Officer

Born and raised in Ethiopia, Eliel’s journey to the U.S. was grounded in a relentless pursuit of learning, and has since centered her career on this value. She recently joined us in February 2020 after relocating from Minnesota for an opportunity at the Foundation. Eliel has worn many hats throughout her career, working in applied research projects that cut across the full spectrum of public policy and increasing the capacity of developing nations across the world. Eliel has always been passionate about social justice research that elevates the voices and experiences of people in underserved communities.

Working in applied research at the University of Minnesota and Search Institute, Eliel leveraged data and community-focused learning to highlight positive community narratives while confronting inequities head-on. Throughout her career, Eliel also grew to understand that the field of research and evaluation can reinforce damaging community narratives and uneven power dynamics, and the importance of redirecting the course.

Eliel is passionate about the Foundation’s mission and wholeheartedly believes it’s imperative we work towards disrupting power structures to ensure Colorado communities – especially those with the greatest needs – are at the center of our work. Community holds the power through Eliel’s eyes, and philanthropy must have a tireless commitment to applying community insights and learning loops that are always at play. She understands philanthropy can be a lever of change and is honored to be on this journey with the Learning and Evaluation team.

Eliel will work closely with our priority-level teams to support a learning culture on how our strategies show up and take shape in the communities we exist to serve. In her role, she is charged with being a critical thought partner for our organization’s strategy work across a number of our funding priorities and asks important questions that ensure we’re held accountable to our cornerstones.

For Eliel, life is at its best when she feels connected to others. She loves to travel and stay active. 


Master of International Development Practice - University of Minnesota

Master of Business Administration - University of St. Thomas (MN)

Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems - University of Northwestern

“Throughout my life and career, I’ve been inspired by people’s unique 'life stories' – what they have overcome and what they have achieved. Their narratives provide a foundation for my commitment to improve the quality of life for underserved communities.”