About Us


© Annie Leibovitz

© Annie Leibovitz


Supermodel, designer and maternal health advocate Liya Kebede launched The Liya Kebede Foundation for mothers in 2005.

Our mission is to improve the lives of women in Africa by addressing one of their top health concerns – better access to life-saving maternity care. To that end we invest in health worker training and maternal health advocacy activities.

Kebede launched LKF alongside her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal & Child Health for the World Health Organization – a role she held through 2011.  In the following five years between 2011-2015 LKF focused on creating impact for mothers in Ethiopia. Our investment trained 45 health workers who assisted over 10,000 mothers there to give birth safely. And our global maternal health awareness campaigns reached over 2M people worldwide.

LKF is a 501c3 non-profit organization which raises funds through donations and product partnerships and issues grants to leading development organizations working in Africa to improve health services.


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Founder – Liya Kebede

Liya HeadshotLiya Kebede is a supermodel  who has been featured in major magazines, runway shows and print campaigns for leading designers and brands and has acted in several feature films.  Alongside The Liya Kebede Foundation, she launched the hand-crafted clothing brand, lemlem, which is produced by artisans in Africa.  Learn more and connect with Liya on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Executive Director – Melissa Janis

MJ HeadshotMelissa Janis is a senior international health and development specialist.  Prior to joining LKF, she worked in corporate philanthropy roles with Pfizer and the Alcoa Foundation and oversaw foreign aid programs in positions with USAID and the US State Department.


circle of friends collageWe are grateful for the generous contributions and collaboration of our recent supporters:




The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation






David Yurman





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