Messay Derebe, Program Director

Photograph of Messay Derebe

Messay Derebe is the Program Director for Wacif ’s Enterprising Women of Color Business Center (Center), where she creates and develops initiatives supporting women entrepreneurs of color and build their businesses, secure contracts and capital, and increase partnership opportunities.

Messay began her career in finance at Ernst & Young, where she conducted audits for midsized and Fortune 500 companies. She went on to obtain her master’s degree in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and soon after, pivoted her career towards social impact. Prior to joining Wacif, Messay served as a Program Officer at the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the largest private, independent foundation focused exclusively on the Washington, D.C. area.  Through her role, Messay oversaw a $2.3 million grants portfolio supporting several nonprofits focused on arts and humanities, education, the environment and capacity building.

An avid supporter of the arts and a believer in expanding opportunity for all, Messay co-founded goARTful, the first of its kind subscription service for art with an objective of making the visual arts market more accessible to all. She has presented on various panels, interviews and pitch competitions including DC Startup Week.

In her downtime, Messay plays violin and takes great joy in experiencing the rich arts landscape that D.C. has to offer.

Her Team Includes

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