About SCAO

Founded in 2006 and based in Springfield, Virginia, SCAO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. SCAO seeks to raise funds to support community-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) assisting women, AIDS orphans and other needy children in the southern hemisphere. The organization’s goal is to work with NGOs that empower children and women to become self-reliant members of their communities by promoting self-sufficiency through education and the transfer of professional skills.

Vision Statement: We envision that women, orphans and vulnerable children, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, will have a better life, a better education, and a better future, and will become self-reliant individuals, who will be able to contribute to the advancement of their communities.

Mission Statement: We believe that all children and youth in our universe deserve the right to secure basic necessities, including the benefits of education and health care, enabling them to become self sufficient. Southern Advancement Support Organization exists to provide financial resources and other support to local NGOs, self-help community associations and grassroots organizations in the southern hemisphere that share our vision.


In Dilla, Ethiopia SCAO has identified an NGO that embraces its vision and implements its mission, the Hansesha Assistance and Development Organization (HADO). Since, January 2007, SCAO has been able to partially fund HADO’s local kindergarten program, providing additional financial resources and educational support for the local orphaned children and their extended families. SCAO has also provided financial support for HADO’s vegetable farming and agriculture project, which teaches older children, young adults and women how to be self-sufficient (for more information see Program Support).

In the future, SCAO hopes to provide funding and support for other community-based NGOs in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, which share its goal of promoting self-sufficiency.

SCAO’S Founders and Officers

Bekele Bengessa Hirbe is a founder and President of the Southern Advancement Support Organization. Bekele is from a very poor part of Africa himself, having experienced poverty personally as a child in his home country of Ethiopia. Bekele’s experiences are the motivation for the creation of SCAO and its mission here in the United States. To advance his personal vision he has earned a PhD in International Relations, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management.

Jay Grossman has helped found the Southern Advancement Support Organization, acting as the organization’s secretary. Bekele and Jay met as students at George Mason University while studying Non-Profit Management. Jay has been very active and passionate in helping create SCAO. Jay’s interest in SCAO stems from his desire to help make the world a better place by improving the lives of those in need. As a Certified Public Accountant, Jay assists SCAO with its financial activities and operational management.