Empowering The Poor’s Board of Directors is the organization’s governing body, elected by the members at an annual meeting. All members are responsible for the planning and policy development, the expansion of ETP’s outreach and increase of its visibility and donor support. All board members are volunteers and serve without compensation.

Darius Coulibaly, MA
Founder & Board’s Chairman
Darius Coulibaly was born and raised in a poor and rural environment in northern and southern Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, where he witnessed firsthand poverty. Darius grew up without electricity, clean and running water, no indoor plumbing, and no health centers. Like millions of children across impoverished Africa, Darius walked long distances to fetch water, wood, farm, and to go to school.  He quickly became familiar with the despair and frustration endemic to individuals and communities struggling to survive.  In his early teenage years, Darius became particularly puzzled and frustrated with the senseless deaths in his community, as he continued to witness firsthand, children dying in their mother’s arms, pregnant women dying while giving birth, adults dying in their mud huts. It seemed like there was a funeral every day of week. People died from curable and treatable diseases like fever, cholera, malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition (children 5 years and younger). They died and continue to die because of the lack of equipped health centers, medicines, and community health education.


It is only by the GRACE of GOD that Darius survived several episodes of malaria and infectious diseases, and two near-death experiences. His frustration with living in poverty, led him to discover his call and purpose in life: serving the poor and combating poverty wherever it exists.

Darius’s passion for poverty alleviation grew taller and wider than his seven feet tall body frame. His height symbolizes the towering challenges that people living in poverty face daily.  Guided by his faith in Jesus Christ, and inspired by his exceptionally altruistic mother, who nurtured his passion, Darius founded Empowering The Poor, Inc. in 2006, which was awarded the 501(c) (3) status by the United States Internal Revenue Service on June 14, 2007.
Today, Darius serves as Empowering The Poor’s Board’s Chairman, and its interim Chief Executive Servant. Darius is an educator and mentor in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, where he teaches Geometry, Algebra I, and. He is also an adjunct instructor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he teaches Economics. Darius is also a qualified mental health professional, and works part-time as a home-based counselor with youth at risk of out-of-home placement. He is also a guest-lecturer and speaker, and his speaking themes include “Poverty and HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa”, “Foreign Aid and Economic Growth in sub Saharan Africa”, “The Academic Achievement Gap in the United States”, “Pre and post colonial Africa”, and various national and  political economic related issues.

Darius is blessed with his beautiful wife, Sophonie Coulibaly and two children, Biko and Gnele Coulibaly. Darius writes and speaks fluently in French, English, and he is highly proficient in German. He is fluent in Bambara, Senoufo and proficient in Bete (African dialects).





SORO LACINA, Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire  Director