Ethné founder, Tom Bohnert, worked for eight years as the Director for Local and Global Initiatives at Vanguard University of Southern California. During this time, he and his wife, Connie, both anchored in Judeo-Christian values, acquired a heart for people and developing nations through their work with Youth Crisis Hotline, juvenile hall mentoring, feeding the homeless, construction projects for the poor, sports development and holistic global service in various nations including Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Bhutan, Ireland, Philippines, and Peru to name a few.
In one of these countries, Tom and Connie coached students and adults which grew into a ten-year relationship with the country’s basketball federation. This included launching a youth basketball program, training national coaches, promoting the sport, and infrastructure and equipment investment with a shared goal of developing people of character through sports. Over time the Bohnert’s witnessed the positive impact sports can have in people’s lives, and they also learned of the incredible needs and opportunities to help people through business, education, and life-mentoring.
After Tom and Connie relocated to the Philippines with their children in 2004, they once again committed themselves to seeing the same transformative change among marginalized communities. Living in the midst of people with overwhelming needs and limited help, the Bohnerts, along with their local partners, were motivated to make a difference by getting involved through educational scholarships and mentoring, micro-business grants, and community based infrastructure projects. With a vision to streamline these efforts and to pursue transformational development intentionally, the Bohnerts founded Ethne International Development (EID) in 2016.
Today, Ethné’s team has expanded to include Josh Harrison, Ed Rutherford, and Carolyn Dillinger, and is actively involved in multiple schools and communities throughout the southern Philippines.