Annemarie Grassi Amefia, Ph.D.

Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Annemarie Grassi Amefia is the founder of Open Doors Academy (ODA) and the Center for Out-of-School Time Advancement. At 23-years-old, she started the non-profit ODA and grew it from 20 kids to over 600, focusing on one targeted goal of breaking the cycle of multi-generational poverty.  Through her 17-year tenure with the organization, she built a vision and model that was both proven and acknowledged state-wide and nationally for its’ strong results and powerful impact.  She has extensive experience in entrepreneurial leadership, child and adolescent development, program development, evaluation and performance management, fundraising, and strategic visioning.  Today, she serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Argonaut, a nonprofit enterprise designed to serve as an integrated education system for urban youth seeking to pursue careers in aerospace and maritime. 

Dr. Amefia holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Psychology from Ohio University, and a Master of Science in Education in Child and Adolescent Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.  She also holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from Cleveland State University, where she currently serves as a part-time instructor in the College of Education.  

Dr. Amefia demonstrates a strong commitment to the Cleveland community, currently serving as the president of the board of Daily Dose of Reading, and board chair of I2C Lab.  She served in multiple leadership roles with the Junior League of Cleveland for over 15 years, including president for two years.  She has served as the Funding and Policy Chair for the Ohio Afterschool Network for 3 years, served on the governance committee of the Slavic Village P-16 Council, is class president of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2016, a Treumart Fellow and is a trained facilitator in the Youth Resiliency Model. In addition, she is an alumna of the Cleveland Bridge Builders Flagship Program, and a member of Vistage International. 

Dr. Amefia is a recipient of the 2018 50 Smart Business Awards and the Junior League of Cleveland’s Frances Payne Bolton Award.  She was also a 2016 Finalist for the Ernst and Young Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur of the Year, was the recipient of the 2015 Reminger Women’s Initiative Vanguard Award, the 2015 Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio Women of Distinction recipient, 2014 Crain’s Cleveland 40 under 40, the 2012 Athena Young Professional Leadership Award, and a two-time recipient of the Cleveland Young Professionals 20/30 Club Movers and Shakers Award. Dr. Grassi speaks locally, regionally, and nationally on the importance of creating a safe culture for our youth, promoting education, and building strong nonprofits. As stated by Deborah Vesy, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Deaconess Foundation, “Annemarie is one of Cleveland’s strongest visionary leaders”.