AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc.

New York, NY   |  http://www.afs.org

Mission

AFS Intercultural Programs is a global not-for-profit Network that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. Through our international exchange programs, education initiatives, volunteerism and advocacy, we empower young people from all backgrounds with essential global skills—and the passion for making a difference.

Ruling year info

1949

President & CEO

Daniel Obst

Main address

5 Hanover Square 2nd Floor, Suite 200

New York, NY 10004 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-5596742

NTEE code info

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

AFS was created as a volunteer ambulance service to provide humanitarian aid throughout World War I and II. Following WWII, the organization was transformed into a groundbreaking international exchange program to foster peace through international understanding. Coming out of two world wars, the problem that AFS is trying to address is the lack of understanding, empathy, and connection that leads to conflict, disunity, and misunderstanding between people. We believe a just and peaceful world is only possible when the global community respects diversity, embraces inclusiveness and works together to address the world’s most pressing challenges. Our programs provide young people with immersive international or intercultural experiences, support them with structured and facilitated intercultural learning journeys and give them real-world social impact exposure. As a result, they become global citizens with the global skills to live, learn, work and volunteer to contribute to society.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Area of Action: Programs

AFS prepares and activates future leaders, global citizens and changemakers with essential 21stcentury intercultural skills to engage, lead and collaborate effectively in different cultural settings. Our international exchange, study abroad and volunteer programs are supported by research-based intercultural learning journeys facilitated by trained AFS volunteers and staff.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Young adults

Where we work

Awards

Education for International Understanding/Global Citizenship Education Best Practice 2021

UNESCO APCEIU

Affiliations & memberships

UN Economic Social Council 1974

Number of participants in study abroad and exchange programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents

Related Program

Area of Action: Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students registered for online courses

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents

Related Program

Area of Action: Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AFS Intercultural Programs is a leading global not-for-profit Network that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. Through our international exchange programs, education initiatives, volunteerism and advocacy, we empower young people from all backgrounds with essential global skills—and the passion for making a difference. We work in 94 countries around the world, providing opportunities for thousands of young people who take part in the AFS programs, which are supported by more than 50,000 volunteers and staff, along with thousands of host families. Our network is made up of 55 independent, locally led and governed AFS organizations and AFS International working together to accelerate our impact.

Our strategy is mission-driven and designed to deliver impact in three key goals, including equitable access to exchange opportunities:
1) Develop Active Global Citizens: develop responsible citizens of all ages through intercultural learning to take action in their communities and the world.
2) Globalize Schools and Institutions: support and equip educators, schools, institutions and other organizations in delivering effective intercultural learning programs that build global competence.
3) Expand Access to Intercultural Education: ensure that more people from diverse and underserved communities participate in and benefit from AFS programs and initiatives by providing scholarships and expanding community outreach.

We advance these impact goals through four areas of action:
1) Programs: We have a diverse program portfolio of study abroad and virtual education programs with a broad geographic reach that enable us to impact and provide opportunities to a wide range of people.
2) Education: We provide a broad range of tools, services and trainings that allow schools, institutions and NGOs to expand intercultural learning at scale.
3) Volunteerism: We engage and motivate volunteers to deliver on our three impact goals and broaden our reach into local communities.
4) Advocacy: We raise awareness of the essential role of intercultural learning in advancing active global citizenship.

The AFS Network Strategy is designed to deliver mission-driven impact. Our strategy not only honors and strengthens the commitment to our mission, it also helps us unlock the full potential of the Network so that we can work together most effectively to accelerate individual and collective impact. Our strategy is designed to deliver impact in three key goals:
- Develop Active Global Citizens
- Globalize Schools and Institutions
- Expand Access to Intercultural Education

For each of our strategic impact goals, we take the following action:
Develop Active Global Citizens
- Encourage AFS participants to take community and social involvement actions during or after their AFS experience
- Assess the AFS impact on participants in terms of personal and professional development
- Increase the total number of people directly impacted by AFS, thus enabling a greater multiplier potential of the #AFSeffect
Globalize Schools and Institutions
- Increase the number of schools, teachers, NGOs and institutions that have received resources, trainings or other services by AFS
- Deliver AFS national, regional and global meetings that are attractive and valuable educational events
Expand Access to Intercultural Education
- Champion inclusion and diversity in the AFS organizational representation and makeup (participants, staff, volunteers)
- Increase funding for intercultural education opportunities
- Foster sustained expansion of the AFS Program footprint for existing and new program types and markets, and through educational products and services

An important part of our implementation strategy is to align our Network around a series of Common Principles, including:
- AFS is built on volunteerism: Our volunteers today continue the legacy of the AFS volunteer ambulance drivers from WWI and WWII to build bridges among cultures while advancing the full scope of our mission.
- We advance active global citizenship: We prepare global citizens, future leaders and changemakers with essential 21st-century skills to engage, lead, collaborate effectively and take action in their work and their communities.
- We partner with the people we serve: We engage with our participants, volunteers, families and schools as we develop our programs and services—adapting to evolving needs and interests of our customers and stakeholders.
- Collaboration with other organizations is critical to help us achieve mission, scale and impact: By creating alliances with other organizations, governments and private-sector corporations, we can achieve a level of impact that we could not accomplish alone.
- Just and peaceful societies are diverse and inclusive: A diverse and inclusive society requires us to provide intercultural learning opportunities to all.
- We strive to exemplify diversity and inclusiveness in everything we do: We make a conscious effort to broaden our reach and provide intercultural learning opportunities to all strata of society.

AFS is a bold idea with a courageous mission, structured for maximum impact through independent nationwide organizations that are coordinated by a central entity. AFS works in more than 100 countries around the world, through a network of 55 interdependent, nationwide organizations (AFS Network Organizations) under the umbrella of a core organization (AFS International). This structure gives us the capacity to effectively mobilize more than 100,000 different beneficiaries and stakeholders in any given year, including 12,000 young people who take part in the AFS Programs, supported by more than 50,000 volunteers and staff, along with thousands of host families. AFS is proud to partner with a large network of Global and Local Affiliates around the world.

The AFS global Network works together for maximum impact by adhering to the following unified vision:
- A united global presence with a common purpose, focused on tangible, mission-driven impact to foster intercultural understanding.
- Focused on working together through co-creation, flexibility, agility and collaboration.
- Built on volunteerism.

AFS capabilities to achieve its ambitious mission, vision, and goals stem from an effective structure in which 55 independent organizations around the world are led by one central organization that provides coordination, communication, and synergy, managing risks and making sure that all stakeholders and participants are aligned and working together.

AFS Network Organizations are independently led and governed organizations that share a common vision, approach and commitment to shared core values, and work together across borders. They commit as a unified group to the following:
- Advance the three AFS Impact Goals and the AFS Network Strategy.
- Provide lifelong learning experiences to people of all ages.
- Deliver AFS Programs for participants and all stakeholders.
- Engage, inspire and prepare volunteers to support AFS Programs delivery, participants and host families.
- Innovate and adapt AFS Programs, projects, and best practices to their realities.
- Advance intercultural understanding through programs, education, volunteerism and advocacy initiatives.
- Collaborate with and support other AFS organizations.


AFS International leads the Network and is responsible for driving the AFS Network Strategy and facilitating connections, intercultural learning and shared best practices. As a central, coordinating presence, AFS International commits to the following:
- Responsible for leadership and management of the AFS Network as outlined in the Articles of Partnership, including upholding quality standards and adherence to operational guidelines.
- Enables implementation of the Network Strategy and evaluates the performance and impact of the Network.
- Develops and promotes the global brand, visibility and expertise of the AFS Network.
- Provides direct support to Network Organizations by identifying insights and best practices from across

Despite the incredible challenges of the pandemic, AFS continued to advance our impact around the world—often in new ways. Our recent accomplishments include:
- Expanded access to intercultural education to thousands of people through innovative virtual programs and partnerships. For example, we launched new virtual AFS Global You programs for teens: truly global, high-impact, educational, and fun virtual programs that build young people’s personal and professional changemaker mindset and skills. Our Global Competence Certificate program reached new milestones in developing global competence for students, staff or faculty, professionals across a variety of disciplines.
- Upgraded educational curriculum to better support young people in creating social impact. For example, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy (CSIS),our students will experience study abroad, learn global skills, practice social impact and return home to become active global citizens. The curriculum combines virtual and in-person learning, and students will receive a certificate in social impact.
- Continued building of an international coalition of people dedicated to global competence and intercultural learning. For example, we partnered with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to host the launch of the first ever assessment of global competence within the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Presented at our virtual AFS Global Conference which convened 500 leaders from 75 countries, PISA results confirm the need for cross-sectoral collaboration in developing these skills.

In the coming year, AFS is committed to strengthening our social impact and global competence development, including:
- 7,500 high school students participating in AFS exchange programs and 5,000 learners of all ages enrolled in digital education offers.
- New or expanded partnerships with organizations in Australia, Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Wales that will allow us to expand AFS exchange programs.
- More scholarship opportunities; for example, through the launch of a significantly expanded partnership with bp that will provide more than 750 students interested in global competence and STEM with scholarships.
- New learning opportunities, including through virtual exchanges, which have a proven meaningful immediate impact on the development of global competence among high-school-aged youth around the world.
- Hosting the 27th Youth Assembly in New York in August 2022. The Youth Assembly is a unique global platform for young leaders and changemakers to connect with peers and influencers, develop global competence and critical skills, and transform their vision for a better future through innovative action.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve our exchange and education program participants (like high school and university students), host families, schools and teachers, and even our volunteers by providing them with intercultural learning opportunities and developing the skills needed to thrive in a globalized, diverse world. Our programs let our beneficiaries learn, experience, and practice these skills (such as adaptability, changemaking, intercultural communication, and empathy) so they leave the program with advanced competency. As a result they become global citizens and create a more just and peaceful world.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In the course of collecting regular feedback from our beneficiaries, we noticed that host families were often the least satisfied group we serve. We dug deeper and discovered that they wanted more support and resources to deliver a quality experience to their hosted students. In response we developed an app for host families to use. The “Host Family Tools” app puts host families in more direct and regular contact with the local organization so they can ask questions, find resources, and receive the support they need. It also gives them a library of links to further information they can use to enrich their experience and the experience of their hosted student.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Collecting feedback from our participants has shifted our whole business approach from one focused on outputs to one focused on outcomes and impact. We used to measure things like the number of activities and number of participants. Now we measure learning outcomes, satisfaction, and the extent to which our programs further our mission. This has required us to listen and adapt to the feedback and has changed our relationship with our beneficiaries from a one-direction relationship to a two-direction relationship.We now design programs based on what our beneficiaries tell us works. It has led to better programming and improved outcomes across the board.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/25/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Amalie Ferdinand

Trade Union Consultant at Union of Education Denmark

Term: 2021 -

Amalie Ferdinand

Trade Union Consultant at Union of Education Denmark

Makiko Haraga

Independent Writer, Translator, Adjunct Lecturer at Tokyo Institute of Technology

Ivonne de Leon

Founding Partner at TrueCore Group & Transmutis

Ernesto Moreno

Founder & CEO at Empresas REYMORENO

Roberto Ruffino

Secretary General of Fondazione Intercultura

Ulrich Voss

Founder and Managing Partner at Kronberg Advisors

Yasmin Merican

Marketing Strategist, Brand Builder & Business Transformation Practitioner

Veronica Mansilla

Principal Investigator and Steering Committee member at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Lennart D'hulst

Expert HR Project Manager at NMBS, Board Chair at AFS Belgium Flanders

Tolga Dorken

Founding Partner at ID Turkiye AS

Regina Honu

CEO of Soronko Solutions

Michaela Mariani

Head of the Legal and Corporate Affairs at Cherry106 S.p.A

Daniel Obst

President and Chief Executive Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc.

Willibald Plesser

Attorney at Law, Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Helmut Schuster

Executive Advisor at bp

Gustavo Sénéchal

Diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/7/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/07/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.