International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security

Global Volunteers

Partners in Development

St. Paul, MN


Global Volunteers is an international development organization mobilizing teams of short-term volunteers on long-term development projects to help children reach their full potential abroad and in the U.S. We work with and under the direction of local leaders in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, North America, South America and the South Pacific to provide the essential services to families as prescribed by the United Nations. Founded in 1984, we are in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and cooperate with other U.N. agencies such as UNICEF.

Our programs directly apply volunteers' skills and interests to current partner community needs in the areas of health, nutrition and education. Examples are teaching conversational English in classrooms, conducting workshops for pregnant women and new mothers on early childhood development and planting household container gardens to supplement micro-nutrients.

Volunteers register for programs that match their commitment to service within our scheduled year-round programs. Their tax-deductible contribution for their selected program covers three meals per day, including bottled water, community housing and transportation, project materials, emergency medical evacuation insurance, and a full-time trained team leader.

Our unique philosophy of service ensures volunteers' engagement addresses requested assistance on development projects by serving:

• At the invitation of our community partners
• Under the direction of local leaders
• On sustainable community-based projects
• Hand-and-hand with local people
• Freely offering our skills without personal agendas

Direct volunteer service and financial donations are directed toward:

1. Helping deliver the United Nations prescribed 12 Essential Services focusing on children – eradicating hunger, improving health care, and raising IQ.

2. Teaching conversational English in elementary through university classrooms, community centers, children's homes, daycare centers, government offices, and English language summer camps.

Programs in 17 countries enable volunteers to nurture babies, tutor homeless children, support pregnant women, counsel new mothers on early childhood development, present workshops on nutrition and healthy diets, model effective classroom discipline, teach lessons on hygiene and protection from infectious diseases, help students study, demonstrate proper hand washing, plant and maintain school gardens, teach English, science and geography, help provide clean water, paint and repair community buildings, promote girls' education, provide psycho-social support and more as community requests are made.

Our Reaching Children's Potential (RCP) Demonstration Program in Tanzania aims to demonstrate volunteers' role in preventing childhood stunting. We contribute to comprehensive, sustained development through broad-based community collaboration. Funds are raised for RCP Centers and Health Clinics in participating villages throughout the Iringa District.

Ruling Year


President and CEO

Bud Philbrook

Co-Founder and Vice President

Michele Marie Gran

Main Address

375 E Little Canada Rd

St. Paul, MN 55117 USA


international service, peace, community development, service-learning, poverty, homelessness, at-risk children, education, teaching English





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

International Cultural Exchange (Q21)

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

Voluntarism Promotion (T40)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Our development partnerships with community leaders worldwide focus on helping provide essential services prescribed by the United Nations to help children reach their full potential.

Our volunteer service initiatives address the conditions identified in the sustainable development goals, ranging from promoting education by teaching in classrooms, language camps and other community-based programs; to providing interventions addressing maternal health, childhood stunting and other systemic impairments to children's physical and cognitive development.

Development programs to halt childhood stunting, a preventable and devastating condition, is an example of the systemic problems we address in our Tanzania demonstration program. This condition affects 24% of children worldwide. This number rises to 80% in some communities, producing perpetual intergenerational poverty and a global economy denied of fully capable adults. Volunteers provide the needed resources to address this problem.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Tanzania Service Program

Cook Islands Service Program

U.S. Service Programs - Appalachia and Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Cuba Service Program

Ecuador Service Program

Greece Service Program

India Service Program

Vietnam Service Program

Peru Service Program

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of computer literacy/skills/technology courses conducted

Population(s) served

Children and youth (0-19 years)

Context notes

In the Cook Islands, Tanzania, India, and St. Lucia, the number of computer tutoring sessions varies by each school year. Generally, volunteers conduct training for all grade levels four times/year.

Hours of tutoring administered

Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years),

At-risk youth

Context notes

Every child needing tutoring in science, math and social science receives, on average, 4 hours per week of one-and-one tutoring, in small groups of students of similar ability.

Number of health/hygiene product and/or tools of care (mosquito nets, soap, etc.) administered

Population(s) served



Non-adult children

Related program

Tanzania Service Program

Context notes

Health and hygiene products and tools of care such as mosquito nets, hand-washing stations, soap and toothbrushes are supplied in healthcare workshops and classroom instruction.

Number of students who demonstrate improved overall literacy

Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Related program

Cook Islands Service Program

Context notes

At Takitumu School, the number of students reading below average decreased over three years with our volunteer interventions. Numbers indicate students who now read at or above average in grades 3/4.

Hours of expertise provided

Population(s) served

Children and youth (0-19 years),


Context notes

Conversational English instruction is provided in Greece, India, Italy, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St. Lucia, Tanzania and Vietnam to provide a foundation for college and career advancement.

Number of children with a source of ongoing care

Population(s) served

Infants to preschool (under age 5)

Context notes

Number represents children nurtured, given direct care, fed & provided nutritional supplementation in childcare centers, residential facilities and hospital wards in India, Peru, Romania & St. Lucia.

Hours of childcare and support provided

Population(s) served

Infants to preschool (under age 5)

Context notes

Volunteers work in childcare centers, residential facilities and pediatric wards providing psycho-social support and stimulation and direct care with feeding, dressing, learning and self-care.

Number of local people instructed in prevention and care of infectious disease

Population(s) served



Related program

Tanzania Service Program

Context notes

Disease prevention, proper nutrition and appropriate health care support cognitive development in children. Volunteers conduct workshops for villagers on preventing and treating infectious disease.

Hours worked on community infrastructure projects

Population(s) served

Children and youth (0-19 years),



Context notes

Volunteers help repair, maintain, renovate and improve homes and community buildings including schools, clinics, libraries, childcare centers, dormitories and gardens.

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

We aim to provide 12 essential services, as prescribed by the United Nations, to every partner community who requests volunteer assistance in the areas of hygiene education, nutrition, and conversational English teaching/classroom tutoring.

Teaching and modeling hand washing with soap: Of the approximately 120 million children born in the developing world each year, half will live in households without access to improved sanitation, at grave risk to their survival and development. Poor hygiene and lack of access to sanitation together contribute to about 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases, accounting for 1.5 million diarrhea-related under-five deaths each year. Hand washing with soap is the single most effective – and accessible – intervention to reduce and prevent disease and death. From a cost-benefit perspective, washing with soap is three times more effective than building latrines, nearly 60 times as effective as providing clean running water, and more than 300 times as effective as any single immunization. Global Volunteers' direct access to at-risk children and families in host communities worldwide is instrumental in advancing the practice of hand washing.

Teaching and supporting container gardening: Hundreds of millions of children may not have eaten today, and have no idea where their meal might come from tomorrow. Hunger is debilitating in every sense: physically, socially, intellectually, and spiritually. But hunger is not inevitable. We have all the tools and agricultural technology necessary to ensure that nearly every hungry family can grow their own food to feed themselves and their children. Many of these tools and technologies are appropriate for those who farm on extremely small plots and may have limited education. School and household gardens in raised containers are an effective means for transferring agricultural technology and skills. Global Volunteers helps supply and maintain small gardens to help meet the essential nutritional needs of school-aged children.

Teaching conversational English and other classroom subjects: Increasingly, English language skills have become crucial to success in virtually any profession, as it is regarded the international language of commerce, technology and opportunity. Global Volunteers is committed to helping host communities advance in their understanding of, appreciation for, and fluency in English. Children living in poverty typically have access to only inadequate educational resources. As they progress through each grade, they lose greater capability if instruction and material resources are insufficient to advance their intellectual development. We provide classroom and after-school tutoring at all levels in science, math, geography, and life skills, and provide special education support.

Through a sustained, year-round, long-term stream of volunteer assistance, professional expertise and material resources, we directly address childhood stunting and other conditions which cause cognitive delays and restrict children's ability to reach their full potential.

Teaching and modeling hand washing with soap
1. Modeling proper hand washing in schools, kitchens and at work sites
2. Focusing on children – the most susceptible to disease, and also the most open to change
3. Providing soap – the critical ingredient missing in current village hand washing habits
4. Teaching hygiene education in classrooms and assisting with hand washing events
5. Supporting a sustained, year-around targeted hand washing campaign
6. Engaging and encouraging community leaders, teachers and administrators to model proper hand washing

Providing school and household gardens
1. Helping demonstrate the use of raised container gardens and how they provide critical micronutrients for pregnant women, new mothers and children.
2. Teaching horticulture, ecology, biology, basic garden management, nutrition
3. Helping install and maintain school and household gardens as community demonstrations
4. Helping communicate demonstration garden techniques to community farmers
5. Providing support and year-around resources to the host community garden manager(s)
6. Conducting gardening sessions and competitions

Conducting classroom, small group and camp projects
1. Providing in-classroom instruction and support for English language classes
2. Conducting small-group conversational English classes
3. Assisting at intensive English-language “camps"
4. Tutoring students who have trouble reading and writing in English
5. Teaching English language skills and techniques to foreign English teachers
6. Providing classroom resources for improved English comprehension

Conducting parent workshops on nutrition, health, pregnancy and the like
1. Starting and maintaining household and school gardens
2. Health, nutrition and hygiene education
3. HIV Aids, malaria, Zika and dengue fever prevention
4. Parenting and early childhood milestones and development

Home visits with local caregivers to reinforce workshop lessons and technology

1. Supporting mothers with newborn stimulation and
2. Modeling appropriate child behavior modification and discipline
3. Providing educational toys and demonstrating their use
Providing direct patient health care
1. Pre-natal exams
2. Well baby check ups
3. Dental exams
4. Deworming

Assist with basic labor projects to improve community capacity
1. Build/renovate schools, health clinics and community centers
2. Construct potable water systems, fuel efficient stoves, sanitary latrines and water catchment systems
3. Manufacture container gardens on site with locally resourced materials

Global Volunteers has the experience, know-how and commitment to carry out each of our stated community service strategies. Our legacy of service is demonstrated in more than 34,000 short-term volunteers of all ages and backgrounds over 33 years contributing to long-term development programs in more than 200 partner communities in 34 countries on six continents.
We're led by experts in human and economic development with profound service credentials:
• Country managers who are highly educated local nationals and fluent in English.
• Senior executives with advanced degrees in in International Development, Law, International Communications, Public Affairs, English, and Business Administration.
• Management team embodying 100+ years of international living, academic and career expertise.
• Global staff sharing a broad vision of comprehensive community service.
• Co-founders with five decades of executive expertise in business, non-profits, and federal and state governments.
• Devoted hosts and community partners in all parts of the world; from pre-schools, crisis centers and orphanages to colleges, universities and health clinics.
• Providing essential services in special consultative status with the United Nations – Economic and Social Council

We offer year-round volunteer assistance to help deliver 12 Essential Services to every partner community. We extracted the 12 Essential Services model from the innovative work of the World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Our landmark work organized these essential services into three broad categories: Hunger, Health and Cognition. These are the areas where volunteers have the greatest impact. In over three decades, we've proven the efficacy of this model, as measured by volunteers, community partners and outside evaluators.

Through volunteer opportunities abroad, children are fed, clothed, taught and cared for. Their health and cognition is improved. Schools are built, clean water is provided, dormitories are enlarged, teachers are supported, household gardens are planted, libraries are equipped, pregnant women and mothers are counseled, homes are restored – all with rippling effects throughout each community.

In every partner community, our strength is our long-term relationship with community decision makers. An obvious example of this intention is our most ambitious program to date: In Ipalamwa, Tanzania. Working alongside local people to define a long-term vision for the district, we've completed an RCP Center/Guesthouse with a $200,000 volunteer donation, and have secured a $5.6M grant to build a state-of-the-art rural health clinic to serve four communities and beyond. We've assembled a wide cross-section of professionals for our Reaching Children's Potential Advisory Committee, which assesses and evaluates every element of our program delivery.

Our program delivery model requires close partnerships with local community leaders, facilitating clear, ground-level evaluation of service project outcomes. Through high-level associations, our international volunteer service work protects children's security and welfare as we address hunger, poverty and educational needs around the world.

For instance, we've taught English to entire villages, built schools and water systems where there were none, cared for children who had nowhere else to turn, supplied pregnant women and new mothers with household gardens and professional assistance, and so much more. Most important, we've proven that these people-to-people initiatives are successful where simply writing a check too often fails.
Measurable, positive outcomes in international volunteer service is our agenda. International volunteer service teams provide the resources enabling us to succeed.
We collect data on volunteers' contributions on every service program to match against projected outcomes, making adjustments in our program delivery to maximize impact. Each partnership has service goals, specified annually, measured and reported to the Board of Directors quarterly, and reported to UN ECOSOC every four years. These outcomes provide the foundation for all volunteer service work going forward in every country.

Examples of measurable outcomes in recent years:
• 4,730 Children fed or provided nutritional care
• 1,075 Mothers provided nutrition training
• 9,880 Hours of teacher training
• 236,195 Students taught conversational English
• 6,210 Hours of math, science instruction
• 20,680 Children given direct health care
• 7,020 Children immunized
• 3,980 Women provided prenatal care
• 8,875 Teens, adults given general medical care
• 9,174 Individuals provided HIV/AIDS education
Global Volunteers has consistently responded to local leaders' requests for community assistance in the broad areas of nutrition, health care and cognitive development. Our Reaching Children's Potential (RCP) Demonstration Program in Tanzania models the efficacy of a steady stream of short-term volunteers to deliver human and material resources to local children and families. RCP begins with pregnancy and continues through the 18th birthday, but focuses on the first 1,000 days. Each of these measurements and reports are reviewed by Global Volunteers' Board of Directors and are available for review by funders, donors and other supporters.

In partner communities where we've primarily offered conversational English language instruction, we've taught up to 200 students per day, five days per week for every week we have volunteers on site. We've provided this classroom assistance over 25 years in China, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Vietnam, Peru, Poland and Romania.

We offer broader capacity building in partnership with local leaders to provide essential services in the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Peru, Romania, St. Lucia, Tanzania and the USA. These programs employ these interrelated elements:
A. Local Staff
1. Country and Regional Directors
2. Community Team Leaders
3. Facilities Staff
B. Focused educational components to transfer knowledge:
1. Parent workshops
2. Home visits
3. Handwashing with soap and general hygiene campaigns
4. Classroom training
5. After school tutoring
C. Introducing appropriate technologies:
1. Household container gardens to produce bountiful fresh fruits and vegetables
2. Fuel efficient stoves to eliminate in-house smoke
3. School gardens to improve feeding programs
4. Micronutrient supplements and bio fortified foods to ensure sufficient iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamins, etc.
5. Chicken coops for protein
6. Water catchment and purification systems for better health
7. Handwashing stations
8. Deworming tablets to ensure children benefit from the nutritious foods
9. Bed nets for malaria protection
10. Quality preschools to establish the foundation for life-long learning
11. School bathrooms to encourage teenage girls' school attendance and improve health.

D. Delivering Essential Services
1. Eradicating Hunger
• Household and School Container Gardens
• Nutrition Education
• School Gardens
• Micronutrient Supplementation
• Fuel Efficient Stoves

2. Improving Health
• Pregnant Women Care and Counseling
• Home Visits
• Interactive Parent Workshops
• Mother's Social Activity Clubs
• Public Health Education
• Handwashing with Soap and Water Campaigns
• Malaria, Dengue Fever, Zika Prevention
• HIV-AIDS Education
• Pre-Pregnancy Counseling

3. Enhancing Cognition
• Community-wide Kindergartens
• Primary and Secondary School Enrichment
• Sanitary Systems
• Potable Water Systems
• Girls Education Promotion
• Home and School Child Psychosocial Support

External Reviews



Global Volunteers

Fiscal year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity


Sexual Orientation

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
We hire indigenous/local people in most countries where we work for leadership and support staff positions. We encourage engagement of people of all ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and spiritual beliefs for our board positions, staff, interns and consultants. We embrace diversity in all its manifestations, and believe it is the strength of a society, and the foundation for global peace and justice.