Nurturing Children for a More Compassionate World

aka API   |   Bristol, TN   |


To educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Samantha Gray

Main address

P.O. Box 973

Bristol, TN 37621 USA

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NTEE code info

Family Services (P40)

Nonmonetary Support N.E.C. (F19)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Child and adolescent mental health experts are witnessing ever rising rates of depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, conduct disorders, suicide, and other serious mental, emotional, and behavioral problems in the United States. According to the National Mental Health Association, 6 million children currently suffer serious emotional and mental health problems. Experts agree that this crisis is due to children feeling a deep lack of connectedness, fostered by early healthy secure attachment, to their parents and their community. Researchers, community leaders, and scholars found that this lack of connectedness was of two kinds, “close connections to people and deep connections to moral and spiritual meaning.” These problems cross all racial, cultural, and economic status barriers. They are not limited to the uneducated or to those living in poverty. They reflect a more intrinsic kind of poverty—a poverty of the mind and of the spirit.

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?

Serve Familes

Currently, our primary operating program is the affiliation and coordination of Attachment Parenting Support Groups around the world. Our groups are being facilitated by husband and wife teams, mothers, social workers, or childbirth or parenting educators. The focus of these groups is to educate parents and potential parents in the critical emotional and psychological needs of infants and young children. Research has shown that parent support groups are most effective in reducing child abuse and neglect. Our primary objective is to help parents build strong emotional connections with their children. Those strong connections act like a vaccine to prevent a host of behavior and mental disorders in school or later in life. We encourage the active participation of fathers in the groups.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

API is one of the only organizations to accredit, provide materials, support and enable volunteer parent leaders to facilitate free, regular Parent Support Group meetings in their area. 
API's Parent Support Groups are a unique in that they combine formal information exchange, facilitated parenting problem-solving and the social benefits that are prevalent and sought after in informal moms and play groups. 
Information and support provided by the accredited leaders is based on API's Eight Principles of Parenting which are rooted in developmental and attachment research as well as more recent neuroscience.  The Principles promote healthy social, emotional and psychological development in children through nurturing and attuned relationships with their parents and caregivers.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

API collects, assembles and disseminates to multiple constituents over multiple channels, development, attachment and other related research and information that demonstrates "best practices" for parents and caregivers to promote healthy social, emotional and psychological development with their children through nurturing relationships.
API reaches parents and professionals through a variety of web-based and print products and offerings.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Development of curriculum, training materials and class structures for offering formal parenting classes based on API's research-based Eight Principles of Parenting promoting healthy parent-child relationships that underpins appropriate social, emotional and psychological child development.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

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.

API's mission is to educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world.

Through education, support, advocacy and research, API's principal goal is to heighten global awareness of the profound significance of secure attachment - not only to reduce and ultimately prevent emotional and physical mistreatment of children, addiction, crime, behavioral disorders, mental illness, and other outcomes of early unhealthy attachment, but to invest in our children's bright futures.

API delivers unique support and information to parents, caregivers and professionals based on research and healthy human relations. API uniquely endeavors to envelop all parents and caregivers with new, practical information and support to help them attain and retain early, healthy secure attachments though connected relationships with children in any neighborhood, setting or socioeconomic level. Our work supports the parents in their role as experts of their children and families and is based on natural parenting instincts, attachment theory and research and a wide range of other research. This is prevention with knowledge and care.

Attachment Parenting is an application of sensitive responsive parenting. Attachment Parenting is based in the practice of nurturing parenting methods that create strong emotional bonds, also known as secure attachment, between children and their parent(s). This style of parenting encourages responsiveness to children’s emotional needs, enabling children to develop trust that their needs will be met. As a result, this strong attachment helps children develop the capacity for secure, empathic, peaceful, and enduring relationships that follow them into adulthood.

API promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents and as a result changes everything from the dynamic of a family to that of communities by improving school readiness to reducing violence.

Attachment Parenting International (API) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization founded in 1994 to network with parents, professionals and like-minded organizations around the world. API serves as a clearinghouse and community of practice for AP education, research, and information dissemination. It publishes a magazine, a science of attachment journal, a forum community, blog, enewsletters, educational materials and other related publications.

Relationships are the key. What sets API apart is our focus on promoting parenting and care giving styles, rooted in attachment theory, that are characterized by the closeness and connectedness that marks secure attachments. Our goal is that all adult-child relationships might be the healthiest possible and enable the optimal development of children who are not only well-adjusted, resilient, capable and compassionate individuals, but who are able to reach their highest individual potential.

API helps parents and caregivers view child behaviors in context of the individual and development, understand them as the communication they are and respond to them from the basis of a trusting, validating relationship. API sees these mundane interactions and relationships as a critical and formative framework from which the child will learn to relate to the world.

Distinctive Content. Each program and resource is infused with key evidenced-based Principles of preparation for parenting, feeding with love and respect, responding with sensitivity, using nurturing touch, ensuring safe sleep physically and emotionally, providing consistent loving care, practicing positive discipline, and striving for balance. Those who strive to adapt and apply API's Eight Principles of Parenting are committed to promoting secure attachments with their children. They are committed to raising children who are more capable of compassion, empathy for others and the environment, having lifelong healthy relationships, self confidence, greater resilience, achieving success in school, and experiencing a sense of contentment.

Unique programs. API uniquely combines free, local and global support and informal, but facilitated, attachment research-based education to all parents. API provides free helpful information and support via 24/7 online forums, programming, podcasts, and publications, but our most unique organizational features are our support group leader preparation program and parenting educator training program. Through group leader program, volunteer leaders are supported to conduct free, regular parent support groups in their areas providing face-to-face or online support and outreach. In contrast, most free parent groups are 100% social and shared information is primarily opinion-based and/or derived from an assortment of unverified resources. Additionally, most widely offered parent education is either formal and fee-based with few offerings based in attachment theory or if parent education is based in research, it's primarily treatment oriented for distressed and/or court-mandated families with a focus on behavioral modification. API's support groups are a truly unique combination of free, para-professional facilitated, informal, research-based education and support.

Grassroots Organization. API has been a quiet grassroots parenting movement that has grown to support groups around the country during the last 25 years, proving its worth and long-term impact.

API has sustained and evolved its programs over the last 26 years, leveraging its grassroots mindset while engaging in a professional environment.

Cofounders of the organization, Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson, serve on the Board of Directors. The Board includes professionals from child development and attachment, infant feeding, academia, finance, accessibility, international development, and civic service. The Advisory Board and Resource Advisory Council include professionals in infant mental health, attachment theory, child development, advocacy, brain development, adverse childhood experiences, positive childhood experiences, and more.

The organization is primarily volunteer run, with staff located around the world. Many come with professional and technical skills not often available to nonprofit organizations, and have been involved for more than a decade. Many have completed API's leader preparation program and served in their local communities as well. The current Executive Director has served the organization for more than 12 years.

Over the years, resources, tools, databases, research instruments, publications, volunteer training programs, parenting educator training programs, and partnerships have been developed that are based in years of research and production. A network of volunteers, supporters, professional members, and advocates around the world use these materials to develop their own resources to extend the work. These resources are made available on API's websites and distributed to networks and professionals, and most of all, parents.

API continues to innovate and grow, and looks forward to increasing and broadening our efforts to nurture children for a more compassionate world.

Serving families and fostering healthy attachment is the vision of Attachment Parenting International. For 25 years now, API has worked to strengthen its efforts and impact to help more children flourish and support more parents. As the challenges of growing up in this world continue, API continues its resolve to help parents benefit from API’s Eight Principles of Parenting, offering resilience and compassion through secure attachment. While celebrating a major milestone, API focused on its transition to expand its reach and free access to its resources; bring parenting education to more communities; and much more for the next 25 years. These are some of our activities, outcomes and impacts:
Held major conference on breastfeeding and brain development, breastfeeding and media among African-American women, attachment styles--ours and our children’s, mother-infant sleep, and the chemistry of attachment, to mothers and depression, empathic listening for providers, optimal care in the early years, breastfeeding through separation, science of resilience and ACEs, healthy birth, and nonviolent communication;
Translated resources into Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, and Portuguese;
Distributed API Principle-supporting badges to individuals and organizations;
Updated free leader training resources and AP support group website listing
Trained Attached at the Heart parenting educators in Greece, Canada, and Argentina, and launched additional support resources and team members;
Published a new edition of Attached at the Heart with Praeclarus Press;
Published ground-breaking API research, “Mothers Affiliated with a Positive Parenting Program Report Rearing their Children Differently,” conducted and published by Southern Methodist University in the Journal of Child and Family Studies;
Awarded a research grant through partnership with Bristol's Promise and East Tennessee State University to pilot and publish research on the Attached at the Heart Parenting Education Program;
Grew network of 20,000, plus 175,000 on Facebook, and more than 400 AP volunteers, support group leaders and parenting educators;
Undertook national social marketing campaign with the message that parenting (education) matters with the National Parenting Education Network;
Continued efforts to develop outreach to those working in the judicial system on early secure attachment and API Principles; and
Distributed API Infant Sleep brochure to nearly 10,000 representatives, organizations, and agencies since the program began.
Next, API continues to widen our impact geographically by encompassing all of API’s work and service as an international organization;
Grow our Attached at the Heart Parenting Education workshops, including taking them to the U.K. and Tennessee, while adding new materials and support resources;
Update online resources, content, and management tools, and sustain key nonprofit supports to providing services; and
Continue to expand support.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • 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), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, 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,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

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

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,



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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

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

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Board of directors
as of 12/23/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Janet Jendron

Attachment Parenting International

Martha Sears

Ask Dr.

Richard Bowlby

Center for Child Mental Health

Peggy O'Mara

Mothering Magazine

Jan Hunt

The Natural Child Project

Jay Gordon

pediatrician and author

William Sears

pediatrician and author

Bruce Perry

Child Trauma Academy

Michael Trout

The Infant-Parent Institute

Barbara Clinton

Vanderbuilt University, Center for Health Services

Isabelle Fox

psychologist and author

Janet Jendron

Attachment Parenting International

Barbara Nicholson

Attachment Parenting International

Lysa Parker

Attachment Parenting International

Stephen Knight

no affiliation

Artimesia Yuen

Attachment Parenting International

Maria Giangiulio-Blois

no affiliation

Reedy Hickey

no affiliation

Raffi Cavoukian

Child Honouring

Beth Nielsen Chapman

singer songwriter

Bill Corbett

Cooperative Kids

Mary Curter-Smith

University of Alabama

Kathy Diaz

K and J Computing

Don Henry

singer songwriter

Molly Henry

Abintra Montessori School

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

psychologist and author

Rod Kochtitsky


Minda Lazarov


Carlotta Crawford

no affiliation

Jill Flowers

no affiliation

Ann Fundis

no affiliation

Wendy Goldstein

no affiliation

Jan Jacobson

no affiliation

Dorothy Marcic

no affiliation

Christine Orrall

no affiliation

Chris Wink

The Blue Man Group

James McKenna

Notre Dame, The Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/23/2020

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/23/2020

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

  • 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 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.