aka AHF   |   San Francisco, CA   |


The American Himalayan Foundation brings shelter, safety, education, health, and opportunity to people in the Himalaya who are in need and have no one else.

Ruling year info



Erica Stone

Main address

909 Montgomery St, Suite 400

San Francisco, CA 94133 USA

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NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (Q12)

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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

The Himalaya is an enchanting place where the magnificence of the world's highest mountains is mirrored in the unique culture of the people who live in their shadow. But these people often live without basic healthcare and education; economic pressures make young girls vulnerable to being trafficked; and traditional ways of life are disappearing. The American Himalayan Foundation was founded to respond to these pressing issues and our mission is still to bring shelter, safety, education, health, and opportunity to people in the Himalaya who are in need and have no one else.

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?

STOP Girl Trafficking

Every year, as many as 20,000 girls from the poorest parts of rural Nepal are trafficked. They and their families are tricked with false promises of good jobs or lured by proposals of marriage from handsome strangers. They end up in brothels, in homes and factories as slaves, or forced into child marriage, their young lives cut short by trauma and abuse.

How can this happen? Grinding poverty, caste discrimination, and the belief that women have little value: a girl is an extra mouth to feed until she is married off. If she can leave home to earn money for the family, they may be too desperate to look closely at what her fate might really be.

Our partner, Dr. Aruna Uprety, pioneered the idea of combatting trafficking by preventing it—stopping it before it happens. If a girl has value, in her own eyes and her family’s, she will not “go missing.” How do we give girls value? By educating them.

With AHF’s support, Aruna and her organization, RHEST, go into the villages, find the girls most at risk, put them in school and keep them there so they are safe. They also educate the girls and their families about the realities and dangers of trafficking and early marriage, and weave a protective web of trusted people around the girls so they can reach out if trouble does arise. For a small investment, we can keep a girl safe for an entire year: $100 pays for school fees, books, uniforms, mentoring, and tutoring.

And it works. The girls are motivated to study harder, and the drop-out rate is below the national average. As the girls learn, they gain confidence, are more respected by their families and communities, and become role models for other girls. STOP Girl Trafficking girls even influence their classmates to study harder.

We started with 54 girls in 1996. Now we have 12,000 girls safe in 500+ schools across Nepal, on the path to a future full of hope instead of dread.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
At-risk youth

Nothing looks as squarely toward the future as education. And nothing else has education’s power to transform lives. For Tibetan refugees, Sherpas, Lobas in Mustang, village girls—for any child facing daunting odds because of caste, gender, disability or poverty—education offers a path forward to opportunity and hope, and the freedom to make choices in a world that will often be very different from their parents’.

Our homework is to clear the obstacles that keep kids from going to school. A school might be too small: add classrooms. Or too far away: build a hostel for students to stay in. Even help with school supplies and uniforms can be essential to allow students to succeed. And when they do, we all win.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

For many across the Himalaya, healthcare is unaffordable and out of reach. We build and support health clinics, fund health workers, and supply medicines to bring care to poor, off-the-grid communities—often to Tibetans and Nepalis who may have never seen a doctor before.

In Nepal 27% of children under the age of 15 suffer from some form of disability, often from untreated injuries, that can condemn them to a lifetime of suffering and isolation. We support the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children, a world-class orthopedic hospital whose caring staff skillfully mend the bodies and spirits of the poorest Nepali kids in need of care, for little or no cost.

In the Everest area, the Khunde Hospital and its 3 outreach clinics see over 6,000 patients each year. And Namche Dental Clinic, the world's highest dental clinic, serves locals and trekkers in the Khumbu—and teaches Sherpa children how to keep their smiles bright.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

After half a century or more in exile, most Tibetan refugees are still struggling to survive. And for those who remained in Tibet, home has become an increasingly difficult and uncertain place.

The Tibetans who followed His Holiness the Dalai Lama into exile after 1959, hazarding the treacherous mountains along Tibet’s southern border, did not expect it to be permanent. 60 years later, many Tibetan settlements remain isolated, with few resources to move beyond subsistence farming. We help Tibetan refugees maintain their culture in exile and improve their quality of life through education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Ethnic and racial groups

After the first ascent of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the spirit of their achievement was heralded around the world, attracting thousands of trekkers and climbers to the Khumbu region. The feat shone a spotlight on Sherpas, who were honored for their kindness and strength on the mountain. Yet, in the shadow of the world’s tallest peak, life for them was as it had been for centuries. They lacked basics like clean water and electricity, and there were no schools or clinics.

One of AHF’s very first partners was Sir Edmund Hillary and his Himalayan Trust. For 30 years, we worked together to improve lives in every corner of the Khumbu, giving thousands of children an education, supporting clinics and hospitals, restoring Buddhist monasteries that are the heart of Sherpa culture, and building infrastructure that makes life at high altitude less demanding. The late Sir Ed is no longer with us, but we continue to support education for Sherpa children, rebuild after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, and support the Khunde Hospital, which sees over 6,000 patients each year.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Ethnic and racial groups

In the once forbidden kingdom of Mustang, isolation had left the people impoverished, traditions faded, and ancient temples a shadow of what they once were. When AHF first visited this enclave of Tibetan culture within Nepal, the king asked for help restoring the soul of his ancient kingdom—starting with its gompas and monastic schools.

Their restoration sparked a cultural renaissance: long abandoned festivals have been revived, magnificent wall paintings are again fit for worship, and monasteries and nunneries are flourishing. We and our partners have also worked to bring healthcare, education, and infrastructure to villages across Mustang, and today the spirit of the Lobas, the people of Mustang, is evident everywhere.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Where we work

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.

The American Himalayan Foundation takes care of people in the Himalaya who are in need and have no one else. They are the marginalized members of society: low caste girls and women, Tibetans and Sherpas, orphans and street children, persons with disabilities, and the destitute elderly.

Our goal is to help each of these people with what they need most – comfort and a warm home for elders, education and a path to a meaningful future for Tibetan refugees, surgery and therapy that restores mobility and morale for children with disabilities. We touch the lives of 300,000 people every year, and each person helped means change for them, their family, their community, and ultimately, their country.

Our goal is also to help visionary local partners grow and build their capabilities so they can reach more beneficiaries and create greater impact.

Together with our local partners, we educate children, make healthcare accessible, prevent girl trafficking, build stronger communities, help families become financially independent, and keep ancient cultures alive. To make this happen we:

1. Bet on people: We find local partners who have the vision and determination to help their communities and we help them grow—with financial, strategic, and technical support.

2. Find the leverage: We know the territory and intervene where we can make the greatest impact for the least cost. In the Himalaya, the difference between what exists and what is possible can be enormous, and often costs very little.

3. Respect: We respect the priorities, concerns and knowledge of our local partners, and all of our work has community participation.

4. Take the long view: We stay committed. Real, sustainable change takes time, effort and trust.

We have been working in the Himalaya since 1981. In that time, we have developed a deep knowledge of the people, their needs, the cultures, and how to get things done. We have also built networks of strong local partners and trusted relationships.

We have many champions for our work, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former President Jimmy Carter, and an illustrious board of climbers, financiers, and two retired US ambassadors.

We have improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of marginalized people in the Himalaya. But in this very poor part of the world, education and health care are still out of reach for too many, traffickers find new ways to lure girls into slavery, and Tibetans struggle to hold onto their culture.

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

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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 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?

    We collect feedback from our partners; we are dependent on them to collect feedback from their benef



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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 08/28/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jon Krakauer

Bernard Osher

Michael Klein

CoStar Group, Sunlight Foundation, Gun Violence Archive

Louis Reichardt

David Bonderman

Texas Pacific Group

Peter Hillary

Seth Hufstedler

Jon Krakauer

George McCown

American Infrastructure MLP Fund

Bruce McCubbrey

James Simons

Euclidean Capital LLC

Nancy Powell

Former Ambassador to Nepal and India

Conrad Anker

Erica Stone

American Himalayan Foundation

Heidi Blum

Eileen Mariano

Christopher Hest

Peter Bodde

Former Ambassador to Nepal, Libya and Malawi

Nicole Shanahan

Bia Echo Foundation

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 ? No
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/28/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/24/2023

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • 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 disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.