Amizade (pronounced ah-mee-za-jee) empowers individuals and communities through service and learning worldwide. Amizade offers alternative travel programs as well as courses for college credit that combine education, community service and recreation. Since 1994, Amizade has placed over 9,000 volunteers at service sites throughout the world.
Programs are rooted in Amizade's core values:
Community-Driven Service: Amizade works collaboratively with communities to identify issues, implement projects and evaluate outcomes.
Deliberate Learning: We cooperate with community members and organizations to educate participants about local culture, local concerns, and local assets.
Intercultural Immersion and Exchange: Amizade experiences ensure deep learning about cultural assumptions, worldviews, and the concerns and happiness that we all hold in common.
Consideration of Global Citizenship: Amizade invites all participants to reflect on fundamental human equality and how we might each work to build a world where human life is treated more equally across traditional cleavages of ethnicity, nation, class, or gender.
Reflective Inquiry: Amizade encourages reflective inquiry to encourage participants to stay connected to global civic engagement after a short-term experience.
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Tanzania, Amizade, Amizage, Amizaje, Eric Hartman, Dan Weiss, Brandon Blache-Cohen, Brandon Cohen, water walk, volunteer, service-learning, study abroad, international, service, fair trade learning
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Also Known As
Amizade Global Service-Learning, Amizade, Amizade GSL
305 34th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201 USA
International Cultural Exchange (Q21)
Promotion of International Understanding (Q20)
Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
How does this organization make a difference?
What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
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Amizade offers courses for university credit at its sites in the U.S. and abroad. Each course includes a service component where students deliver a service identified by their host community. Credit is awarded through West Virginia University.
Recent courses include:
History of the Holocaust - based in Germany and Poland
Indigenous Women's Literature - based in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Journeys with Indigenous Cultures - based in the Navajo Nation
Participants in Amizade service-learning courses will sustain or increase
their involvement as global citizens in the years following their
participation in a program.
This might involve:
speaking to appropriate elected officials about issues of concern to the community
fundraising to support community needs
educating others about the community, or
pursuing a vocation that will allow them to effect change - such as Peace Corps, elected office, or public health.
Community partners are empowered to make positive changes in their
communities and have advocates willing to work in solidarity with them.
Amizade invites participants to complete pre-course and post-course questionnaires. Participants report on their satisfaction with the course components (instruction, housing, service experience) as well as their learning. Participants are asked to evaluate their experience in comparison to a similar course at their home institution.
Amizade staff from the U.S. visit sites to observe programs in action, and work with community partners to evaluate impact.
In recent surveys of service-learning students, 95% rated their experience as "good" or "excellent."
Nearly 90% say that, compared to a similar on-campus program, the Amizade course was "more" or "much more" effective in terms of:
what they learned
how much they can apply to the "real world"
how much it stimulates their interest in the subject matter
how much it helped them see connections between knowledge and application.
A recent participant in the Jamaica program said, "This experience has opened my eyes to a different culture from my own. I learned their education system and what they struggle with and what others can do to helI want to stay in touch with my family and be able to return very soon to continue helping their community."
A student returning from Jamaica said, "It taught me a lot about what it means to be a global citizen, and it lit a fire in me that is making me want to change things in my life to become a better global citizen."
Fair Trade Learning
Modeled after Amizade's partnership in Jamaica, Fair Trade Learning recognizes that the individuals and communities that host students and volunteers are uniquely impacted by visitors and should be offered fair working conditions and compensation, hold significant voice in the orchestration of programming, and be offered proper professional development opportunities.
Pioneered by Amizade Global Service-Learning, the Fair Trade Learning framework commits volunteer sending organizations to transparency, community-driven service, commitment and sustainability, deliberate diversity, intercultural contact, community preparation, local sourcing, reciprocity, and reflection. Each ideal is broken into specific standards that have been vetted by community members, staff members across several VSOs, and a broad coalition of academics.
Amizade aspires to enact the Fair Trade Learning model of study and volunteering abroad by:
Engaging only in community-driven development, in which community leaders and organizations help decide the terms of foreign student projects in their communities.
Encouraging and opening classes for local students to audit, free of charge.
Offering fair compensation to all of those who make study and volunteer abroad programs possible, including guides, drivers, homestay families, cooks, and community organizations; and
Working to offer partially or fully subsidized opportunities for individuals in our communities abroad to engage in service-learning programs in the United States.
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General
The Global Switchboard Service Corps and Youth Ambassadors Program with South America
The Global Switchboard Service Corps and the Youth Ambassadors Program with South America are both programs that provide an opportunity to empower Pittsburgh area youth through worldwide service and learning. In each of these programs, volunteers will have the chance to have a cross-cultural experience that will impact their lives, the host community, and the greater Pittsburgh and West Virginia regions. High school-aged participants will experience a different culture, learn and serve with other young leaders, then return home to the Pittsburgh and West Virginia area and learn about project planning, budgeting, management, and create a youth-designed local projects in their own communities.
• To foster civic engagement in local youth;
• To create new local community youth leaders;
• To cultivate a culture of youth service in Pittsburgh and West Virginia;
• To create globally empowered youth in Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
Cohen first began experimenting with social entrepreneurship and service-learning while an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh. After sailing on Semester at Sea in the fall of 2003, he combined his passions of travel and social justice by helping to create a student-initiated NGO, FORGE. As Associate Director of FORGE he worked in three refugee camps in Zambia and Botswana on a slew of small-scale development projects. Since then, Cohen has worked in development for the Tahirih Justice Center in Washington, DC, as a researcher and program assistant for aids2031 in Worcester, MA, and as a consultant for several other small nonprofits and foundations. From 2007 - 2009, he was a Social Change Fellow at Clark University, where he earned an MA in International Development and Social Change. To date, Cohen has worked, studied, or traveled in over 55 countries on five continents.
Franklin & Marshall College
Term: Oct 2015 - Oct 2018
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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?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?