Amigos de las Americas HQ

We believe that young people can change the world.

aka AMIGOS   |   Houston, TX   |  http://www.amigosinternational.org

Mission

Amigos de las Américas inspires leaders through authentic service and immersion experiences.

Ruling year info

1980

President & CEO

Sara Nathan

Main address

1800 West Loop South Suite 1325

Houston, TX 77027 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

74-1547146

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Leadership Development (W70)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

According to the World Economic Forum, young people are facing a “learning and skills crisis” and “demand opportunity and an education which allows them to build their skills and contribute to their own societies.” As a whole, the world is troubled by vast inequality, division, and fear of others. Our global community is facing worsening health crises, climate change, racism, xenophobia, and inequality. These problems are universal but impact communities across the world differently. To address these problems, we need globally minded young leaders who are capable, independent, and self-actualized. To create a more peaceful and just world, young people must embrace diversity and understand the power of collaboration to tackle the world's greatest challenges through community-led solutions. Our vision is a world where all people are lifelong leaders sharing responsibility for our global community.

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?

Youth Ambassadors

The Youth Ambassadors program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The Youth Ambassadors program brings together high school students and adult mentors to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare youth for service in their communities. The 8-month program (which includes a three-week international exchange) is focused on civic education, community service, and youth leadership development. During the three-week international training program, Youth Ambassadors study community development, civic engagement, and leadership theories while living in a new community in Latin America or the United States. This training provides hands-on experience in community-based projects. Volunteers then return to their home countries to implement community-based service projects in their local communities. The Youth Ambassadors Program is offered in Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, and the United States.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Young adults
Activists
Teachers

AMIGOS Gap Program (semester) offers high school graduates and college students a four month internship with one of our partner community organizations. This longer program provides a greater level of responsibility and independence than our summer programs. Cultural immersion over several months is an enriching experience, providing volunteers a new level of understanding and a greater perspective on the world. The AMIGOS Gap Program provides an opportunity for volunteers to develop leadership and problem-solving skills at a critical moment before they start the next phase of their life.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Activists

The Social Impact Accelerator is a virtual, bilingual program offered to AMIGOS alumni to build upon their previous AMIGOS experience(s). Through this action-focused accelerator, students bring ideas to reality by implementing a service project in their community. They reflect on challenges that their communities are facing, brainstorm solutions, engage with stakeholders, and implement an impactful service project. Through the process, students draw on lessons from their time in AMIGOS and the experiences of young people throughout the region tackling difficult social challenges. Through online modules, live workshops, mentorship, and peer collaboration, students connect with a network of changemakers across the Americas. Additionally, these young people have the opportunity to participate in the bilingual AMIGOS Week of Action where they kick off the implementation of their projects while practicing their English or Spanish.


Population(s) Served
Young adults
Adolescents

We modified our high school programs in 2021 so that students ages 15-19 could participate as volunteers in our programs safely in our host countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs are three weeks long and are pod based, with volunteers in each session of a project staying in a group of twenty students. Projects in this program are based around a specific theme and a matching curriculum so that volunteers can learn while doing their service.

AMIGOS has also decided to run a six-week homestay immersion project in Ecuador this summer. Students will venture into rural, coastal communities throughout the beautiful province of Santa Elena, Ecuador while volunteering and living with a host family.

After careful consideration, we have made the decision alongside our local partner agency to house volunteers on the three-week Nicaragua: Nueva Segovia project with local host families for approximately one week.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Our middle school programs are two-week programs aimed toward 13- and 14-year-olds. The programs are pod based, and each session of the project has approximately fifteen students as volunteers. On the program, our volunteers travel to Panama in the Azuero Peninsula and participate in a variety of service projects. These students will interact with communities and learn from local nonprofit organizations. In this program, volunteers will also learn or practice Spanish.

Population(s) Served
Preteens

Where we work

Accreditations

Charity Navigator 2021

Awards

Affiliations & memberships

Building Bridges Coalition - Member 2021

Tufts University 2021

Feeding America 2021

DiscoverU 2021

Association of Fundraising Professionals Global Member 2022

Youth Ambassadors Consortium 2022

Global Education Benchmarking Group 2022

World Affairs Council 2022

Gap Year Association 2022

AmeriCorps VISTA Hosting Organization 2022

Go Overseas Community Choice Award 2020

Go Overseas Community Choice Award 2021

World Learning 2022

U.S. Department of State 2022

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students who receive scholarship funds and/or tuition assistance

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

Economically disadvantaged people, Young adults, Adolescents

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

AMIGOS provides financial support to students through either direct financial assistance awards, full funded donor programs, and the Partnerships Fund.

Number of youth who demonstrate civic participation skills (e.g., compromise, perspective-taking)

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

Young adults, Adolescents

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Youth who participate in AMIGOS programs are involved with designing or implementing a community initiative or project where they put into practice civic leadership and participation skills.

Number of community initiatives in which the organization participates

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AMIGOS approach to community development is rooted in asset-based community development theory. Students develop their own service projects and/or support initiatives in their programming location.

Number of youth who demonstrate leadership skills (e.g., organizing others, taking initiative, team-building)

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

Young adults, Adolescents

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Youth who participate in AMIGOS programs are involved with designing or implementing a community initiative or project where they put into practice leadership skills.

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.

AMIGOS equips young people to become the rising leaders our communities need. We challenge students to realize their full potential through transformational experiences in cultural exchange and service.

As volunteers, our students develop strong personal leadership skills, become committed and active citizens, and thrive in cross-cultural environments. They use empathy and social and emotional intelligence training to expand their leadership skills. They connect with one another across cultures to grow their cultural competence. They expand their ability to address issues based on community needs and resources - strengthening their ability to lead and serve for a lifetime.

Our students explore topics such as local conservation initiatives, the root causes of climate change and the application of local mitigation efforts against climate change, local food production and farming practices, and other topics while collaborating with local communities through hands-on service work.

We are committed to engaging youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds in our life-changing programs. We use a sliding scale fee structure and provide direct financial assistance awards to serve students with financial need. We also have two programs that are underwritten by either private donors or federal grant awards. These fully donor-funded programs have allowed AMIGOS to innovate and develop new program models to reach even more youth across the Americas. Finally, the Partnerships Fund allows AMIGOS to reach U.S. students who would not be able to participate without the financial and pre-program support provided by both AMIGOS and our partner organizations.

After their AMIGOS experience, alumni continue to be leaders in their home communities. One such leader is alumna Anne Morriss, a serial entrepreneur. You can read her testimony that highlights the impact of our organization on her relationship to the concept of leadership on our blog, La Carta: https://amigosinternational.org/la_carta/alumni-spotlight-anne-morriss/.

AMIGOS offers immersion and service programming to middle-school-, high-school-, and college-aged youth. All programs include varying degrees of the following components, which enable volunteers to develop into community leaders:

Community-Led Service
AMIGOS volunteers work on a community-led service project. Every service project is unique and channels each young person's unique positive youth development and capacity for community service. The impact of their service is meaningful because our programs are driven by the needs and resources of local communities.

Cultural Exchange
Volunteers step outside of their comfort zones to learn about themselves and others in a new cultural context. Whether in a virtual exchange program or immersed in a community in a different country, students are given the opportunity to truly engage with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. The intention is that our volunteers walk away with not just a global awareness but with a global perspective.

Independence
Our students are given the opportunity for independence and self-direction at a level unparalleled in comparison to other international youth leadership organizations in the field. Our programs help volunteers remove the barriers that hold them back from manifesting their autonomy. They gain an increased sense of responsibility for one's self and what impact they wish to make in the world.

Training and Mentorship
Students build their leadership and community engagement skills through hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship. This allows students to experience the independence needed to grow as leaders but with the support of a passionate facilitator and guide.

Future Leadership Opportunities
After AMIGOS, volunteers join an alumni network of more than 30,000 engaged leaders across the globe.

58 Years of Experience
In 1965, AMIGOS founder Guy Bevil, a 29-year-old youth director, led a group of high school students and medical professionals into rural Honduras to counteract a growing polio epidemic. Every year thereafter, young people have joined AMIGOS to learn from communities throughout the Americas and volunteer in locally-driven community-service projects.

AMIGOS has become an expert in providing youth meaningful experiences in applying asset-based community development theory. AMIGOS provides the only truly immersive and independent leadership development experience of this magnitude for youth.

In-Country Partnerships
At the very heart of our program model, partner agencies are local organizations that share our goal of engaging young people as leaders and global citizens. We have built strong relationships with a network of partner agencies throughout the Americas over our 58-year history. Since our founding, AMIGOS has partnered with more than 300 schools and universities, government ministries, international development agencies, and local nonprofits.

While these partners amplify our impact, we also amplify the forms of impact they are making. We work with our partners to develop region-specific work plans, incorporating our programs with the organizational goals of our partners. They help us consider community interests, identify host families and communities, and monitor safety in the region. Our partners are critical to the success and sustainability of our work.

Official Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement
AMIGOS believes in the power and wisdom of all people. We embrace diversity at AMIGOS with respect to race, nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, age, ability, gender, and sexual orientation.

We commit to eliminating barriers to representation and inclusion within the AMIGOS organization and in our programs. We uplift different life experiences, belief systems, and opinions through our work with volunteers, communities, and partners.

Our Alumni
We are proud of the more than 30,000 AMIGOS alumni who have completed our programs. In a poll of program volunteers from the years 1965-2012, more than 90% of respondents said that the AMIGOS experience affected them in the following ways:
-Greatly impacted their career paths and increased their ability to be effective leaders;
-Increased their multicultural awareness and respect for differing cultural norms;
-Improved their self-confidence, communication skills, and problem-solving skills; and
-Provided them with skills and qualities that are attractive to future and current employers.

They become leaders in their own communities and often speak about the lifelong impact of their AMIGOS experience.

“I gained insight into how similar people are across the world even when they belong to different cultures."

"AMIGOS was the most challenging experience of my life. I already feel like I've learned to be more level-headed and persistent. I've gained an immense amount of gratitude as well as humility."

"AMIGOS helped focus my career path. I am currently a scientific researcher at UC San Francisco focusing on drug discovery. One of our therapeutic targets is Chagas Disease, which is endemic in Latin America. Our collaborators on this project include researchers from Argentina and Brazil."

"Even though it was 20 years ago, I still tell stories of my days in Ecuador. It was one of the most profound experiences of my lifetime."

Financial Assistance
AMIGOS provides financial assistance to youth from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. We know that our programs are most impactful when we connect youth from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. Currently, we offer more than $300,000 in financial assistance each year.

As we look ahead, we are thrilled to open new programs in the U.S. and throughout Latin America and to continue operating transformational opportunities for students who are inspired to lead positive change in the world.

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?

    AMIGOS serves students ages 13-22. All students in our programs benefit from our curriculum rooted in creative social and emotional learning and development. In our 2021 summer programs, most students (20.6%) were from California. 7.7% of our students were from Latin America, specifically Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Last summer, AMIGOS awarded more than $243,000 in direct financial assistance funding to students. 6.4% of students identified as Asian (incl. Indian subcontinent), 2.1% identified as Black or African American, 24.5% identified as Hispanic or Latino, 12.0% identified as multiethnic, 0.9% identified as other, 53.2% identified as White, and 0.8% did not state their racial identity. In our 58 year history, we have served more than 30,000 alumni.

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

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We updated the pre-program training curriculum for our summer programs after reviewing feedback from multiple years. New technology and curricular sessions were added to the training. We developed a 3-year strategic alumni engagement plan based on a cross-generational survey and interviews with alumni to hear feedback surrounding alumni opportunities at AMIGOS.

  • 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?

    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 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,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

Amigos de las Americas
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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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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

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

Amigos de las Americas

Board of directors
as of 3/29/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kevin Lanier

Shell Oil Company

Term: 2020 - 2022

Adolfo Jiménez

Holland & Knight LLP

Andrew Haas, MD

Orthopaedic Associates of Stamford

Kevin Lanier

Shell Oil Company

Philip Johnson, MD

McGovern Medical School

Arnold Chacón

Retired Former Director General of the Foreign Service & U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala

Catherine Masterson

Nonprofit Board Member

Lisa Pieper, MD, MBA

Pieper & Associates LLC

Kirsten Tobey

Revolution Foods

Paul Reidy

RPX Corporation

Michael Pollack

SCA Charitable Foundation

Toby Spoon

The TECMA Group

Molly Abbruzzese

MLA Consulting, LLC

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? Not applicable
  • 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? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/24/2022

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/08/2022

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 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 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 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.