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The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was founded by the Religious Society of Friends
) in 1917. They are a community service
organization that organizes volunteer service project
s across the United States and the world. They work in accordance with the values of the Religious Society of Friends, which include nonviolence and the belief that there is that of God within each of us. They welcome people of all faiths into their organization.
Structure and Statistics:
The AFSC is a not-for-profit corporation with a board of directors and located across the country. Programs are administered by single staff, committees and volunteers.
Some recent work:
- Approximate annual budget: 4.0 million US dollars.
- 9 Regional Offices in the US
- Numerous other local offices
- 400+ staff members
- Hundreds of committee members
- Thousands of volunteers and contributors.
- Headquarters in Philadelphia, PA.
History of the AFSC:
- Assisted 16 families in Sarajevo plant community gardens where Bosnians, Croats and Serbs could grow fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Provided tools to Somalian farmers so they could rehabilitate 12 kilometers of irrigation canals.
- Provided 5,000 youth in 20 states with conflict resolution, anti-racism and leadership training.
The AFSC was formed in 1917 to provide a way for conscientious objectors to serve during World War I. During The Great Depression, J. Edgar Hoover asked the AFSC to implement a child-feeding program in areas hurt by the reduction in coal mining. They also assisted Japanese Americans interred during World War II go to college and find jobs.
Eleanor Roosevelt worked on AFSC projects in West Virginia and made financial donations to the organization.
In 1938, AFSC members met with the German Gestapo to talk about the needs of Jews after Kristallnacht.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the activities of the AFSC from the 1920's to the 1970's. During this time they collected 3500 pages of documents on the AFSC, recently made public by the Freedom of Information Act.*
In 1947 the AFSC and the British Friends Service Council received the Nobel Peace Prize for their humanitarian service.
Involvement in AFSC:
I have been involved in a number of AFSC projects and have served on an AFSC committee for the last three years.
I first went on a project when I was 15 years old. This youth project helped paint and do repairs at the Child and Migrant Services Center in Palisade, Colorado. I returned to this project 4 more years.
In 2000, I helped to organize fire relief projects for the victims of wildfires in Northern New Mexico, including victims of the fire in Los Alamos that destroyed over 200 homes.
I have been a committee member of the AFSC-IMYM Joint Service Project oversight committee for the past three years. We create budgets and help plan youth service projects in Colorado, South Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico.
More information about the American Friends Service Committee can be found at http://www.afsc.org/