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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Performing Arts

Mission: Clowns Without Borders (CWB-USA) is a non-profit organization which offers laughter to relieve the suffering of all persons, especially children, who live in areas of crisis including refugee camps, conflict zones and other situations of adversity. We partner with individuals and organizations to bring small teams of professional performing artists to share performances and workshops with children and their families in refugee camps, conflict zones, or with communities who have experienced trauma or crisis. We bring levity, contemporary clown/circus oriented performances and workshops into communities so that community members can celebrate together and forget for a moment the tensions that darken their daily lives. We also seek to raise our society’s awareness of affected populations and to promote a spirit of solidarity.

Target demographics: those in suffering

Direct beneficiaries per year: thousands of people

Geographic areas served: conflict zone and refugee camps around the world

Programs: a moment of levity via a clown workshop or performance.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Clowns Without Borders does huge work on a small budget. CWB volunteers come from many countries, all with the same goal of bringing joy and comfort to uprooted,frightened, sad children and families. During their Lesvos, Greece visit earlier this year, clowns entertained and engaged children, then helped pull struggling refugees from the water as their overcrowded boats capsized. Heartbreaking and joyful. That is the tale of CWB.

Tessa V.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a monthly contributor to CWB because the work that they do is powerful, gentle, strategic and important. I am connected to many people in the organization and many of the performers who go on their trips, and they all share a commitment to confronting the horrors of the world with resilience and laughter. They will stay up all night helping however they can to get stranded refugees in lesvos dry and warm, and then get up again the next morning to put on their noses and do show after show. They only go where they are invited, and trust and are trusted by their local contacts.

Tamara31

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Clowns Without Borders is unique and the volunteers are the most passionate and caring people I've ever met. Where the clowns go, laughter always follows for survivors and aid workers. Thank you for reminding us there is light amid the darkness!

1 Michelle374

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Absolutely incredible. This organization does some amazing work and is led by some amazing people.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Clowns Without Borders is a truly unique non-profit, 5 stars all around! The message is simple: laughter as a means of connecting and spreading joy to the places and people who need it most. As a volunteer and board member, I have seen the power of CWB's efforts with my own eyes. I have seen audiences rolling with laughter. I have seen joy radiating from children's faces who have been through many struggles, children who are not given the opportunity to play and laugh, as all children should.
The volunteers of this organization are some of the greatest people I've met! The performers are all professional artists with outstanding talents. The staff is unwaveringly dedicated to CWB's humanitarian efforts.

5

Advisor

Rating: 5

Clowns Without Borders brings smiles to tens of thousands of children who live in areas of crisis including refugee camps, conflict zones and other situations with endemic poverty and violence . Their tools are laughter and shared joy. Founded in Spain in the 1990s, there are now 12 international CWB chapters. CWB-USA performers last year traveled to Columbia, Haiti, Lebanon, Philippines, South Sudan and the US (a juvenile detention center). They go only when invited by local partners who partly fund their performances and 2-3 week workshops. They do all this on a $100,000 budget (the clowns work pro-bono). An amazing humanitarian organization!

Comments ( 1 )

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CWB-USA 01/11/2016

Thank you for this incredible review. We're honored to have such informed supporters! We couldn't do it without the support of our many volunteers.

Review from Guidestar

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great people and great idea. We all need the chance to laugh and have some fun even in war and disaster zones.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

CWB-USA 01/11/2016

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. We believe we can build through laughter.

Review from Guidestar

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

CWB is awe inspiring! What a pure and simple way to connect, human to human across the world. In my travels and time volunteering on the administrative end of CWB I have seen smiles that stretch across oceans, laughter that can be heard miles away, and joy that reaches mountain tops. CWB is filled with the most kind, compassionate, and joyful volunteers. Each of who are professional artists, bringing incredible talent around the world. In addition, CWB, at its core is filled with hardworking individuals with true care for humanity.

Review from Guidestar

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Clowns Without Borders does absolutely amazing work! In all honesty! And I should know, I am the one who founded the organization in the US in 1995, bringing it from Spain, where it started in 93. Why 5 Stars? Because of plentiful avalanches of laughter in places where it is most needed. Audiences of 150 or 500 or 2000 or more, children and families, torn away from their homes by crisis, in refugee camps, IDP camps, temporary shelters, child-friendly spaces, schools, and so many other spaces that spontaneously become theaters. Professional artists volunteering, creating, performing shows connecting to the local funny bone through clown, circus and physical comedy. Workshops. Working with local artists and teachers. Teaching them to teach. Behind the scenes, a hard working board, part-time and volunteer staff, all extremely dedicated, collaborating to operate 6-12 projects a year on a very down-to-earth budget.

Review from Guidestar

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Using your superpowers for good, that is what CWB does. I have volunteered with CWB for years and later joined the volunteer board because it lives the ideals I want to see in the nonprofit world. The money goes to the cause, the volunteers are dedicated and stay forever, the work they do is tangible, real, and has direct impact on the quality of lives of those they seek to serve. They work with a solidarity model, with local organizations, go where they are invited, and builds local capacity. Big smiles. Little faces. The effects are staggering. Today, I have a little more faith in what humans can accomplish with dedication, humility, and respect.

Review from Guidestar