Bridges to Understanding

Rating: 5 stars   15 reviews


601 N 34th st. Getty Images Building Seattle WA 98103 USA


Bridges to Understanding empowers and unites youth worldwide, enhances cross-cultural understanding and builds global citizenship through the art of storytelling and the use of digital technology. Humanitarian photographer Phil Borges founded Bridges to Understanding in 2001 to give youth around the world the tools to share their vision, hopes and dreams. Bridges connects hundreds of middle and high school students in the northwest United States with their peers in South Africa, India, Guatemala, Peru and other countries through teacher-guided online dialogues, curriculum-based programs and the creation and sharing of digital stories. Students from radically different backgrounds across the globe get a unique opportunity to learn directly from each other, ask questions about each others lives, and ultimately develop cross-cultural understanding and creative problem solving. We envision a harmonious, inter-connected world in which youth are actively engaged as responsible global citizens.

Geographic areas served:



The organization provides an online program which connects middle school students in the developed world with their contemporaties in indigenous communities. Central to the program is digital storytelling mentored by professionals and created by students. The organization provides tools and training that enable the students to tell stories from their own lives and communities. These stories are shared through the bridges website where the students can engage each other, ask questions about each other's lives and collaborate to create multimedia stories exploring their cultures.

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Reviews for Bridges to Understanding

Rating: 5 stars  

Bridges to Understanding is tapping into an essential 21st century need, Global citizenship! In this techno/ internet era the world is shrinking and more and more we are having to interact as global citizens. Giving our kids the tools and skills to appreciate and understand other cultures and realize our common humanity is vital to our Country's economic future and National Security. Giving our U.S. kids an avenue to expand their understanding of the world and how we are much more alike than different as a people is invaluable. It goes without saying that the kids who are living in the reciprocating countries also receive these same benefits but would otherwise have little to no opportunity to gain those tech skills and learn about our country 1st hand.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the videos that kids (from all over the world) have made and realizing how powerful the act of story telling really is. Witnessing and expressing a "story" can and does transform lives; and therefore, the world.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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Rating: 5 stars  

Bridges to Understanding is one of the most effective and creative organizations doing global citizenship in the world. Their work with educators, students/learners and local activists is both powerful and long lasting.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My daughter was an international intern with Bridges in South Africa where she worked with high school students in a township. While she learned and grew in this experience, the impact the work had on the learners she worked with was profound.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them raise more money so they could have more sites around the world. It would be great if they could train more teachers and provide technical support in more classrooms.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

they are very thoughtful and creative in their approach to global citizenship.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

enthusiastic, educated, creative and dedicated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

be able to serve many many more classrooms and after-school programs around the world. They would be able to do teacher trainings and touch the lives of so many more global citizens.

Ways to make it better...

this organization has broader support.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial. Honestly, they are not a flashy organization. Rather they are working hard in the trenches and spending their time doing their work, not promoting themselves.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this organization is like a diamond in the rough. With some bright light shone upon them and some additional support, they would be able to fully meet their goals and vision.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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