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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

International Friendships, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Cultural Exchange, International Exchange, Protestant, Religion

Mission: To extend life-changing hospitality and friendship to international students out of reverence for Jesus

Results: Making the world feel at home on 34 campuses, in partnership with 124 churches and 954 volunteers.

Target demographics: international college students

Direct beneficiaries per year: 3,326 international students

Geographic areas served: U.S. college campuses

Programs: Airport pickup, temporary housing, conversation partners, Bible discussion groups, friendship partners, holiday meal hosting, weekend hosting and more.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IFI is an awesome organization that serves the international students and scholars that are visiting central Ohio. Even during this pandemic, the volunteers have found creative ways to stay connected and to serve the community. Keep up the great work!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IFI is a fantastic nonprofit serving students from other countries and welcoming them. The leaders are professional and passionate about their jobs.

1 Sue C.8

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I had heard of IFI from friends in my church, but it wasn't until I went to the yearly banquet that I heard from international students themselves and realized what a good thing this organization is. The weekly Bible studies are no-pressure events but with a good solid teaching (even for the kids), and the other events make people feel so welcome to our city. I love the emphasis on preparing new believers for their re-entry into their own culture, and helping them become grounded in scriptures so they have that with them when they go home. I have been a conversation partner to a handful of lovely people from Asia, and I'm currently doing individual Bible studies with two brilliant Asian ladies. I would never have been connected up with them if it weren't for IFI. None of these partners became Christian believers while partnered with me, but I had the privilege of planting plenty of seeds for God to use later.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer at IFI and really enjoy the relationships I make with international students and scholars. I have been a volunteer since 2009 where I have hosted students or scholars for a few days until they can move into their dormitories or apartments. I also like to be a conversation partner with scholars so they can practice their English speaking skills. It has been a wonderful experience of friendship and cultural awareness for me.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IFI has been faithfully serving thousands of international friends in the US, the workers and volunteers are diligently spreading the Gospel, I constantly witness seekers put their faith in Jesus after many Bible studies and workers' reaching out. Praise God for IFI!

Sue K.2

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a big fan of IFI and value how the organization helps international students, scholars and their families. My husband and I have been IFI volunteers for more than ten years now. Even the pandemic has not prevented IFI from showing God's love to students in practical ways and with creative outreach.

Donor

Rating: 5

IFI is a successful ministry among international students. It is effective because of the commitment to the Gospel and discipleship. IFI is making a worldwide difference now and for eternity. I am grateful to be a very small part of such a worthy nonprofit.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Our family has enjoyed volunteering for IFI. We have had students from all over the world in our home for a holiday meal. They never fail to appreciate a personal connection, and they really have fun. We have a good time getting to know them and a little bit about their country. Sometimes we have been able to keep up a relationship and have them over again. We have also picked up students at the airport and taken them to their housing or given them a place to stay for several days until their housing was ready. My daughter has been an English partner, meeting with someone for a year or longer for English conversation to strengthen the student's skills. Our overall experience has been very positive.
Our only reason to not award 5 stars is that in the past we have felt some pressure to contribute financially, which translated to some embarrassment when those we had invited to hear about the organization felt that pressure and were a bit alienated by it. The last fundraiser was handled better.

Donor

Rating: 5

My church hosts an IFI dinner once a month and I have volunteered to help serve meals at the event. I was so impressed with the diversity of the people who attended and the fellowship amongst them. God is clearly working among this group of volunteers and students, and it was heart-warming to see it.
Being able to support the efforts of this organization has certainly been a blessing to me!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love International Friendships and the work they are doing among those who are new to our country. I haven't traveled abroad much, so I can only imagine how hard it would be arriving in a country you do not know and trying to make a life there. International Friendships loves and cares for those who are new to the U.S. I love that they meet internationals at the airport so they aren't alone when they get here, they provide transit, they provide activities such as a picnic for new arrivals so that they can acquaint themselves with their new surroundings. I imagine that holidays would be very lonely in a new country, but International Friendships thought of this and connects internationals with host families for various holidays throughout the year. Internationals get to share in the holiday spirit and learn about our culture and customs first hand. There is so much more that IFI does to support internationals physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as they adapt to a new life. This is an amazing nonprofit and I highly recommend them!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

International Friendships, Inc. does a truly wonderful job in welcoming international students to the United States, connecting them with host families that extend true US hospitality!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have supported this nonprofit for decades. I especially like their financial responsibility and accountability. They have yearly meetings where they share past, present, and future activities with keynote speakers who give personal testimonies. I know several of the leaders personally and can vouch for their character and diligence. This is a really great organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have enjoyed several holidays with international university students. It is wonderful to share stories about our cultures and provide them with a taste of "family & home" when they are far from theirs. IFI makes it easy to connect.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The church I attend was involved in starting IFI 40 years ago. I have witnessed its growth through the years as the organization has worked with International students on the Ohio State University campus and now as it is in the process of expanding its ministry to other campuses. I have seen students being transformed by the gospel and go back to their home countries to start proclaiming the gospel. IFI is truly an organization that excels in carrying out its mission.

Jim Z.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome program which includes opportunities to host international students for a few days when they arrive for college. Many times a friendship is started that lasts for the school year, and, sometimes, beyond. We were recently invited to the wedding in Shantou, China of a student we hosted in 2012.

Greg R.2

Donor

Rating: 5

I went to a an IFI Welcome Picnic back in the 80's and it inspired me to become a host for international people. Thanks IFI !

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been an enthusiastic supporter of IFI for a number of years. They are an innovative organization that is doing great work. I am always impressed with their responsive staff and their constant communication. I feel confident that the money I give to IFI is being put to good use.

Donor

Rating: 5

A well run organization where all the donations go to help international students become acclimated.
IFI hosts several events that connect students to community.

Eric H.4

Donor

Rating: 5

A terrific organization that helps international students integrate themselves into the local culture and make personal connections with students even before they set foot on campus. I couldn't give them a higher recommendation.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

First and foremost, IFI is about people. They a serve a lot of important needs for wanting situations, but all of their programs are designed to serve much more than an immediate physical or academic or practical need. Loving people of all backgrounds is one of the reasons IFI is loved by so many here in Columbus and beyond.

David F.4

Donor

Rating: 5

IFI has a wonderful ministry that I support. They are really good in keeping supporters informed of what they are doing and the progress and victories achieved. It is good to see how God is blessing and using the money donated to enlarge His kingdom.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome group helping extend hospitality to international students.

Annette B.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I and friends have worked with IFI for about 10 years. They are a well organized, thoughtful, fun, all-inclusive nonprofit who cares for the students they help as well as the volunteers who help them. Other cities and college campuses would do well to establish this model for their international students!