We are delighted to announce a new partnership that will help even more children rise above poverty. The International Student Exchange (ISE) has chosen Children Incorporated to be one of two partners selected for its new “Giving Back” initiative, which includes a six-figure contribution to support our domestic programs.
It’s a good match. After all, we both bring strangers together to build bridges between social, economic, and geographic divides. Just imagine what we could do together.
“I am so impressed with ISE,” Children Incorporated CEO Ron Carter said. “The organization does incredible work all around the globe, and I look forward to the projects we will undertake together in the coming year.”
As a language teacher, I was always thinking of ways to bring people of the world together.
Ron Carter recently visited ISE at their office in Long Island, New York. Here’s what ISE’s CEO Wayne Brewer had to say about the partnership:
RC: For those unfamiliar with ISE, how would you describe the program? How does it work?
WB: ISE is a not-for-profit organization that has been in existence for 35 years now. Our mission is “educating tomorrow’s leaders”. ISE brings in 2,800 students from over 45 different countries each year to spend a year in a public high school living with a volunteer host family. ISE works with international partners throughout the world who find and screen the students before sending us the 25-page profile of the student.
RC: How long have you been the CEO at ISE? Why did you join the organization?
WB: I have been the CEO of ISE for the past twenty years. I was a teacher and public school administrator before I became highly interested and started to work in the student exchange industry. I decided to go full-time in this wonderful work in 1988. I worked for another exchange organization as Vice President and CEO before taking on the challenges of ISE as CEO in 1997. As a language teacher, I was always thinking of ways to bring people of the world together. I found the vehicle of student exchange to be the perfect way to demonstrate to foreign students the kindness and caring nature of the American people. I always tell people that ISE and its fellow organizations do more good than any government in bringing people of our world together. It is rewarding work!
RC: We are so grateful to be a part of your Give Back initiative. Why did ISE choose Children Incorporated as a partner?
It is so evident in today’s world that we need to promote inclusion and understanding in our relations with the world population and leaders.
WB: ISE has always wanted to “give back”. ISE certainly achieves its goals, but it usually deals with children who have the means to be part of an international program. It is so obvious that there are many children out there who have basic needs simply to survive. Knowing that ISE can help with this is just another reason to maintain the success of its program. We chose Children Incorporated due to its mission and costs. We were very careful in choosing an organization that was extremely careful and attentive to the percentage of each dollar going to the children. Your organization had one of the highest percentages in this regard.
RC: This is a new charity initiative. Can you tell us more about why ISE started a fund for non-profits like ours?
WB: As a non-profit, we are limited as to the projects and purchases in which ISE can be involved. After we finalized our new building, the Board and I discussed what else we could do to help children in need in addition to our overseas programs. It did not take long for our Board to realize the great needs that are out there and how we could help. I believe that it adds another dimension to our organization and our mission.
RC: We both bring strangers together to make the world a better place. Why do you think these relationships are so valuable? Can you share an example of an exchange that made a lasting impact on a person or community?
It may be a lofty goal, but it is one that can be realized if we all pitch in together.
WB: It is so evident in today’s world that we need to promote inclusion and understanding in our relations with the world population and leaders. Our program specifically tackles that objective so that our students return to their native countries with a positive and warm feeling about our country and people. To many, this should be the cornerstone of our foreign policy. I always tell people that we see this in action every year. When we take our incentive trip to a different country, our representatives are met with students and families from the past. Our representatives are invited to the communities and homes of their former students. What better way to promote world understanding? Many of our students now have high positions in governments around the world, so they are in a position to promote our goals and missions. As a personal note, two former exchange students who lived with my family are now members of our Board of Directors. They bring a great deal to our Board in terms of understanding and promoting the work that we do.
RC: What is the overall goal of this initiative? What do you hope to achieve, and how will you measure success?
WB: Our Board has asked me as well, “How do we measure ‘success’?” My answer is simple: We will send people out to see first-hand what our donation is doing to help your organization. I will be asking them to bring back to our Board the specifics of how we are helping. I am sure that this is going to be a long list. I see this donation as a second part of our mission to “educate tomorrow’s leaders”. Basic needs must come first before the benefits of education can be realized.
RC: Do you have a vision for what you want the world to look like? How does our partnership help move the world toward that ideal?
WB: The people of the world must first understand each other, the world’s needs, and the world’s concerns. We must always keep a clear vision as to how we can help people so that their dreams and goals can be realized – a world in which all people can live together, understand each other, and care for all members of society. It may be a lofty goal, but it is one that can be realized if we all pitch in together.