- Our Mission
UNITE. SERVE. GROW.
The Amala Foundation unites people from all walks of life and inspires them to grow as individuals and AS leaders in service to humanity.
“Amala” means many things in many languages. In Hindi, it means “pure”; in Arabic, “hope”; and in Hebrew, “work”. Amala offers safe, supportive and inspiring experiences where people from all backgrounds come together to learn and grow. From retreats to day camps to leadership training, Amala’s programs promote healing, communication, compassion and an ethos of service.
Most of Amala’s programs are focused on young people, including refugee and immigrant youth. Our participants come from many countries, ethnicities, religions, races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. Some have grown up in refugee camps and are struggling to adjust to life in a new country, while others have been raised in middle and upper class families. Many have experienced war, abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, child labor, and gang violence. Yet no matter where we’re from or what hardships we’ve faced, we ultimately want the same things: love, acceptance, human connection and peace. Amala offers these young people a place to share their stories, build lasting friendships, and develop the skills to rise up as leaders in their communities.
Founded in 2001, Amala has grown to offer programs in 5 countries and 4 states, serving over 3,000 youth from 50 countries and creating meaningful volunteer opportunities for over 2,500 people.
Our programs are open to all youth, regardless of their ability to pay. We rely on the generous support of our community to ensure that no one is turned away who wishes to attend. About 80% of our participants receive some type of scholarship.
- Vanessa Stone
Vanessa Stone is a humanitarian leader, educator, artist, healer, and author who shares her message of unity and service with individuals and communities to inspire the cultivation of sustainable peace both inside and beyond ourselves.
In 1998, Vanessa started a school for consciousness and healing in Austin, Texas. A group assignment to serve local children soon became a thriving children’s camp. Camp Indigo has since grown to serve hundreds of youth in a heart-centered community. Recognizing that humanitarian service is a vital component of personal and collective health, Vanessa founded the Amala Foundation in 2001 to unify communities in service and inspire youth to lead with a heart-centered, global perspective.
For over 15 years, Vanessa has dedicated her flourishing teaching and healing practice to deepening our relationship to the life essence that animates us all. Vanessa shares her message with the global community through public teaching, apprenticeship programs, residential immersions, retreats, international humanitarian service, art and writing. Her teachings are non-dogmatic, practical, and potent. She offers guidance, compassionate listening, and unwavering devotion to encourage individuals and communities to wake to a deeper, more purposeful life.
To learn more, visit www.VanessaStone.org
- Heart of the Work
Give What You Want the Most
Amala welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds, asking only that you show up with an open heart and a willingness to serve others.
In our work at the Amala Foundation, we give what we want the most: love, acceptance, human connection, and peace. We practice humanitarian service free of expectation and attachment. We live with undefended hearts, knowing that true transformation begins with vulnerability. We give from a place of gratitude for all that we have been given in this life.
Every service opportunity invites us to rediscover and remember our true nature, to explore the condition of our hearts, and to meet the clear reflection of ourselves in the eyes of the youth we serve. Our programs unite people seeking more meaningful lives with others seeking safety, healing, and connection. Together, we create an extraordinary healing environment: intentional, focused, and transformational.
We ask that our volunteers show up fully, as you are, with a willingness to give, to grow, and to be transformed. Join us and impact the world from within.
Q: WHAT DOES “AMALA” MEAN?
A: Over the years, we have learned Amala means many things in many languages. For instance, in Hindi it means “pure”; in Arabic it means “hope” and in Hebrew it means “work.”
Q: WHAT IS THE AMALA FOUNDATION?
A: Good question and sometimes a hard one to answer. We are a humanitarian service organization which unites people from all walks of life and inspires them to grow as individuals and as leaders in service to humanity. The majority of our programs are focused on youth including refugee and immigrant youth. Many of these individuals have experienced the worst of humanity: war, abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, child labor, and gang violence.
Founded in 2001, the Amala Foundation has served over 2300 youth with programs in 5 countries and 4 states. Over the last 13 years, the Amala Foundation has created volunteer opportunities for 2500+ volunteers. The Amala Foundation is headquartered in Austin, Texas. But even that brief description doesn’t seem to fully convey the extent of our work in the world. We recently sat down with a handful of youth and volunteers who have participated in our programs over the years. Here is what they had to say, when asked, “What is the Amala Foundation?” – https://vimeo.com/80283214.
Q: DOES THE AMALA FOUNDATION SERVE YOUTH OR ADULTS?
A: Both. The Amala Foundation was originally created when a group of adults were regularly meeting to discuss the questions we all ask… “Why are we here?”, “What’s the purpose of this life?”, “How can I live a more meaningful life?”, etc. The group decided to see what would happen if they created a service project where children were served but the primary intention was not to “change a child”, or make them better but rather to engage in service with a willingness to be impacted by the service, with no attachment to what the service looked like or the outcome of the service.
Q: WHERE IS THE AMALA FOUNDATION LOCATED?
A: The Amala Foundation is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Although most of our youth programs take place in Austin, we have programs in 5 countries and four states.
Q: HOW MANY FULL TIME EMPLOYEES DOES AMALA HAVE?
A: The Amala Foundation currently has 2 full time employees; an Operations Manager and an Executive Director. In addition to its two full time employees, each project has a Director as well as a Volunteer Coordinator. Larger projects such as the Global Youth Peace Summit also have Youth Directors who facilitate the participation of youth.
Q: IS THE AMALA FOUNDATION AFFILIATED WITH A PARTICULAR RELIGION?
A: No, the Amala Foundation is not affiliated with a particular religion. We unite youth and adults from many different religions and perspectives, with the hope that we will see each other not through the lens of a particular belief system, but as human beings who want the same things: connection, acceptance, and love.
Q: WHAT IS THE AMALA FOUNDATION’S BUDGET?
A: The Amala Foundation’s budget for 2014 is $415,000.
Q: WHERE DOES MOST OF AMALA’S FUNDING COME FROM?
A: Most of our funding comes from individual donors in the range of $25-$500 per donation. In 2013, we were fortunate enough to be awarded five grants for various programs from the following organizations: Glimmer of Hope ($20,000), Burdine Johnson Family Foundation ($10,000), Shanti Foundation ($8,000), North Face Explore Fund ($2,500) and Freitas Foundation ($1,500).
Q: HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
A: There are many ways to get involved. First and foremost, we see ourselves as a home for humanitarian service. We ask all of our volunteers to show up with a willingness to be impacted through their service. We have found that this creates a leveling where it is not one serving another, but everyone being served by the experience. This leads to deeper, more meaningful connections and a greater impact for everyone involved. If you are new to Amala, please fill out our general volunteer form here. If you would like to support our programs financially, we gratefully welcome any donations. You can make a one-time contribution or become a monthly donor here.
Q: HOW DID THE AMALA FOUNDATION ACQUIRE ITS COMMUNITY CENTER?
A: Approximately 8 years ago, a couple who is still very involved in our programs generously gifted the community center to us.
Q: WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AMALA FOUNDATION AND SANCTUARY YOGA?
A: The Amala Foundation created Sanctuary Yoga as a non-profit yoga studio in January 2013. The intention was two-fold: 1. To help fund our youth programs and 2. To grow and support our community.
Q: IS THE AMALA FOUNDATION A 501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT?
A: Yes, the Amala Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations to the Amala Foundation are tax-deductible.
Q: DOES AMALA FOUNDATION JUST SERVE REFUGEE AND IMMIGRANT YOUTH?
A: No, the Amala Foundation serves youth from all walks of life including refugee and immigrant youth. We serve youth from different cultures, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds and religions. All youth are welcome to participate in our programs.
Q: WHEN WAS THE AMALA FOUNDATION FOUNDED?
A: The Amala Foundation was created in 2001 to support the first year of Camp Indigo. We received our tax exempt status in 2004. For a brief history of the Amala Foundation click here.
Q: DOES AMALA FOUNDATION FUND OTHER NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS?
A: The Amala Foundation is not a funding organization although we have helped to financially support the Bhatti Mines School in India since 2007.
Q: HOW DOES AMALA CONNECT WITH THE YOUTH WHO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAMS?
A: The Amala Foundation has cultivated a network of relationships with agencies, organizations and schools here in Austin and across the world. Partner organizations include Urban Roots, Refugee Services of Texas, International Rescue Committee, the International High School (in Austin), Breakthrough Austin, Out Youth, Mosaic Project, Rebekkah’s Children, Multicultural Refugee Coalition, iAct, Caritas, Center for Survivors of Torture and Refugee Transitions. Typically, one of these organizations contacts us when they begin a relationship with a youth or family that they think could benefit from our programs.
Please email us at email@example.com or call 512.476.8884.