Each year, individuals and institutions who deserve special recognition for their service in support of YFU’s mission are selected to receive an award. 2023 Award Nominations will be accepted through August 31st, 2023.

*YFU staff members and active members of the Board of Trustees are not eligible for awards

Distinguished Alumni

Award is given to a YFU alum who has made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and careers have honored the legacy and mission of YFU.

2023 Awardee: Scott Huch, Falls Church, VA

Past Recipients: Spencer Hsu (2019), Flynn Coleman (2018), Andrew Towne (2017), Jeanne Pierce and Laurie Sutch (2016)


Distinguished Volunteer Award

Award is given to a volunteer who has demonstrated commitment to the field of intercultural education and exchange, and whose selfless and dedicated service to YFU has made a significant difference in the lives of many host families and exchange students, and to YFU as an organization.

2023 Awardee: Todd Marks, Plainview, NY

Past Recipients: Kaitlyn Berreth and Stella Heimbigner (2019), Gordon Snow (2018), Karen Covert-Jones (2017), Donna Schnaars (2016)


Distinguished Host Family

Award is given to a host family that has demonstrated commitment to the field of intercultural education and exchange, and that has opened their hearts and homes to many YFU students over the course of many years.

2023 Awardee: Jim and Cheri Maitland, Rives Junction, MI

Past Recipients: Richard Joseph and Mary Beth Seefelt (2019), Ted Rothstein (2018), James and Linda Wiseman (2017), Lynnell and John Pemble, Jim and Joanne Miller, Sharon and Don Strasser (2016)


Distinguished Donor

Award is given to an individual or family that has demonstrated strong financial support of YFU programs, helping to advance and foster cultural understanding and international friendships.

2023 Awardee: Sharon Holcomb, Canton, MI

Past Recipients: Ray Conner (2019), Kristan McMahon (2018), Larry and Katherine Eldridge (2017), Brian Bucks (2016)


Distinguished High School

Award is given to a High School that embraces the value of study abroad among its students and staff by regularly opening its doors and welcoming international exchange students.

2023 Awardee: Bay City Central High School, Bay City, MI

Past Recipients: Pioneer HIgh School, Ann Arbor, MI (2019), Corry Area High School, Corry, PA (2018), School Without Walls, Washington, DC (2017), Marcellus High School, Marcellus, MI, and Ross Beatty High School, Cassopolis, MI (2016)


Partnership Award

Award is given to an organization or corporation that has demonstrated a longstanding partnership with YFU and a strong commitment to provide young people with global intercultural exchange experiences.

2023 Awardee: Mazda Canada, Ontario, CAN

Past Recipients: Skylink Travel House, Frankfurt, Germany (2019), Farmington Public Schools, Farmington, MI (2018), C. R. Bard (2017), Kikkoman Corporation and Sony Corporation of America (2016)


Lifetime Achievement Award

Award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of intercultural education and youth exchange over a sustained period of time.

2019 Awardee: Sarah Mangelsdorf, president of University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Past Recipients: Sylvia M. Burwell (2018), Jana Martin Kemp (2017), Ron Lehker (2016)


Education Innovation Award

Award is given to an educator who has made significant contributions to the field of education through their service and commitment to the value and importance of cultural exchange and experience of students.

2019 Awardee: Jina Kugler, counselor, Wamego Public Schools, Wamego, KS

Past Recipients: Jason Schrock, Principal at Howell High School (2018), Sally Schwartz, Founder and Executive Director of Globalize DC (2017)