Who We Are
IFYC’s mission is audacious--make interfaith cooperation a norm. We live at a time when people of different faith and philosophical backgrounds are interacting with greater frequency than ever before. We have a choice—we can perpetuate the conflicts that unravel our progress, or engage religious diversity in meaningful ways that pull together the colorful strands in our civic tapestry. We choose to engage religious diversity by focusing on three main goals:
Nurturing and networking a critical mass of interfaith leaders, focusing on college students, and building an alumni base committed to a lifetime of interfaith leadership.
Building capacity for sustainable interfaith cooperation on college campuses nationwide and advancing the field of interfaith studies.
Changing the narrative from the inevitability of religious conflict to the possibility of interfaith cooperation by elevating the voices of interfaith leaders.
Since 2002 IFYC has partnered with hundreds of colleges and universities to train interfaith leaders and show how strong relationships can be built among people of different religious and non-religious traditions. This kind of religious pluralism doesn’t fall from the sky. It’s built through passionate, creative, and determined work. The success of our “great experiment in democracy” depends in large part on how well we do that work.
IFYC's founder and President Eboo Patel started the organization in 2002, a time like today when the voices of religious intolerance were shrill and instances of people killing each other to the soundtrack of prayer—all varieties of prayer—were everywhere. Since then IFYC has partnered with heads of state, leading business and higher education institutions, generous foundations and donors, and thousands of young interfaith leaders who share our belief that we can make interfaith cooperation a norm. Learn more about our history, mission, and team here.
What We Do
Our theory of change is that if we collaborate with colleges and universities in the United States to model excellent interfaith cooperation, train young interfaith leaders, and advance the field of interfaith studies, we will have empowered the higher education sector with a unique capacity to advance interfaith cooperation throughout society.
America’s campuses have a history of serving as the vanguard for social movements, from civil rights to environmentalism. Campuses help set civic priorities for the rest of the society, advance a knowledge-base to help the society achieve those priorities, and model what “good” looks like. Furthermore, universities graduate a critical mass of leaders who, after internalizing the new ethic and acquiring the relevant skill set on campus, go on to apply these in their neighborhoods, companies, and organizations. Moreover, campuses have a natural infrastructure (faculty, chaplains, diversity officers, inspired students) to implement interfaith programs, and budgets to pay outside partners like IFYC. Because of these compelling facts, we are confident that transforming the sector of higher education will accelerate our progress toward norming interfaith cooperation.
IFYC has been executing its strategic plan to transform the higher education sector since 2012. We engage stakeholders throughout the campus community including students, staff, faculty, and senior administration through a variety of programs and strategic initiatives. Our primary initiatives are:
Campus engagements enrich colleges and universities aspiring to improve interfaith cooperation on campus. Engagements are tailored to the unique needs of an institution and may include training, development, and research.
Interfaith Leadership Institutes equip student leaders and their allies with knowledge of positive values in diverse traditions, skills to build relationships with others through service, and the resources to spread this ethic on campus.
Better Together is a national student-led campaign through which students mobilize religiously diverse peers to work together for the common good. Student leaders hold campaign events around service, advocacy, and awareness-building, in which diverse participants voice their values, engage with others around shared values, and act together to improve their communities.
IFYC Alumni are making interfaith cooperation a social norm beyond their college campuses. When a student graduates, he or she enters their community ready to continue being an interfaith leader. IFYC's Alumni Program helps empower them to be interfaith leaders throughout life.
The Campus Religious and Spiritual Climate Survey is a powerful research tool that measures how students navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by religious diversity on campus and broader community.
Faculty and academic initiatives connect IFYC and scholars in the emerging field of interfaith studies. In partnership with leading foundations and higher education associations, IFYC is nurturing research, course sequence development, and teaching collaborations among faculty across the country.
The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge is a White House initiative inviting colleges and universities to commit to a year of interfaith and community service on campus. IFYC has collaborated with the White House and other partners on this important initiative since 2010.
Thriving at IFYC
Our team is our most valuable asset, and we’re committed to making IFYC a place where people thrive. Our values reflect this commitment. Some of our most popular perks include:
Accrued paid time off starting at 15 days per year.
5 floating holidays and 7 fixed holidays per year.
Generous medical, dental, and vision insurance.
A team culture that prioritizes collaboration and excellence.
½ day of creative/volunteer leave each month.
Interfaith literacy events and interesting learning opportunities.
A steady supply of cupcakes, cookies, and other treats – sweet tooths do well here.
Random fun from the IFYC “giddy committee.”
Ping pong and Wii for when you need to take a break from making interfaith cooperation a norm.