Impact Young Lives Foundation

Developing global minds today to solve global problems of tomorrow

About IYL

Although apartheid was officially abolished in South Africa in 1990, many of the country’s citizens still lack access to that nation’s hopes and dreams. They need our help to accelerate change and to ensure greater opportunities for their fellow citizens.

The Impact Young Lives (IYL) Foundation believes South Africa’s prosperity is critical to the preservation of the entire continent and that South Africa’s youth will create this prosperity for the future.

To assist South Africa’s growing civil society of color, the IYL Foundation identifies exceptional South African students who possess the potential to lead their nation and helps them develop their capabilities. We do this by teaching them some of the nuances of globalization and how to build and leverage international networks to improve the livelihood of their country.

What is the mission of IYL?
The mission of the Impact Young Lives Foundation is to identify exceptional young leaders amongst South African university students of color and transform them into globally-minded citizens by providing access to international professional networks and mentors and exposure through travel to a well-established civil society in action.

How does IYL achieve its mission?
The IYL Foundation identifies exceptional South African students who possess the potential to lead their nation. Students chosen as IYL scholars receive awards that tap into their leadership potential, develop their capabilities and transform them into globally-minded citizens.

What awards do IYL scholars get?
The cornerstone of the IYL program is the “Expose, Enlighten & Educate” experience, a two-week trip abroad that engages them with leaders in government, business, science, technology, education and media and with students and citizens of their host country. The trip also takes them to national landmarks and diverse geographies.

Through this travel experience, they are exposed to areas that will inevitably dominate their country’s livelihood during the post-apartheid era:  business, technology, government and education. They also receive access to an international network of mentors, supporters, friends and programs to assist them with their leadership development and career goals.

After participating in the “Expose, Enlighten & Educate” experience, scholars with exemplary grades, active civic leadership and successful internships while they attend university can receive assistance applying for additional internships and study opportunities in the U.S.

Where do IYL scholars travel on the “Expose, Enlighten & Educate” trip?
The “Expose, Enlighten & Educate” trips offered to date have brought South African students to major U.S. cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Who accompanies the students when they are on their trip?
During their trip, our scholars are escorted by a team led by Barbara Howard, the IYL Director of Summer Programs and a native of South Africa who has lived in the U.S. since 1995. Barbara is also the wife of IYL’s founder Dr. Chris Howard.

How do you select IYL scholars?
Each year, IYL accepts nominations for IYL scholars from our three partner organizations in South Africa: Life College, Student Sponsorship Programme and African Leadership Academy. The university students who apply for the program are generally graduates of private or public high schools.

How many scholars take the trip each year?
The number of scholars we take on the annual “Expose, Enlighten & Educate” trip depends on the funding we have, but we typically limit the number of scholars for each trip to eight.

How many scholars has IYL helped?
Nearly 45 scholars have participated in the “Expose, Enlightened & Educate” experience as of 2012.

How can South African students apply to become an IYL scholar?
They can contact one of our three partner organizations in South Africa who assist with the nomination process. These partners are: Life College, Student Sponsorship Programme and African Leadership Academy. Their websites can be found on the IYL How to Apply page.

How did the IYL Foundation get started?
In August 2000, the prestigious Aspen Institute for Exemplary Leadership named Dr. Christopher Howard — a former Rhodes Scholar and now President of Hampden-Sydney College — a Henry Crown Fellow. This program required Howard to devise a community service project. Working on an HIV/AIDS initiative in sub-Saharan Africa for Bristol-Myers Squibb at the time, Howard reflected on the factors that led to his success and contacted eight of his closet friends to begin his project.

Aware of how a good education coupled with exposure to different cultures and a robust professional network influenced their own success, the eight decided that extending these opportunities to students in South Africa would be a worthy undertaking.

Why does the IYL Foundation choose to focus on South African scholars?
Inspired by the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president Nelson Mandela, South Africa shares a spiritual bond with the U.S., most visibly through Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a just and peaceful society. Africa’s wealth, geography, history and influence also mean its prosperity is inextricably tied to South Africa.

In addition, IYL’s founder and board members have an affinity for South Africa. Through their past travel, work, citizenships or residencies there, or through their personal connections, they have first-hand knowledge of the inequalities created and still maintained by apartheid. They have desire to accelerate change in South Africa by ensuring greater opportunities for the nation’s young leaders. They believe positive change in South Africa has far-reaching benefits for the U.S., the African continent and the rest of the world.

How are donations to IYL used?
The IYL Foundation is a 501 (c) not-for-profit organization that relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations for funding. Contributions to IYL are used to pay for travel and accommodation expenses associated with the “Expose, Enlighten & Educate” trip for scholars.

How do I make a donation to IYL?
You can make an on-line donation through the PayPal feature on the IYL website. Alternatively, you can make a check payable to IYL Foundation, and mail it to: THE IYL FOUNDATION, PO Box 443, Norman, OK 73070. Donations can also be made in the form of stocks. You can look at the IYL website or call 800-567-5163 for information about stock donations.

Is my IYL contribution tax deductible?
All donations to IYL are tax deductible. The IYL Foundation is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization.

Who can I contact directly about IYL?
You can contact Barbara Howard, Director of Development and the “Expose, Enlighten & Educate” Program, at or at 405-365-6490. Additional contact information is on the IYL website under “Contact Us.”