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About AHF

Empowering Amish women and children through education

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Our Story

Established in 2018, The Amish Heritage Foundation (AHF) is the first organization in 300+ years of history to advocate for Amish people without a religious price tag.

AHF is a secular nonprofit that empowers those inside and outside the Amish Church through education, and helps the public become informed about the facts of Amish culture and religion.

 

Where We Stand

 

AHF is LGBTQ+ affirming and stands in solidarity with the Native/Indigenous peoples and #BlackLivesMatter.

 

The Amish

 
The Amish are an insular, underserved minority population of ~350,000 throughout ~30 states in rural America who speak English as a second language.

The average family has 8-9 children, some households include multiple generations, and the average income is below the federal poverty level. Health insurance and an education beyond Amish 8th grade are forbidden by the religion.

We could not serve this at-risk population without the support of our individual donors, collaborators, advisors, and supporters. THANK YOU!

Our Mission & Approach

The Amish Heritage Foundation is a history-making non-profit committed to 1) empowering Amish women and children through education so they can choose their futures, and 2) raising awareness about the crises hidden in Amish society.

We provide educational programs and services to Amish members; culturally competent training to social workers and law enforcement; and internships to educators, social workers, lawyers, and health professionals.

We envision that one day education will be a federal right for all American and Native/Indigenous children, and Amish children will have the right to learn beyond the 8th grade and the right to learn about science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and the arts.

Our dream is that one day all American children will have the right to learn.

“The Amish Heritage Foundation has provided me with life-changing emotional support, influence and guidance. I don’t feel so alone anymore.”

Amish Female College Student

“When I escaped, I didn’t even know if I had a birth certificate. The Amish Heritage Foundation helped me get documented right away, so I could get a job and be recognized as an American citizen.”

18-year-old Amish Male

“If it weren’t for The Amish Heritage Foundation and their dedicated staff, we would never have been able to stand up to the abuse inside our church. We would have just given up.”

Practicing Amish Wife & Husband

Message from the Founder

Thank you for finding us!

When I was around 13 years old, I told myself that if I made it after my escape, I’d help the ones left behind. The Amish Heritage Foundation is the manifestation of that childhood vow.

It’s a kind of underground railroad, inspired by Harriet Tubman whom I read about when I was 13.

Harriet was my first female role model. What she did for enslaved people inspired me to believe in myself and do whatever it took to set myself free, too. I felt there were many issues that weren’t being addressed in my culture, including the fact that women and girls have no rights no matter what the United States constitution says.

I didn’t have an Amish female role model as a child. That’s because for the entire length of our 300+ years of history, there hasn’t been a single female in a leadership position among my people, neither inside nor outside the Amish institution.

It’s taken me many years to feel that I made it: traveling to 30+ countries, earning my degree––to my knowledge, I’m the first Amish escapee to graduate from an Ivy League school––unraveling my childhood traumas, and learning to love myself (which is a constant work in progress).

Like Harriet, I can’t do the work I envision without your help. Thank you for joining the fight to create a safer world for women and children––and by extension, all beings.

Torah Bontrager

Torah Bontrager

To learn more about me:

Inspired by Harriet Tubman

An Amish Underground Railroad

Empower a child or woman to choose their future through education

The Amish Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (nonprofit NGO) and charitable contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.

Our federal tax identification number is 82-4591861.