Staff. Board of Directors.

Who We Are

Torah Bontrager was born and raised traditional Amish and literally escaped in the middle of the night at age 15 without telling anyone goodbye. She left with only what she could carry: the clothes on her back and $170 in her pocket. Her departure was permanent. She didn’t know if she’d ever see her siblings, relatives, or community members again.

To her knowledge, she’s the first—and so far, only—Amish escapee to graduate from an Ivy League school. She earned a BA in Philosophy from Columbia University in New York City.

Torah is also the author of Amish Girl in Manhattan (a memoir), and her story and work have been featured on NPR, Tim Ferriss’ blog,, MTV, and HuffPost, among other outlets.

Torah Bontrager

Founder, Executive Director

Laura Miller

Educational Programs Director

Brian Young is the editor for AHF’s Real Amish podcast. He also appears on Real Amish Season 1 where he talks about Navajo sovereignty and educational issues, including how Natives are exploited in film/TV and how Natives suffer the highest rates of suicide and domestic and sexual violence––more than any other group on this continent. Check out “Navajo Sovereignty, Education, and Sexual Assault Against Indigenous Women” Season 1, Episode 10.

Brian is Navajo, semi-fluent in Navajo, and an enrolled member of his nation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in Film Studies and produced the first-ever fitness channel spoken entirely in a Native language (Yeego Nitl’aa’). He’s a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Writing Program, where his thesis was The Whimpering Water Monster (a Middle Grade, #OwnVoice, Native American, Urban Fantasy novel).

Brian has written an article, “Why I Won’t Wear War Paint and Feathers in a Movie Again,” published on Time Magazine’s website and co-directed a short documentary, A Conversation with Native Americans on Race, for the New York Times.

Brian Young

Writer, Film Editor

Sue Jones

Financial Director

Board of Directors

Elise Trucks
Alissa Rodriguez
Elle Walker

"My dream is that one day all American children — and adults — will have the federal constitutional right to learn."

Torah Bontrager, Founder
The Amish Heritage Foundation

What People We Help Say

Your generous donations help us help more women and children.

"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