World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Global Minds Initiative to Merge, Increasing Access to Global Education Opportunities for Young People

Pittsburgh, PA – World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Global Minds Initiative announce they are merging, effective immediately. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both organization’s Board of Directors, Global Minds will become one of the Council’s leading youth education programs. The two nonprofits began exploratory discussions February 2020. By summer, an integration strategy was established as part of the due-diligence process. With staffing and an operational structure in place, the Council will ensure fidelity to the Global Minds for-youth by-youth model and sees the merger as a landmark step in its 90 year history and commitment to youth education and global engagement.

“In the midst of a global pandemic and all that we are being confronted with as a society, this year we are also celebrating 90 years since our founding. Merging with Global Minds is a historic moment for us,” said President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Betty Cruz. She continued, “What a beautiful way to signal that we believe that global education and engagement has the power to transform lives across generations.” The Council is also set to release its three-year strategic plan later this month, which prioritizes youth voice and increasing participation of underrepresented communities across all programs.

Founded in 2016, by then 15-year-old Peyton Klein, Global Minds is dedicated to fostering intercultural friendships and dialogue in schools globally. The organization has grown from a singular club at Pittsburgh’s Taylor Allderdice High School to a network of 25 youth-led afterschool programs and over 3,600 students, leading a movement of welcoming, inclusion, and kindness in classrooms across North America. 

In addition to its flagship in-school program, Global Minds hosts conferences, trains students and adult allies, and operates a Youth Fellowship program putting Pittsburgh youth at the forefront of its nonprofit operations. Throughout its rapid growth, Global Minds has been recognized by American Eagle Outfitters, Facebook, and National Geographic, for creating a trusted space where young people of all backgrounds can serve as leaders in their own communities.

“Knowing the direction that the Council is heading in, I could not be more excited about this merger. It has always been important to me that our youth-led organization would find a home that would allow for high school students to drive our mission forward with a sturdy foundation that ensures the continuity of our work. Our joining of forces solidifies that the work of Global Minds will continue to grow into the future, and presents countless opportunities to leverage the legacy and platform of the Council to deepen our impact,” said Global Minds Founder, Peyton Klein. 

Klein will join the Council Board of Directors where she will also serve on the Executive Committee. Joining her are former Global Minds Board Members Jenna Baron, executive director of ARYSE and Jasmine Huff, attorney with Dentons Cohen & Grigsby. Earlier this month, the Council announced the creation of its first-ever Youth Board, made up of nine high school students who will serve as thought partners to the Council’s Board of Directors and staff.

Chairman of the Board for World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Stephen Lackey, has global financial experience. “Mergers transpire for a number of reasons but, from day one, it was clear that for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Global Minds it was about mission alignment,” said Lackey. Adding, “Once we knew we had shared values around youth education and the importance of being globally-minded, we were able to begin imagining the impact we could have by embracing Global Minds as a leading program of the Council.”