American Youth Hostels, Inc.
739 4th Avenue
San Diego CA 92101
Contact Information
Address 739 4th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone (619) 338-9981
Fax 240 650-2100
Web and Social Media
A meal is a great way to get to break down barriers to understanding
At A Glance
Former Names
American Youth Hostels, San Diego Council
Year of Incorporation 1949
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $1,585,881.00
Projected Expenses $1,730,949.00
Projected Annual Revenue $1,585,881.00 (2014)

Our primary program, hostels provide an in-depth cultural experience for travelers, by offering low-cost, safe and comfortable overnight accommodations. The hostel experience is unique because of the opportunity for cross-cultural exchange. Common areas and activities, such as community dinners and tours, are designed to foster interaction among travelers. Events are held that bring the community into the hostel to intermingle with guests and become a part of the hostelling experience. HI-USA runs two hostels in San Diego. HI-San Diego, Downtown, a 153-bed hostel in the Gaslamp Quarter and HI-San Diego, Point Loma, a 55-bed hostel. In FY13, the two hostels hosted 20,500 guests from 80 different countries.

Budget 1574663
Category Human Services, General/Other Personal Enrichment
Population Served US& International, Adults, General/Unspecified
Short Term Success
By the end of March 2015 the two hostels hopes to achieve:
  1. Serve 21,600 guests at both facilities, with 60% being from our target market of  travelers 18-30 years old.
  2. Provide weekly and monthly cultural programming that introduces the San Diego community to the hostel guests - with a goal of including 1,000 community members in the programming.
  3. Facilitate high quality hostelling experiences through clean, safe accommodations and excellent customer service, and maintain a customer satisfaction rating 95% or better.
Long term Success

Hostelling will foster a dynamic, enduring community of travelers with the wisdom, humanity and leadership skills to improve our communities, our country and our world.

Program Success Monitored By
Success will be measured through:
  1. Overnight reports
  2. Demographic surveys
  3. Programming reports
  4. Customer satisfaction surveys
  5. Annual quality evaluations
Examples of Program Success
Hostel success examples:
  1. Hostels see an increase repeat visits from guests from all over the world.
  2. Hostels see an increase in participation from San Diego community members at hostel events.

Young adults (ages 18-35) gather in San Diego annually for the HI-USA San Diego Peace Building Conference. The event brings together a diverse community of young adults who share a passion for creating positive change. Through interactive conversations and workshops, participants discover their personal strengths, develop leadership skills, inspire other, and create an actions plan for the future. This year, HI-San Diego will hold the Peace Conference in conjunction with Sleep for Peace on September 21, 2014.

Budget 5000
Category Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other Intergroup Relations
Population Served Adults, US& International,
Short Term Success The desired short-term success will be measured by the conference pre-and post evaluation where 80% of the attendees will have met someone new, and have committed to one positive act in their community. 
Long term Success  Young adults, ages 18-30 years old, exposed to hostelling experiences and activities with HI-USA will develop intercultural understanding and become active world citizens.  The desired outcome is the 50 community member becomes aware of the themes of the conference and will be motivated to make things better in his/her own community.
Program Success Monitored By Pre- and post evaluation.  6-month check in with attendees.  Return attendees at future conferences.
Examples of Program Success  A young woman attended a Peace Conference and wrote: "Coming to this peace conference has been both inspiring and affirming to know there are like-minded people who are working towards similar goals and causes. It is rejuvenating to have the support needed to go further and I encourage everyone to look into both themselves and their communities to work towards a more unified world of peace."  She graduated with a double major in conflict resolution and public health and has continued to do good works in a hospital in PA.
Description  HI- San Diego offers programs year round for youth and adults to teach them about travel and inspire more to go hostelling including: World Travel 101, geared towards college-age and adult travelers; World Travel 101 for Girl Scouts, Travel USA geared towards high school and college students as well as adults; Women Traveling Solo, for women of all ages who are planning to travel by themselves for the first time. Seminars are held at our hostels and other venues, such as UCSD, SDSU, REI, Adventure 16, community centers, San Diego Public Libraries and more.
Budget 2500
Category Education, General/Other Extracurricular Arts & Culture
Population Served Adults, Adolescents Only (13-19 years), US& International
Short Term Success Attendees learn how to travel safely, respectfully,  with culturally sensitivity, and on a budget
Long term Success

Hostellers have intercultural understanding and are active world citizens

  • Hostellers are travelers and local community members involved in hostelling. 
  • Hostelling is educational travel, local and global, using hostels and/or programs to facilitate interaction among travelers, and with local communities. 
  • Travelers are people of any age who visit communities and places beyond the community where they live.
  • Travelers and community members, in order to appreciate what is unique and common in the world, come from and travel to places that represent: 
  •       The diverse natural and built environments of the country 
  •       The diversity of the country including rural, small town, mid-size       cities, large metropolitan/urban areas, and 
  •       Places of unique cultural heritage
Program Success Monitored By Post workshop evaluations.
Examples of Program Success

Girl Scouts of San Diego consider HI-San Diego a partner and require that all troops wanting to travel outside the County of San Diego with Girl Scout insurance must partake in our travel education program.  The program is well received as evidenced by the following comments:

"Just wanted to say thank you so much for the wonderful class yesterday.  You really got the girls engaged and they listened to every word.  You gave a lot of really great info and I think they will be more than ready for our SF trip."


Mission Statement To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling.
Background Statement

Hostelling International USA (registered as American Youth Hostels, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization that has been serving young travelers for 80 years. Hostelling International USA (HI-USA) currently operates a network 53 quality hostel facilities across the United States offering a unique and local stay experience. In addition to being a great place to stay, HI-USA offers a wide range of fun activities, events and educational programs that enrich the travel experience and create opportunities for greater intercultural awareness and understanding. HI-USA is part of the larger International Youth Hostel Federation, a worldwide network of 4,000 hostels, operated by non-profit, member-based organizations in 90 countries representing 38 million overnights a year.

Hostelling International in San Diego (HI-San Diego) was founded in 1938. HI-San Diego operates two hostels in Point Loma and Downtown and offers programs for the local and traveling communities that encourage local and global community interaction, and celebrate our mission to help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling.

HI-San Diego merged with HI-USA in June 2013 and, as part of the unified organization, focuses on: Better hostels - to expand and improve HI-USA hostels to engage more people in our unique traveling experience; Better communities - to enhance programming to support our communities - in person, and online; and A better world - to help us build intercultural understanding, especially among young people.
Impact Statement

Over the last three years, Hostelling International USA (HI-USA) has been in the process of unifying the organization from 27 separate entities from around the country into one stronger organization with the resources and expertise to better fulfill the mission. That unification was completed in March 2014.

As part of the unification process, HI-USA created Vision 2020 that depicts a future in which HI-USA will lead a hostelling movement that has a profound impact on society: Hostelling will foster a dynamic, enduring community of travelers with the wisdom, humanity and leadership skills to improve our communities, our country and our world. HI-USA has a crucial role to play in this important.

Through programming in three areas – Hostels, Education and Engagement, HI-USA envisions becoming: 1. A leading hostel provider in the world. 2. A valued source of experiential learning. 3. A widely recognized champion for intercultural understanding. 4. A vibrant presence in communities across the United States. 5. An effective advocate for youth travel.

In Fiscal Year 2013 – Hostelling International in San Diego (HI-San Diego) accomplished the following towards Vision 2020:

  • Completed unification June 2013
  • Served 20,500 visitors to San Diego at the two hostels
  • Provided travel education programs to youth and adults throughout the San Diego community.
  • Hosted 60 young adults at the San Diego Peace Conference April 2013.

Hi-San Diego hopes to accomplish the following in Fiscal Year 2014:


  • Provide clean, safe and affordable overnight accommodations to 22,000 visitors from around the world.
  • Organize the 8th Annual Peace Building Conference in September 2014
  • Create events at the two hostels that bring community members and guests together.
  • Continue to provide travel education programs at more colleges and universities.


Needs Statement

Our top 5 most pressing needs include:

  1. Peace Building Conference Sponsorship - $5,000
  2. Remodel Downtown Hostel Lobby - $20,000
  3. Install an energy efficient water heater at the Point Loma Hostel. $10,000
  4. Repair exterior building at Point Loma Hostel $20,000
  5. Table-top displays for Community Outreach events - $5,000
Service Categories
Public & Societal Benefit NEC
Youth Development NEC
Cultural & Ethnic Awareness
Areas of Service
Areas Served
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Nationally - United States
Regionally - Southern California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah
Locally - San Diego County
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 8
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Oct 2012
Management Succession Plan? Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Is your organization a member of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)? No
Affiliate/Chapter of National Organization (i.e. Girl Scouts of the USA, American Red Cross, etc.) - Affiliate/chapter1972
Best Overall Hostel CountryInternational Youth Hostel Federation2013
Ambassador for Peace AwardInternational Institute for Peace through Tourism2013
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government?
Board Chair
Board Chair Glenn Azuma
Company Affiliation Real Estate/Law
Term Apr 2014 to Mar 2015
Board Members
Nicholas Andrade Busines development/managementVoting
Glenn Azuma Real Estate/LawVoting
Tom Courtney Nonprofit financial managementVoting
Lisa Gurwitch World LearningVoting
Erin Hamant EnvironmentVoting
Charles Hokanson Nonprofit Education SpecialistVoting
Bernard Hunt Retired JournalistVoting
Joanna Johnson Travel Writer/AthleteVoting
Walt Knoepfel Audit/CPAVoting
Jonathon Kurshan TechnologyVoting
Roseanne Landay Business Strategy/planningVoting
Marcella McCoy-Dey University ProfessorVoting
Nandita Murthy LawVoting
Jenny Oliphant University Research AssociateVoting
Dean Papademetriou LawVoting
Francis Pickford Accounting/CPAVoting
Ahmed Soliman Business Consultant&Arabic Language InstructorVoting
Peggy Stevens Nonprofit ManagementVoting
Nicole Weber Managment ConsultantVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 2
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 0 1 - MidEastern
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Under Development
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Russ Hedge
Term Start Oct 2000
Compensation 259,697

Russell Hedge is the Chief Executive Officer of Hostelling International USA (HI-USA), the national nonprofit organization that operates hostels and related cross-cultural programs across the United States. HI-USA is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, outside of Washington DC, and is the USA affiliate of the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) based in London, England.

Hedge has served in his present position since 2000. He advanced through the ranks of HI-USA where he began 15 years earlier as a volunteer who helped to develop the hostel currently serving Washington DC, and subsequently served as Executive Director of the Washington DC area chapter. Prior to becoming CEO also served the national organization as Chief Operating Officer of HI-USA. His early career focused on economics and finance at the US Economic Development Administration and US International Trade Administration, with stints at the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Senate Budget Committee.

Hedge’s interest in the hostel stay experience emerged during an educational leave of absence from a government position to study at Oxford University, when he observed the quality of cross-cultural interactions at hostels and the influence of travel as experiential education.

The HI-USA hostel network is consistently recognized as one of the best in world through customer surveys by IYHF and independent rating agencies. Hedge has been a featured speaker at national and international conferences on topics ranging from experiential education to nonprofit management.

A native of Wisconsin, Hedge received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his Masters degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.


Co-CEO Ms. Sue Schaffner
Term Start Oct 2002

Sue Schaffner - Vice President of the Southwest Region, including San Diego,  has over 25 years experience working for non-profit organizations, with the last 19 years in management positions.

In May 2013, Sue was promoted to the position of Vice President of the Southwest Region, a position that covers Southern California, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.  Within her scope of work is overseeing a $5 million budget, five hostels and 65 staff members.

Prior to joining Hostelling International, she was Managing Director for North Coast Repertory Theatre. Sue has an extensive background in administration for both theatre and social service agencies including San Diego Opera and Labor’s Community Service Agency.

Sue has her BA in Theatre Arts from UCLA and her MBA from San Diego State University. She is a Mentor for other non-profit Executive Directors through a Fieldstone Foundation program. 

Most recently Sue has served on the Strategy Development and 2Implementation Committees, which has developed the strategy and implementation plan for the unified organization.

Senior Staff
Title General Manager, HI-San Diego, Downtown

Dave studied at the University of Connecticut and earned a degree in English Literature in 2004. In the mood for a change of pace, he moved to San Diego after driving cross country. Since moving here he has worked in supervisory/managerial roles at two other non/not-for-profits (Habitat for Humanity and the UCSD Bookstore). In 2008 he joined HI-San Diego as the Assistant General Manager of the Downtown hostel, and has since worked his way to becoming the General Manager. In his spare time, Dave enjoys brewing beer and playing pool.

Title Manager, HI-San Diego, Point Loma

Born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon Jenny moved to San Diego in 2002 after working as a Care Giver in a retirement facility in Corvallis. She started working for HI-San Diego, Downtown at the front desk and was promoted to Lead Front Desk in 2004. In 2005, she was transferred to HI-San Diego, Point Loma as the Assistant Manager and she assumed the role of General Manager of HI-San Diego, Point Loma in May 2006. In 2007 she received the National award “Staff of the Year”.


Teresa is a native San Diegan. She was a tourism and special events professor for 13 years before joining HI-USA in July 2013. Teresa earned a BA and MS in Recreation and Tourism and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. Teresa’s first hostelling experience was in Germany when she was traveling as a cast member with Up With People. Teresa enjoys educating people about the benefits of hostelling and showing off the clean and comfortable HI-USA hostels in San Diego.

Full Time Staff 12
Part Time Staff 18
Volunteers 165
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 92%
CEO Comments
Sue Schaffner is the Vice President of the Southwest region, responsible for all programming (Hostels, Education, Engagement) in the region that includes San Diego.  She is based in San Diego.
The numbers used for this section are from the San Diego operations only. 
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Apr 01 2013
Fiscal Year End Mar 31 2014
Projected Revenue $1,585,881.00
Projected Expenses $1,730,949.00
IRS Letter of Exemption
IRS Letter of Determination of Tax Exempt Status
Determination Letter
Detail Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$65,006
Individual Contributions$4,310$5,585$8,143
Investment Income, Net of Losses$9,313$10,152$8,247
Membership Dues$94,038$99,131$93,882
Special Events$0$64,756$67,503
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$2,323,306$1,525,389$1,502,703
Administration Expense$103,152$96,555$82,172
Fundraising Expense$21,843$25,508$25,975
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.690.990.95
Program Expense/Total Expenses95%93%93%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue30%19%18%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$1,787,686$1,868,502$1,866,839
Current Assets$177,280$712,637$804,156
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$837,166$147,231$124,649
Total Net Assets$1,014,379$1,721,271$1,682,876
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.214.846.45
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Registration Yes Aug 2014
Organization Comments

Through June 2013, American Youth Hostels, Inc. San Diego Council (San Diego Council) operated under a charter granted by the American Youth Hostels, Inc, (AYH) and maintained a separate accounting system. The 990s for the San Diego Council include Fiscal Year End March 2013 and a stub year audit from April-June 2013. n June 30, 2013, the San Diego Council transferred all assets to AYH and there is no significant financial transactions after June 30, 2013.

The American Youth Hostels – Hostelling International, The Metropolitan San Diego LLC. (MET) was formed in 1997 as a joint 501(c)3 nonprofit Limited Liability Corporation with the San Diego Council and AYH. With the dissolution of the San Diego Council, the LLC has become a single entity LLC and will continue as a nonprofit filing a separate 990.

The Audited Financial Statements represent a consolidated statement for the San Diego Council and the LLC.

AYH Audited Financial Statements and 990 are through the Fiscal Year End March 2013 and does not include the San Diego Council nor the LLC.

Foundation Comments
Financial analysis is based on consolidated audited financial statements. 
Nonprofit American Youth Hostels, Inc.
Address 739 4th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Primary Phone 619 338-9981
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Russ Hedge
Board Chair Glenn Azuma
Board Chair Company Affiliation Real Estate/Law
Year of Incorporation 1949
Former Names
American Youth Hostels, San Diego Council


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