International Friendships, Inc.


International Friendships, Inc (IFI) is a community organization that works in partnership with universities and Christian volunteers to promote friendship and hospitality for international students, scholars and family members. IFI also partners with internationals through on-campus student organizations.

International Friendships' activities are open to students from all cultural and religious backgrounds. This organization is a nonprofit. Contributions to it are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

To contact the ministry call Don Hayes (Chief Financial Officer) at (614) 294-2434 ext. 209, or email him at

Contact information

Mailing address:
1520 Old Henderson Rd
Ste 200
Columbus, OH 43220


Phone: (614) 294-2434


Organization details

EIN: 310971249

CEO/President: Richard Mendola

Chairman: Rodney Crane

Board size: 11

Founder: Phil Saksa / Mabel Bahler

Year founded: 1979

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 08/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1994


International Friendships was created to operate and maintain an organization to facilitate the physical, spiritual and emotional support of international students by ministering to them through social activities, friendships, and expressions of the love of Christ by testimony and service and to further the propogation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the edification of His church around the world. The students participating are from a variety of countries. Staff members work closely with volunteers from local churches to provide various services that address the social, cultural, and spiritual interests of international students. International Friendships activities are open to students from all cultural and religious backgrounds.

This organization is a nonprofit. Contributions to it are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Mission statement

To extend life-changing hospitality and friendship to international students out of reverence for Jesus

Statement of faith

1. that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are inspired by God, inerrant in the original writings, and of supreme and final authority in faith and life (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21);

2. in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7; Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:8-9);

3. that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and is true God and true man (John 1:1, 14, 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 2:5);

4. that man was created in the image of God; that he sinned, and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death (which is separation from God) and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature (Genesis 1:26-31, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12- 21);

5. that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:31; Hebrews 9:22; John 1:12);

6. in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven, and in His present life there for us, as High Priest and Advocate (Luke 24:36, 39; John 2:19, 20:26- 28; Philippians 3:20-21);

7. in "that blessed hope," the personal and imminent return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 11:26; Philippians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 4:15-5:4, 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28, 10:25, 37; 1 John 2:28, 3:2-3; Revelation 3:11; 16:15, 22:12-13, 22:20-21);

8. that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God (John 1:12, 3:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3, 8:9, 10:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:8-9; Galatians 3:26; Titus 3:5);

9. in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the everlasting punishment of the lost (John 5:28-29; Acts 17:31, 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:12; Revelation 20:12-13); and

10. that God has established marriage as the lifelong, exclusive relationship between one genetic male and one genetic female, and that God's plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of such a marriage (Genesis 2:24-25; Matthew 19:5-6; Romans 1:18-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

* This Doctrinal Statement does not exhaust the extent of IFI's beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all

Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Evangelism

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating432 of 57732 of 39
Fund acquisition rating409 of 57732 of 39
Resource allocation rating442 of 57732 of 39
Asset utilization rating277 of 57721 of 39

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$172,519$25,862$19,114$30,120$15,881
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$991,349$1,745,354$507,291$253,506$551,640
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$1,183,302$124,065$1,298,696$1,305,736$1,059,833
Other long-term assets$201,750$0$0$0$0
Total long-term assets$1,385,052$124,065$1,298,696$1,305,736$1,059,833
Total assets$2,376,401$1,869,419$1,805,987$1,559,242$1,611,473
Payables and accrued expenses$129,688$86,289$77,181$110,755$73,899
Other current liabilities$74,387$61,128$45,957$42,259$45,743
Total current liabilities$204,075$147,417$123,138$153,014$119,642
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$285,981$0$223,095$233,434$538,251
Total liabilities$490,056$147,417$346,233$386,448$657,893
Net assets20192018201720162015
Temporarily restricted$347,798$56,751$5,000$0$0
Permanently restricted$0$0$0$0$0
Net assets$1,886,345$1,722,002$1,459,754$1,172,794$953,580
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$2,814,006$2,448,412$2,077,380$1,857,215$1,665,671
Program service revenue$0$0$0$0$0
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$0$0$0$452$1,573
Other revenue$171,264$138,234$148,727$145,020$107,060
Total other revenue$171,264$138,234$148,727$145,472$108,633
Total revenue$2,985,270$2,586,646$2,226,107$2,002,687$1,774,304
Program services$2,143,933$1,663,163$1,323,307$1,451,217$1,391,140
Management and general$390,559$394,548$315,480$256,738$198,779
Total expenses$2,820,715$2,386,769$1,939,147$1,783,473$1,678,080
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)$164,555$199,877$286,960$219,214$96,224
Other changes in net assets($212)$62,371$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$164,343$262,248$286,960$219,214$96,224

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


1972 - 1978 - A vision from the heart of God claimed the lives of one couple, Phil and Ruth-Ann Saksa, one single woman, Mabel Bahler, and one church, Covenant Baptist Church, in Columbus, Ohio, and a ministry was born.

1979 - From one church, the ministry approach of partnership with multiple churches was born, and IFI became an official non-profit organization, with Phil Saksa as General Director. IFI had 3 staff, 12 volunteers from 4 churches and was reaching about 50 international students. From inception, God gave IFI several Scriptural promises, as guiding vision to the future: Genesis 12:1-3, Psalm 87, Isaiah 61:1-4, and Zechariah 8:20-23.

1980 - 1990 - The early years were characterized by perseverance yet little fruit in ministry. With prayer, patience, and love, IFI started seeing steady number of international students become believers.

1998 - Rich Mendola becomes the Executive Director of IFI. He came to IFI with lots of enthusiasm, vision, and great international student ministry experience.

1995 - 2004 - Almost a decade of ministry growth and experience. IFI doubled in size of volunteers and consequently expanded its outreach to go on trips around the US, ethnic group ministry, International American Fellowship, children's ministry, international wives and mothers outreach, friendship partner program, English conversation club, and international worship.

2004 - The IFI vision and mission begin expanding to other cities, with Cincinnati being the first ministry location outside of Columbus, with a team of 4 staff

2008 - Pivotal year for IFI, when Rich with the staff team in Columbus revised the IFI vision, and prayerfully began to ask God for more expansion and growth. They began to dream big. Rich got the vision for IFI to become a National Training Center to equip, mobilize and send anyone who wants to serve international students.

2012 - With over 1,500 volunteers and 1,300 students being reached annually, IFI doubled its staff to aid the rapid ministry growth

2013 - IFI takes a leadership role in ISM by making their cross-cultural training available online. Two more locations outside of Columbus start up, and the number of new volunteers mobilized with IFI doubles in 5 years.

2013 - ISEED, which started informally in 1996, was formalized as an intensive year-long discipleship training for Christian international students, preparing them for ministry back home. Graduates have returned home to start house churches, serve refugees, and aid reaching other international students.

2014 - Apprenticeship program was formed, a year-long training for American believers who want to be trained in international student ministry as full-time ministry career.

2014 - IFI grew to 9 locations, expanding outside of Ohio.

2016 - In order to pass on what we've learned, IFI began work on its Startup Kit, an online training course to prepare new staff to grow their own local international student ministry.

2017 - Present - IFI's vision is being fulfilled before our very eyes. God is using international students to fulfill His mission and we get to be participate in it. Currently we have over 50 staff in 9 states, with 145 churches and 3200 volunteers mobilized. Thousands of international students are being reached, 600+ internationals are engaged in Bible study groups, and tens have returned home and are being planted all over the world for the display of God's splendor (Isaiah 60:3).

Program accomplishments

- Mobilized over 145 churches and 3200 volunteers into serving and partnering with international students.
- Reaching thousands of international students annually through airport pickup, temporary housing, English conversation partners and much more.
- Average of 55 students recorded starting to follow Jesus annually.
- Developed the IFI Startup Kit, an online training course to prepare new staff to grow their own local international student ministry.
- Built ISEED program, an intensive yearlong discipleship training for Christian international students, preparing them for ministry back home.
- Launched Apprenticeship program, a year-long training for American believers who want to do international student ministry as a full-time career.


- Funding for national ministry expansion
- More volunteers to befriend, serve and equip more international students
- New staff on campuses where internationals are studying