Our Founding History
The Krista Foundation was founded in August of 1999 in Spokane, Washington to honor the life and vision of Krista Kimberly Hunt Ausland, a 25-year-old woman killed in a bus accident while volunteering with her husband in global service in Bolivia. Her family and friends wanted to create an enduring living legacy in her memory and celebrate the spirit of active love and faith she gave to the world by encouraging other young adult Christians committed to a significant time of service. Our primary focus involves establishing a sustaining ecumenical mentoring community of young adults from the Northwest known as "Krista Colleagues" who are serving in the three areas of Krista's major interests: urban U.S., developing nations, and the environment. Modeled somewhat after the Fulbright Scholars or Woodrow Wilson Fellows in academia, this instead elevates a sense of service to the common good. Like Krista, they desire to "show God's love through actions."
A "Class of Krista Colleagues" is selected each year through nominations from professors, pastors, or other community leaders, and an application and interview process. We launched our first class of nine Krista Colleagues in 1999, and eleven more in 2000, all working with established service organizations such as Peace Corps, World Concern, Jesuit Volunteers, Presbyterian Mission, Agros International, and the Mennonite Central Committee. They are serving in Kenya, Guatemala, Bolivia, The Marshall Islands, Zambia, Paraguay, and throughout America's inner-cities of East Los Angeles, Camden, New Jersey, Shreveport, Louisiana, and Spokane, Washington. Since then, we have grown in capacity to warmly welcome 15-18 new colleagues each year.
Each receives a $1000 Service and Leadership Development Grant to use to further explore vocational interests while on assignment or shortly thereafter; these opportunities are usually not possible while living on subsistence wages. Each Krista Colleague also commits to helping mentor future Krista Colleagues through involvement at retreats and conferences planned by the Foundation. Our intergenerational Board applied for and received status as a 501(c)3 tax-deductible non-profit. In recent years, the significance of this support for young adult leaders engaged in service has been recognized through grants from the M.J. Murdock Foundation, the Fund for Theological Education, and other foundations.