About Us

What is IFS?

The International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS) is an association of national, regional and local organizations working to strengthen communities around the world. Its mission is to build an inclusive global community by empowering, inspiring and connecting people who are working locally for social justice. IFS' more than 10,000 members include multi-purpose, community-based organizations all over the globe, from North America and Europe to South America and Asia. IFS also holds general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the highest status with which an NGO can be accredited; to learn more about our involvement with ECOSOC, please visit our United Nations page. The organization has a long and active history as a network and as a promoter of the Settlement House Movement since it was founded in Europe.

For an extended history of IFS, we encourage you to read former president Anthony Wagner's 80th anniversary paper from 2006.

To learn more about IFS' Board of Directors and leadership structure, please visit our Board of Directors page.

What Does IFS Do?

The purpose of IFS is to facilitate networking, to encourage the exchange of innovative ideas and best practices, and to influence social policies on global levels. The organization achieves these goals by:

  • Promoting the communication of best practices and idea-sharing among member organizations through electronic newsletters, a dynamic website and online forums
  • Organizing international conferences, training and exchanges that encourage networking opportunities. IFS partners with member organizations to present an international conference every two years. These meetings provide opportunities for members to share best practices and learn about other cultures
  • Promoting youth exchanges to bring young people together from different cultures
  • Representing members' interests and concerns through the Federation's official consultative status within international policy development bodies such as the United Nations system and the Council of Europe.

These activities facilitate the advancement and preservation of the ideals of the Settlement House Movement throughout the world, ensuring a more vibrant and equal place for us all.