Students Today Leaders Forever

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Students Today Leaders Forever
Founded 2003
Founder Brian Peterson
Greg Tehven
Irene Fernando
Nick Lindberg
Type Youth development
Area served Continental United States
Product Pay It Forward Tour
Leadership Camp
Key people Ozzie Nelson, Board Chair
Revenue $1,000,000
Employees 8
Volunteers 11,592
Mission To reveal leadership through service, relationships, and action.

Students Today Leaders Forever's (STLF) mission is to reveal leadership through service, relationships, and action.[1] STLF is a non-profit organization that engages in servant leadership to primarily carry out its mission through a cross-country service trip called the Pay it Forward Tour.[2][3][4] The Pay It Forward Tour STLF serves students on the college, high school, and middle school levels. STLF's main goal is to provide leadership experience and encourage students to become catalysts for positive change in their own lives, schools, and communities.

STLF History[edit]

STLF was founded in September 2003 at the University of Minnesota by four Carlson School of Management freshmen.[5] STLF's first Pay It Forward Tour went out in March 2004. Since then, 319 Pay It Forward Tours have gone out with 12,721 Participants. STLF’s National office is headquartered in Minneapolis, with student-led College Chapters on 30 campuses and programming partnerships with many high schools and middle schools stretching across the country. The following is a timeline of some STLF milestones:

Date Milestone
September 2003 STLF Founded
March 2004 First Pay It Forward Tour
May 2005 Incorporated as Non-Profit
September 2007 First Full-Time Employees Begin
June 2008 Awarded Social Entrepreneur's Cup

STLF has been instilled in many colleges, and even high schools around the nation. The first STLF/Pay It Forward Tour in Mississippi was held in Leland, MS. in 2009. These tours are still planned in Leland today by Kevin Parkinson.

STLF Programs[edit]

The Pay It Forward Tour is a multi-day volunteer trip focused on service, education, and reflection. Groups of students travel by charter bus across the country and volunteer in a new city each day. In addition to the Pay It Forward Tour, Leadership Trainings and Summer Leadership Camps are programs that support the Pay It Forward Tour. Through these programs, STLF serves thousands of college, high school, and middle school students of varying demographics each year.

Each of STLF's trips are planned and facilitated by volunteer student leadership. Three to five individuals work together in a shared leadership model called the Core Model. The Core Model allows the individuals involved to work toward a common purpose or end goal. The "Core" works together and shares overarching areas, while opting into individuals strengths and role-specific responsibility areas.

STLF Accomplishments[edit]

The Engaged Philanthropy Conference awarded STLF the 2008 Social Entrepreneur’s Cup[6] – an honor recognizing Minnesota’s top innovator for social change. TIME Magazine used STLF and the Pay it Forward Tour as an example within its #2 Way to Serve America in ’21 Ways to Serve America.'[7] In 2010, STLF was recognized as the first organization to complete its Accountability Wizard review featuring the Council’s new Accountability Standards.[8]


  1. ^ Students Today Leaders Forever
  2. ^ You don’t have to go far to do good - Travel - Rob Lovitt columns -
  3. ^ Internet spurs upswing in volunteerism -
  4. ^ On spring break, they spread kindness - The Boston Globe
  5. ^
  6. ^ New award targets change |
  7. ^ Take a Tour - 21 Ways to Serve America - TIME
  8. ^ Charities Review Council - News Releases