Living Values: University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Amy Biehl Foundation

Upon reflecting on their daughter's life, Linda and Peter Biehl concluded that the most significant way they could commemorate Amy's dedication to ensuring human rights and racial justice in South Africa was to continue her work of empowering disadvantaged communities. The Biehls soon established the Amy Biehl Foundation (ABF) in the United States and the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust (ABFT) in South Africa. ABFT's work with and for disadvantaged black and colored communities exemplifies the Biehls' mission of weaving a barrier against violence.

In 1997, Peter and Linda Biehl decided to travel to South Africa to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The TRC was established after the end of apartheid to address gross violations of human rights and to make public the truth about those past injustices in order for the nation to help heal the wounds of racial oppression. The TRC maintained the power to grant amnesty to citizens who confessed to politically motivated crimes during the apartheid era.

Due to their daughter's belief in the importance of restorative justice, the Biehls supported amnesty for the perpetrators of Amy's murder. Two of the young men granted amnesty for their crime now work as employees of the Community Baking Trust in Cape Town, delivering loaves of Amy's Bread: The Bread of Hope and Peace.

ABFT administers community-based and primarily youth-oriented programs in 6 areas: education; health and safety; employment skills and microenterprise development; environment; arts and music; and recreation. ABFT believes that providing consistent access to activities and training in the above sectors will contribute towards positive youth development and a decreased juvenile crime rate. ABFT programming has increasingly expanded to serve adults, under the principle that healthy youth entails healthy families and communities. It currently manages some 20 programs.

The trust is funded by a 4-year $1.9 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); private donations from the United States and South Africa; and South African corporate sponsorship. ABFT also coordinates with South African governmental agencies and other non-profit organizations to maximize the positive impact of its programs. The trust's many partnerships allow the organization to carry on what many employees refer to as "Amy's magic," the linkages that support community revitalization and allow citizens to fulfil South Africa's promise as an emerging democracy.

The Amy Biehl Foundation -


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Copyright 2001 University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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This page last updated October 15, 2001