American Experience Foundation

Educating and Inspiring Students in our Nation’s Capital

American Experience Foundation - Educating and Inspiring Students in our Nation’s Capital
Helping to inspire the next generation of travelers and hospitality professionals.

The American Experience Foundation (AEF) enriches the lives of low-income students through inspirational travel experiences and educational opportunities to cultivate the next generation of hospitality industry professionals. AEF is the 501(c)(3) charity affiliated with Destination DC. Download an overview.

Hospitality and tourism is a $7.3 billion industry employing 74,000 people in Washington, DC. AEF offers students an introduction to the wonder of travel and exposure to hospitality career paths.

AEF provides:

  • Free field trips for low-income 8th graders from Washington, DC and across the country
  • Scholarships to qualified DC Hospitality Academy students and graduates
  • Internships and mentorships to connect students to hospitality industry careers

“AEF gave me the ability to see outside of Southeast, the only place I’ve seen my whole life.” - Kayla, 8th Grade Student, Charles Hart Middle School

To learn more, please contact our Foundation Associate, Lisa Waldschmitt.

Contact Lisa Waldschmitt
In 2017:
$10,000 in scholarships awarded
233 students served, including
100+ Career Ready interns placed at DDC members
Since 2015:
75 DC students have traveled on Backyard Bound trips
135 out-of-town students came to DC on Rite of Passage trips
60+ in-kind partner businesses have donated services