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Our Story 2019-10-10T22:53:21+00:00

Rooted in History

In 1927, leaders from different faiths refused to be bystanders in the face of hatred, intolerance, bigotry, fear and deeply embedded prejudice. At this time, the Ku Klux Klan was active in most areas across the country, directing vicious bigotry towards Catholics, Jews, blacks and “foreigners.” 

Acknowledging the need for action, leaders including Teddy Roosevelt, Benjamin Cardozo, Jane Addams, and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, created The National Conference for Christians and Jews – NCCJ. They mobilized citizens against the forces of violence, ignorance and exclusion, and contributed significantly to an expanded definition of “who is an American.” 

These leaders dedicated the organization to bringing diverse people together to address interfaith divisions. Several years later NCCJ changed their name to the National Conference for Community & Justice and expanded its work to include all issues of social justice, including race, class, gender equity, sexual orientation and the rights of people with different abilities.

In the 1950s, the NCCJ began its award-winning residential youth leadership institute, the ANYTOWN program and Anytown was born in Arizona.

As Arizona’s oldest human relations organization, Anytown Leadership Camp was born out of the belief that respectful dialogue between people from different backgrounds can bring about positive changes in our communities.

In Anytown’s early history, it was a prestigious honor to attend the Anytown.  Each high school in Arizona would nominate two students to represent their school and 6 camps were held every summer.   Those nominees were tasked with bringing their learning back to their schools and Anytown averaged 500-700 teens each summer.  After the economic crisis, nonprofits suffered, including Anytown and the last Anytown organization shuttered in 2009.  

Recently resurrected in 2013 by dedicated and passionate alumni,  Anytown is back!

Our program is the only one of its kind with an almost 100-year history and the only leadership program that intentionally brings together teenagers of different races, ethnicities, religions, genders, orientations, socio-economic status, and other social identifiers to  learn earn appropriate and effective methods of discussing difficult topics, such as differences of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation, socio-economic status, and other social identifiers.

Anytown is proud to facilitate this process for over 150 high school students every summer and plans to grow our outreach with additional funding.