The First Humanitarian XP Builder

When David Bingham was 17, his parents, Glenn and Elisabeth, wanted him to have a humanitarian experience to give him a better understanding of what life was like in emerging countries outside of the United States. As they researched different group humanitarian trip options, Glenn and Elisabeth were concerned that these programs would put David in a situation that would test rather than strengthen his standards. 

Glenn had served a mission in Brazil, so he decided to take David to the Amazon community of Santarem instead of sending David with a humanitarian group. They would have many opportunities to serve the people there, and Humanitarian XP was officially born during that summer of 1999. The first expedition of just two people made a major impact and instilled a desire in David to serve people in need.  

The next year, the Binghams were contacted by several other parents who wanted a similar experience for their own youth. They set up another expedition to Santarem with ten teens who would continue building the new center for street children Glenn and David had begun the year before. Meanwhile, David enrolled in BYU and then received his mission call to the Philippines. 


David Bingham on his mission in San Pablo, Philippines.

Glenn and Elisabeth realized that this experience was something that they wanted to continue for their three younger children. They got to work and formed a nonprofit organization called Alliance for Youth Service (AYS) based on shared values as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Glenn recalls, “We didn’t set out to start up an organization for youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we just wanted to give our own kids a great experience and take along some other teens with us. For the first four years, we volunteered our time and took one or two groups each summer.”

As the demand for these expeditions grew, more requests came in from teens who wanted to participate and parents who wanted their teens to participate. “By 2004, we were up to four expeditions in the summer and we just didn’t have time to handle the requirements of AYS and our regular full-time commitments. I would take our kids while Elisabeth would lead an expedition then she would handle the family while I would lead a group. … At that point we hired a full-time director to come in and run AYS for us,” Glenn explained. Every year that followed, AYS expanded to take more Builders into additional international locations.  

They changed the name from AYS to Humanitarian Experience for Youth (HEFY) in 2011, (and just recently to Humanitarian Experience (Humanitarian XP) in 2021), as it had turned into a thriving organization for teens ages 16-19 who were willing to abide by the Church of Jesus Christ’s code of conduct. 

David Bingham unexpectedly passed away of an undiagnosed heart condition in 2013 at the age of 31. He joined his identical twin brother, Richard, who died as an infant. David treasured his missionary experience in the Philippines where his love for service deepened.  Just before he passed away, he had made plans to return to the Philippines to create a humanitarian organization there. 

As tribute, Humanitarian XP opened its first trip to San Pablo, Philippines in 2019, the location where David served his mission. 

Humanitarian XP exists today because of David’s determination, undaunting enthusiasm, and tender heart that always found ways to care for those around him. He inspired his family and friends to reach beyond themselves. As its first Builder, Humanitarian XP is dedicated to David’s memory. His mother, Elisabeth, summarizes it this way, “As we look back on David’s brief life, we believe that starting the Humanitarian XP organization may have been his primary mission on this earth.”