Dear Friends of Colombia,
I never could have imagined a global pandemic dramatically changing our daily lives and impacting our partners and friends in nuestra querida Colombia when I became FOC President in 2020. COVID-19 reached the most remote corners of Colombia, disproportionately impacting those living in poverty. Over 125,000 people lost their lives from COVID in Colombia, and at least 1.45 million Colombians have fallen into poverty during the pandemic.
Despite the immense challenges—fueled as always by our mission to support community-based projects and organizations committed to the peace and prosperity of Colombia—we pushed forward and increased our impact in 2021. Thanks to the support, generosity, and creativity of our volunteers, donors, and Colombian partners, this year FOC (Read more in our 2021 Annual Report here):
- Renewed our focus on equity and inclusion in Colombia, providing support to grassroots organizations led by indigenous and afrocolombian visionaries.
- Responded to a humanitarian crisis in Cali and supported reconstruction efforts in Providencia after Hurricane Iota.
- Held our second small grants competition and supported seven outstanding projects.
- Donated more than $35,000 to our grantee partners this year—and we’re not done yet!
This letter marks my last as FOC President. Starting in 2022, Alyssa Galik (RPCV Colombia 2016–2018) and Jenna Glickman (RPCV Colombia 2012–2015) will take over as interim Co-Presidents. Meanwhile, I’ll continue working with FOC as a member of the Social Events & Fundraising Committee. And although we are starting to see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, all of us at FOC are acutely aware that large swaths of the Colombian population continue to face economic, educational, and human rights challenges.
As we embark on our annual fundraising campaign, we aim to raise a total of $20,000—more than double last year’s goal, to advance the meaningful work of our longstanding partners (The Colombia Project, The Marina Orth Foundation, Paso a Paso, and The Magdalena Foundation) and new partner Colombia GLOW. FOC will also be making a donation to Tierra Grata in memory of the FOC members we have lost this year. With FOC’s donation, these organizations will continue to provide educational and economic opportunities to our friends in Colombia.
Please help us reach our most ambitious annual fundraising goal ever by contributing to FOC online (https://friendsofcolombia.org/donate-now/) or by sending your tax-deductible contribution to:
Friends of Colombia
PO Box 15292
Chevy Chase, MD 20825
Donors who contribute $75 or more will receive a 2022 calendar with illustrations from Sarah Shaw (RPCV 2013–2015), artist and FOC member. There are a limited number of calendars so donate as soon as possible to ensure you get your calendar by January 1st! As always, we are deeply grateful to all our wonderful friends and contributors for bringing FOC and our Colombian partners this far — which is very far indeed!
Thank you for your continued support and happy holidays,
– Michael Band
President, Friends of Colombia
RPCV Colombia 2011–2014