News & Events2021-04-10T06:16:50+00:00

FOC announces 7 grant winners for 2021!

FOC is pleased to announce that we awarded seven grants, totaling $10,250, to inspiring Colombian community-based groups. A BIG thank you to FOC's Grantmaking Team for all of their hard work: - Brianna Castro (CII-4) - Danny Butterfoss (PC Response 2014-2015) - Christina Kuntz (CII-3) And congratulations to our grant competition winners! FOC's Grantmaking Team held a Welcome Call with the seven winning organizations. Learn more about each winner and their projects below. Additional photos along with further detailed descriptions of each project will be included in future social media posts and in FOC's 2021 Annual Report, which will be published in December. 2021 FOC Small Grant [...]

FOC supports emergency aid in Cali and 3 other cities

Thanks to your generosity FOC was able to donate a total of $6,150 to the Rotary Club in Cali. With FOC's financial assistance, our partners in Cali were able to purchase and deliver food and medical supplies to families in Cali, Pasto, Popayán, and Buga - four cities that have been hit especially hard by the current crisis in Colombia. Beneficiaries of these important deliveries include: individual families, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and a homeless shelter. Message to FOC members from Rotary Club Cali's Laura Guevara Ardila: "Thank you for the solidarity, empathy and support that you have shown our country in this difficult situation. Without your [...]

FOC is thrilled to announce our partnership with the Latin American Leadership Academy (LALA)!

LALA is a non-profit organization in Medellín, working for sustainable economic development and democratic governance in South America. Launched only in 2018, LALA delivers a range of programming for Latin American youth to build skills and networks in entrepreneurship and social innovation. You can learn more about their mission and accomplishments at their website:   https://www.latinamericanleadershipacademy.org/.   FOC is proud to partner with LALA on our first pilot initiative: English Mentors '21.    For the remainder of this year, participating FOC mentors will guide weekly English conversation with LALA youth who are preparing for their LALA Academy studies, a 3-month program conducted [...]

Rumbaterapia class raises $2,300 for La Guajira organizations

During our virtual dance party therapy event FOC raised a total of $2,300 for two inspiring organizations our dance instructor Alé Tracy Chavarriaga worked with as a Peace Corps Volunteer (2016-2018) in La Guajira: APOMD in Mingueo, La Guajira is a non-profit organization supporting organic cacao farmers in the Dibulla Municipality. Funds will go specifically towards their work with women and youth. Mata e Pelo in Riohacha, La Guajira is a community action group that promotes Afro-Colombian identity and self-acceptance among women and youth. Thank you to Camp GLOW participants that also joined the Rumbaterapia class! Alexandra leads virtual dance [...]

Panel: Discussing Race and Gender in 21st-Century Colombia

On February 5, 2021 - FOC hosted the panel "Discussing Race and Gender in 21st-Century Colombia." FOC's very own Dr. Taylor Owen Ramsey, Ph.D. moderated a timely and important discussion, "Race and Gender in 21st-Century Colombia," with three esteemed guests: - Dr. Ángela Castro from Colorado College - Dr. Monica Styles from College of Charleston - Dr. Katherine Anson from St. Mark's School of Texas This event was free but any donations went directly to Batambora and Asociación de Mujeres Afro-Colombianas, Colombian charities chosen by our guest speakers. Additionally, FOC matched $1,000 in order to send $2,000 total to the [...]

FOC more than doubled our end of year fundraising goal!

Thanks to the generosity of our AMAZING members, FOC's recent End of Year campaign broke multiple fundraising records. Over the past two months, a total of 183 individual donations helped FOC raise $30,481, both high-water marks in the organization's 30+ year history! Not in our wildest dreams did we anticipate more than doubling the ambitious $13,000 goal we set in November. Your support has allowed FOC to start the year by making donations to these inspiring organizations: La Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas (ASOMI) Paso a Paso The Marina Orth Foundation The Magdalena Foundation The Colombia Project On behalf of the entire FOC Team, THANK YOU, THANK [...]

Virtual Happy Hours with Peace Corps Colombia Cohorts

This March, all Peace Corps Colombia volunteers were evacuated and forced to return to the United States. FOC helped welcome the 96 evacuated Colombia Peace Corps volunteers by hosting a virtual happy hour. In total, 45 people joined the Zoom call. Attendees ranged from Peace Corps volunteers that served in the 1960s-1970s, 2010s, recently evacuated PCVs, and NPCA staff.  In addition to reminiscing about parties on patios in plastic chairs and exchanging stories about working and living in Colombia, we were able to hold a productive conversation concerning the immediate needs of evacuated volunteers and how FOC could help assist [...]

FOC Mentorship Testimonials from 2020

In an effort to provide support to the 96 Peace Corps Colombia evacuees and other recently returned volunteers, Friends of Colombia started a Mentorship Program. FOC mentors offered their mentees job search assistance along with emotional and transitional support.     In the program’s inaugural year, FOC paired 32 mentees with 45 mentors. All Mentorship Program participants benefited from the strength of a broader network, the experiences of others, and the power of connection.     Testimonials: Hearing firsthand from FOC’s Mentors and Mentees    Mentor: Constance Ray, PC Colombia 2012-2014  “I very much enjoyed my experience as a mentor; however, it [...]

Meet FOC’s Communications Intern Laura Leiva Vargas

Laura, can you tell us a bit about yourself?  My name is Laura Leiva Vargas. I am from Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. I studied communications at Universidad de Cartagena, and I graduated in June, 2020. During college, I had the opportunity to do a one year exchange at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, a Spanish university. There, I worked in radio, media and journalism. Right now I'm working with the department of communications in the environmental office of the city (Establecimiento público ambiental - EPA), and I am an intern for Friends of Colombia. What is your connection to Peace Corps [...]

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