The Friends of Colombia (FOC) Grantmaking Committee is pleased to offer small grants once a year.  Organizations working in areas relevant to the mission of Friends of Colombia are eligible for these awards, as are returned and evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) who wish to continue their projects in Colombia, or start new ones. The maximum award per applicant is $1,500 USD.

El Comité de Donaciones de Friends of Colombia (FOC) otorga pequeños fondos cada año. Las organizaciones que trabajan en áreas relevantes a la misión de FOC, son elegibles para aplicar a los fondos, al igual que los ex-voluntarios de Cuerpo de Paz (RPCVs) y/o evacuados que desean continuar sus proyectos en Colombia o comenzar otros nuevos. La cantidad máxima por solicitante es de $ 1,500 USD.

  • La aplicación de 2021 está aquí.
  • Los becados de 2021 están aquí.

2020 Grants

In October, FOC awarded grants to the first recipients of our small grants. These four grants totaled $4,305. These funds came at a time of critical need, when Colombian communities suffered devastating effects of the global pandemic. Here are the project descriptions for our first grantees:

Pre-ICFES By Radio

Maicao, La Guajira

$1,200 USD

Each year, Colombian high school students sit for the ICFES Exam, a national standardized test like the American SAT or ACT which can impact opportunities to pursue higher education. 

Challenge: With in-person classes suspended due to the pandemic, low-income students in remote areas without access to laptops, tablets, or reliable internet connections have found themselves further disadvantaged. To assist these students, a group of teachers in Maicao, La Guajira, created the Pre-ICFES Classes by Radio program. Partnering with the nearby Colombian National Army base and making use of their FM radio station, the program went live in April.

Solution: With its FOC grant, Pre-ICFES By Radio purchased a multifunction printer and spiral binding machine to print and distribute learning resources to accompany each set of lessons delivered by radio. Once printed, the Colombian National Army unit stationed at Maicao assisted in distributing the booklets to 9th-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students in the municipalities of Maicao, Uribia, and Manaure.


Virtual, with reach across Colombia’s Northern Coast

$1,180 USD

Camp GLOW was a project started by Peace Corps Colombia Volunteers and their counterparts in 2014 throughout the Caribbean region of Colombia. Camp GLOW aims to create gender equity by empowering young women in their personal, academic and professional lives. 

Challenge: While COVID-19 has posed challenges to normal operations, Camp GLOW has found an opportunity to reach even more girls and young women through dispersing virtual materials and sharing recordings. 

Solution: Camp GLOW currently has 10 clubs with 136 participants throughout Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. Camp GLOW used its FOC grant to purchase Camp GLOW kits, which allowed participants to continue the program remotely. All kits included t-shirts, antibacterial gel, face masks, folders, print outs, oatmeal, cereal bars, and internet wifi chips. The grant also covered the cost of printing, packaging and shipping the kits to all camp participants. 

Tierra Grata

Barrio La Paz in Cartagena, Bolivar  

$975 USD

In the midst of the global pandemic, 30% of the population on Colombia’s northern coast lack access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation. Established in 2014, Tierra Grata is a Colombian social enterprise that has been working to reduce social inequities in rural Colombia through the introduction of clean technologies.

Challenge: The neighborhood of La Paz, which sits 45 minutes outside of Cartagena’s city center, currently lacks access to potable water. The 550 households in the neighborhood are forced to purchase clean water from nearby farms or water tank trucks when they visit the neighborhood. 

Solution: Tierra Grata’s FOC grant enabled the purchase and installation of 20-liter gravity water filters in 25 households. This grant also allowed Tierra Grata to improve the hygienic sanitation facility in the town’s community center through the additional purchase and installation of a water collection tank and portable sink. 

Fundación Para La Integración Social y El Desarrollo (FISDE)

Luruaco,  Atlántico

$950.00 USD

The Atlántico Department of Colombia is wrestling with the pervasive Colombian challenge of social and economic inequality. Located between the tourist hubs of Cartagena and Santa Marta, the Atlántico Department could capitalize on expanding its tourism industry to create better employment opportunities for local residents.  

Challenge: Luruaco is a small municipality in Atlántico that sits off the highway between Cartagena to Santa Marta. Every bus traveling between these tourism hubs stops in Luruaco, which presents an opportunity to engage tourists. However, many tourism guides in Luruaco remain informal and lack organization and training.  

Solution: FISDE, a foundation that works on social integration and development located in Luruaco,  used its FOC grant to train and equip the informal guides in Luruaco.  

FISDE provided the 10 local guides with the training and equipment needed to do their jobs effectively – uniforms, brochures, materials advertising the local attractions, and an office location located beside the tourist bus stop. They also encouraged the guides to promote local, sustainable ecological tourism by promoting local hiking trails in the area as well as the municipality’s diverse flora and fauna.