Foundation for Higher Education (Colombia)

Global Philanthropists Circle (Synergos)



Case Study Sector


In Africa, Asia and Latin America, citizen participation through a range of civil society organizations has become a growing and vital force. Civil society organizations have brought significant material and human resources from the community level to bear on poverty problems through donations of time, energy, materials and money. Locally managed and controlled organizations that provide direct financial support to other organizations within their societies have been established over the last decade in many southern countries. Few of them were created with a single large endowment, as was the case with most northern private foundations. Most of them rely on a wide range of strategies to mobilize financial resources, including earned income contributions from individuals and corporations and grants from international organizations. Some managed donor-designated or donor-advised funds following the US community foundation experience.
To distinguish this type of southern foundationlike organization from northern foundations, the term "civil society resource organization," or CSRO, has been proposed. This term refers to organizations which combine financial assistance to community-based organizations and NGOs with other forms of support for organizations or the civil society sector as a whole.


From its inception in 1964 as a university foundation with a nominal endowment of less than US$2,700, the Fundación para la Educación Superior (FES) has grown to become the most eminent private foundation in Colombia. In its three decades of operation, FES has accumulated an endowment of over US$42 million and given out grants totaling almost US$50 million. Based in Cali, Colombia’s second largest city, FES’s founders embodied the region’s unique mix of a can-do immigrant spirit, a sense of noblesse oblige among the local elite, and exposure to foreign institutions and ideas.



  • Latin America

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