International Friends of Belize

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International Friends of Belize (IFOB) is a US-registered, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization with two functions: 1. to provide a forum of communication for those interested in the social development of Belize, and 2. to provide an effective conduit of support to community-based development projects in Belize. Since its inception in 2004, IFOB has grown significantly in both membership and funds raised. In 2005 the first scholarship program was created in Stann Creek. In 2006 IFOB's scholarship program was expanded to include Corozal district, and in 2006 nearly 20 Belizean students received full scholarships to attend secondary school.

Contents

First Function: Forum for Communication

The communication forum function was addressed by the establishment of an online community, active at www.friendsofbelize.org since 2004. Through this site, IFOB members and others are able to exchange information related to Belize and its development, as well as information relevant to current and past volunteers from agencies active in Belize, such as: Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Voluntary Service Overseas,Japan International Cooperation Agency,the Canadian University Students Overseas (CUSO), and others.

Second Function: Conduit of Support

The second function is achieved through IFOB's two main programs -- The IFOB Scholarship Program and the IFOB Community Grant Program. These programs are both supported through IFOB membership dues and outside donations. Since IFOB is completely ran by volunteers, 96 cents of every dollar received directly support IFOB projects in the communities of Belize.

Programs

IFOB Scholarship Program

The IFOB Scholarship Program was established in 2005, with an aim to providing secondary school scholarships to needy and deserving students in Belize. In the first two years, IFOB funded 20 students with full scholarships in Stann Creek District and Corozal District.

While a secondary school (high school) education is increasingly necessary to enter the Belizean job market, many Belizean families are forced to choose which of their children, if any, they can afford to enroll in secondary school. Secondary school fees in Belize are quite high (between US$400-500), and for many Belizeans formal education past primary school is a luxury that they cannot afford.

IFOB Community Grant Program

IFOB established a Community Grant Program in 2006, to provide small grants to community-based development projects in Belize in the areas of education, environment, and health. The first year, IFOB awarded three grants: to Cornerstone Foundation in Cayo District to fund a youth-centered HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention project, as well as grants to a Belize City after-school chess club and an environmental project in Seine Bight village. Thanks to increased membership support, in 2007 the IFOB Community Grants Program is doubling grants to US$1,000 per award.

History

IFOB was started in the spring of 2004 by a small group of returned Peace Corps volunteers who had all served in Belize. Founding members included: Jeffrey Cleveland, Kristi Drexler, Robin Mardeusz, Maya Ravindranath, Sarah Reynolds, Sandy Roter, Donna Statler, Maura Varley, and Brenda (Link) Williams. Once they formed a steering committee and delegated responsibilities, the members set to work writing the bylaws, applying for 501(c)(3), looking for funding, and all of the other aspects of organizational development.

Seed funds came in the form of two small grants -- one from the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), with which IFOB is affiliated; and the other from Johns Hopkins University.

Since its inception in 2004, IFOB has grown significantly in both membership and funds raised. In 2005 the first scholarship program was created in Stann Creek District. In 2006 IFOB's scholarship program was expanded to include Corozal District, and in 2006 nearly 20 Belizean students received full scholarships to attend secondary school.

External links


See also

External Links

International Friends of Belize

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