Why we exist

We believe in cultivating young leaders who act consciously and intentionally to create sustainable impact.

More young people than ever are traveling abroad and have the desire to address global issues. But even the best of intentions can create unintended consequences if done without considering the big picture or all stakeholders. We believe in shifting this paradigm to a mindset of conscious leadership where community relationships are developed prior to creating holistic solutions.


To inspire and equip young adults to tackle global challenges with international experience, leadership skills and cultural competence.


The Foundation for Global Scholars, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, inspires and equips young adults to tackle global challenges through international experience, leadership skills and cultural competence.

Headquartered in Denver, Colorado and serving young adults from across the country, Foundation for Global Scholars believes in cultivating young leaders who act consciously and intentionally to create sustainable impact. We know we cannot address every complex issue facing our nations and world, but we can develop leaders with a holistic perspective to tackle those problems. We do this by providing resources, experiences and financial support to young adults aspiring to create change in their local communities and on a global scale.

Our Impact

Since 2006, we have awarded over $2 million in financial assistance and supported over 2000 outstanding students from more than 300 colleges and universities, raised awareness of international education, and gathered a community who are creating solutions to global challenges.

  • $2 million awarded in scholarship funds
  • 2,000+ scholarships given

Our impact in action

Phillip Stringer

Using techniques learned in sciences classes while studying in Costa Rica, Phillip returned to the University of Tuskegee and worked to develop an alternative energy source for his campus and the local agriculture community. Phillip and a fellow student are working to produce methane energy from the residual, organic waste of blueberry farms. For his work, Phillip received a $10,000 grant by Ford Motor Co., followed by a fellowship from the Department of State and UNESCO. Through the fellowship, Phillip shared the project with a Honduran community this spring. “I want to thank Foundation for Global Scholars for its support. It filled me with an energy to succeed like never before”, says Phillip.

Mia Rodriguez

Combining her love for the complex world of business and the simple beauty of the natural world, Mia chose to study both marketing and environmental science at the University of Newcastle in Australia. Outside the classroom, she participated in iLead, a lecture series of young entrepreneurs that inspired her to take the lead on environmental issues in her home state of California. Along with three other students, Mia created ReSoap, which recycles wasted soap bars from the hospitality industry to reduce hygienic illnesses in impoverished populations. Of her study abroad experience, she says, “Studying in Australia gave me the unique opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone, a skill that is essential for all entrepreneurs.”

Matthew Stoltz

Through his experience interning in urban and rural Kenyan communities, Matthew notes he was better able to “grasp the disparities of the world around us”. This understanding inspired him to address the needs in his communities. While his peers were seeking their first jobs, Matthews opted to bike more than 11,500 miles across the U.S. to raise money and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Milwaukee and Biking for Baseball, a Denver-based non-profit promoting and empowering youth and youth mentoring programs through cycling, baseball and coaching. After more than six months of cycling, a bit sore and a bit weathered, Matthew raised more than $24,000 for the youth mentoring.

Kenya Wright

The interconnections between economics, politics, geography, and the science of climate change and their effects on human society is what motivated Kenya to study across three continents. These same interconnections inspired Kenya to volunteer in the furthest reaches of the Pacific and at home. Whether assisting in a diabetes center in Micronesia or biking cross-country to raise funds and awareness for affordable housing, Kenya is committed to improving the lifestyles of the people she meets. “Foundation for Global Scholars has really made a difference” in translating her efforts into transformed communities. “I believe success is achieved in community”, says Kenya. “We’re here to help each other out.”


The Foundation for Global Scholars (FGS) was established in 2006. Founders Cynthia Banks and Shelia Houston knew firsthand the value of study abroad and international perspective and understood that very few (less than 2%) American college students studied abroad. Their vision was to open doors for as many college students as possible to have international study opportunities and become globally minded citizens. Study abroad typically creates an increased financial burden on students, so Banks and Houston created a foundation to mitigate the incremental costs of study abroad programs through scholarship support.

In supporting hundreds of young adults annually since 2006 with services, experiences and resources, we have identified and recognized global leaders and have created real community change on a global level. Through our nationally recognized scholarships and our changemaker awards, Foundation for Global Scholars attracts the attention of tens of thousands of undergraduates and graduate students in all 50 states at many of the finest colleges and universities.