Why I Give: Frank Yates Was There at the Founding
By Kelly Reid on Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Frank Yates (Ghana 1973–1976) says people ask him, “How did you hear about NPCA?”
And he answers, “I was present at the founding.”
Frank recounts the fascinating story of the earliest days of the National Peace Corps Association, when about 100 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) discovered each other at a 1978 international development conference at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. Instead of going to the event sessions, the RPCVs hung out and discussed how to stay connected.
When the conference ended, the RPCVs decided to come back to Omaha the following year. Frank was a member of an RPCV group in Kansas City, so the trip up to Omaha was an easy drive for him. At the original meeting in 1979, the group chose the name “National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers,” wrote the bylaws, and elected both a president and officers.
Frank joined the board in 1983 and served two three-year terms. From 1985 to 1987 Frank was treasurer, developing the necessary financial systems that would serve as a fiscal backbone for the NPCA for years to come. By that time a global education project in New York City had developed, comprised of four paid staff members and a clerical worker in Omaha.
In 1986 Frank moved to San Diego, California. “Somehow I managed to start a new job and attend the 25th Reunion in Washington as an officer in the same week,” says Frank. Interest in the Peace Corps was further spurred when both the Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders received the “Beyond War” award in San Francisco in 1987. People across the nation, including those in San Diego, gathered to watch the event on satellite television. Building upon the enthusiasm created by the televised event, Frank founded the San Diego RPCV group and was active for 20 years. In the 1990s Frank also helped found the Friends of Ghana, and currently serves as the member group’s President.
Frank retired to the Lake of the Ozarks in his native state of Missouri in 2007. He is a member of the Central MO RPCVs in Columbia, MO, and attended every annual meeting from 1982 to 1995. “I always go back because I have leadership roles and want to represent the people in my group.” Frank attended and greatly enjoyed the Peace Corps Connect – Minneapolis conference in 2012, and is looking forward to the trip to Boston next week for this year’s annual Peace Corps Connect event.
Frank has also been a steady financial contributor to NPCA for years, but, knowing there would be serious expenses for the NPCA for the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, he made a big jump a few years ago. “I knew there would be a point in my life when I could start to contribute at the Director’s Circle level. The 50th seemed the right time to start and I have just kept it up.”
Thank you, Frank, for being there for the National Peace Corps Association in so many ways – all the way from the NPCA’s founding in 1979, to this year’s Peace Corps Connect—Boston 2013!