December Featured Advocate – Priscilla Goldfarb
By Jonathan Pearson on Monday, December 2nd, 2013
She’s a big supporter of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) as a longtime member of the Director’s Circle. She served admirably as a member of the NPCA Board of Directors and continues to bring guidance and energy to our Business and Development Committee.
Heck, she even bakes cookies for the staff, interns and volunteers when she travels down from her home in upstate New York to Washington!
On top of all that, Priscilla Goldfarb has been one of the most consistent and passionate voices for advocacy for the Peace Corps over the past decade.
“NPCA Advocacy brought me closer to the Peace Corps family than I had been in some thirty-five years,” says Goldfarb. ”It was inspiring to be part of the greater NPCA community – to reconnect with colleagues and make new friends.”
Re-connecting with past friends and making new ones through advocacy is something Goldfarb will experience once again on February 27th, when she participates in the Capitol Hill portion of our National Day of Action in Support of the Peace Corps.
It’s an exciting and fulfilling day that sometimes brings some unexpected encounters.
“Waiting outside (then) Senator Hilary Clinton’s office in 2008, our group met a young Kenyan computer programmer who was attending a conference in DC. He was on his way to then-Senator Obama’s office…Immediately and to his amazement and delight, he and I fell into a flow of Swahili greetings and conversation. Neither of us came to the Hill that day expecting to make this kind of connection – a connection that was possible as a direct result of my Peace Corps service. This story has proven successful in its retelling to elected officials and their staff because it highlights in a very concrete way the deep bonds of friendship and trust that Peace Corps engenders…”
Having been involved in advocacy and politics since the 1980’s, Priscilla has a wealth of experiences on a variety of public policy issues. When asked if there are any elements of successful advocacy that sometimes gets overlooked, she offered these four points:
- It is important to communicate the distinction between NPCA, who we represent and Peace Corps, the government agency. It makes a compelling argument that we are not self-serving but rather tens of thousands of volunteers in support of a cause we believe in.
- The importance of listening and eliciting where our lawmakers are coming from. By learning their background and positions, we can often discover common ground and be creative in crafting a compelling message.
- Make sure to offer support, not just ask for it. With statistics and information the NPCA can provide, we make our lawmakers confident in their decision to act in the interest of the Peace Corps and to persuade their colleagues to act.
- Provide specific feedback from your meeting to the NPCA. This helps inform and strengthen our overall advocacy efforts.
Good advice, from a great advocate. Thank you Priscilla! See you February 27th.