Advocacy

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Be a leader. Add to your skill-set. Keep Peace Corps strong. see more

    A defeated amendment to eliminate Peace Corps funding next fiscal year. Senate legislation to place Peace Corps under the Department of State. House legislation that would propose no less than $450 million for the Peace Corps, protect volunteer non-competitive eligibility (NCE) during a federal hiring freeze, increase pay for RPCVs on disability, and allow the Peace Corps logo to be used at gravesites of deceased volunteers and former staff.

    The 116th Congress has before it legislation that will have an impact on these and other Peace Corps-related issues. That’s why we are promoting and supporting district office meetings around the nation over the next ten weeks. It is time your lawmakers hear from you! 

    Ten district office meetings involving RPCV constituents have been held over the past several weeks with dozens more currently in the planning stages. Additionally, NPCA is collaborating with grassroots organization RESULTS, whose advocates support legislation and policies to address global health and poverty. Where possible, NPCA and RESULTS advocates will come together as voices for a strong foreign policy that supports humanitarian assistance around the world.

    We encourage you to join in! View this map to see where meetings have been held or are in the works. Contact us if you want more information on an existing meeting or are ready to step up and take the lead in organizing a meeting at a congressional district office near you!

    As you review the map, note the following:

    RED PINS = District office meetings that have already been conducted.

    BLUE PINS = District office meetings that are scheduled or being actively pursued.

    YELLOW PINS = Areas and lawmakers where interest in a district office meeting has been expressed, but where we have yet to confirm meetings are being actively pursued.

     

    (Photo: Several weeks ago, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Fort Worth, Texas meet with the district director of Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) to discuss Peace Corps issues and thank the congresswoman for successfully opposing an amendment which would have eliminated all Peace Corps funding in Fiscal Year 2020)

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Peace Corps' independence is imperative for its continued success see more

    Keep Peace Corps Independent and Internationally Trusted


    Join the Peace Corps community in protecting the independent, non-political nature of the Peace Corps by opposing legislation (S.2320) introduced by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) that would make Peace Corps subordinate to the Department of State under the direction of the Secretary of State.

    By safeguarding Peace Corps' status as an independent agency, we can help to ensure that it will not be used to promote short-term goals of the Secretary of State or whichever administration is occupying the White House. The international perception of the Peace Corps' independence is imperative for its continued success, which is based on mutual respect and trust of the host countries.
     

    Contact Your Senators and Urge Them to Oppose S.2320

    Read the bill here

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    Hundreds of members of the Peace Corps community gathered in Austin, TX to collaborate & innovate! see more

    What happens when hundreds of members of the Peace Corps community get together to discuss innovation, collaboration, and service? An exhilarating two-and-a-half days of conversation on topics ranging from immigration to social media, economic development to climate change, and everything in between. 

    "What starts here changes the world." As our co-host, the  Heart of Texas Peace Corps Association (HoTPCA), pointed out, this University of Texas at Austin saying applies to the shared Peace Corps experience and inspired attendees to be curious, go beyond expectations, and take what they learned in Austin back to their home communities. 
     


    The conference officially kicked off on Thursday, June 20th at the Austin Central Library with live music from RPCVs Kinky Friedman and Doster and Engle.

    On Friday, the opening plenary session featured a conversation with Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen and NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst. Afterwards, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to renew the organizations’ commitments to support the Peace Corps’ mission and continue to implement initiatives that educate the public on Peace Corps programs. “The signing of this memorandum gives returned Peace Corps Volunteers a framework for a lifetime of service,” said Jody Olsen. “I ask every person at this conference to be strong as you talk about your volunteer experiences. You are key to the next generation of Peace Corps Volunteers.

     


    Following, Kathleen Corey, President of the Women of Peace Corps Legacy, presented Sue Richiedei with the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement award for her outstanding impact on women's lives worldwide. NPCA Board Director Mariko Schmitz then presented the New York City Peace Corps Association (NYCPCA) and Peace Corps Iran Association (PCIA) with the 2019 Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service.

    Whether you served decades ago or are a recently returned Volunteer, the conference offered tremendous value and networking opportunities. The community content sessions and workshops focused on a variety of topics, including how to use technology to launch a business, innovations in global issues advocacy, transition assistance for recent RPCVs, how to harness market forces for social impact, and ways to work together to create positive political change in era of "America First." As Tom Lightbown (RPCV Niger 1965-1967) pointed out: "We made some new friends, including youngsters fresh out of service, discovered RPCVs with white hair from other countries of service with stories to tell, made some quite important contacts of value to our Guinean friend Ahmadou Baldé, and, overall, had a very positive first experience with Peace Corps Connect." 

     

     

    The energy throughout the conference was palpable, as well as the level of engagement. With interactive sessions such as "Stepping Up - Politics: The Next Level of the Third Goal" and "Be an RPCV Changemaker: Connecting via the Web to Spark Community and Economic Development in Your Peace Corps Site" participants learned strategies on how to be catalysts for change, both at home and abroad. 
     

     

    "The PC Connect Conference was both informative and inspiring. The theme of the conference was “Innovation for Good" and the breakout sessions highlighted many RPCV created programs, companies, and NGOs that contribute to that objective."Greg Polk (NM RPCV)

     

    During the Affiliate Group Network Annual Meeting, the new Divisional Board Directors were presented and representatives from NPCA Affiliate Groups shared resources and opportunities to help groups thrive.

    On Saturday, June 22, NPCA Board Director Katie Long kicked off the Annual General Membership Meeting with a special Peace Corps ukelele rendition of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," while NPCA Treasurer Patrick Fine provided a report on the financial status of the organization, and President Glenn Blumhorst outlined the successes of the past year.

    During the Pitch Competition, six entities pleaded their case for a chance to win a $2,500 cash prize. The finalist were:

    • Humans of Kiribati for its effort to save the island of Kiribati from rising sea levels
    • Peace Corps Kids for promoting a just and inclusive world through multicultural and multiracial storytelling
    • Trees for the Future's initiative Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) to break the cycle of poverty and eradicate hunger for 1 million people by planting 500 million trees in 125,000 Forest Gardens by 2025
    • Jump Finance's credit model to provide students in developing countries with the capital and mentorship to finish their post-secondary education and launch their careers
    • Teachers Training Pact, a programs for teachers who are helping transform students into successful lifelong learners
    • Tiny House Coffee, a company created by two Peace Corps Volunteers that works directly with small producer coffee farmers to guarantee them economic stability.

    Each finalist was scored based on their demonstrated social impact, innovation, sustainability, leadership, presentation, and clarity of concept. Ultimately, Jump Finance took the top prize.
     

     

    As NPCA continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary, a special retrospective took a look at our formative years from the view point of the earliest leaders of the organization with Greg Flakus, First President (1986-1989); Margaret Riley, Third President (1983-1986); and Katy Hansen, Fourth President (1986-1989).

    Attendees where also treated to a special excerpt from A Towering Task: A Peace Corps Documentary and a conversation with Director Alana DeJoseph who announced the premiere screening of the documentary is slated for September 22 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. 

    During the closing plenary, Karen Keefer, NPCA Board Emeritus and Shriver Leadership Circle member, presented Liz Fanning with the 2019 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service for her tireless efforts to create and expand CorpsAfrica, a nonprofit organization that gives young Africans the opportunity to serve like Peace Corps Volunteers in their own countries.
     

     

    The conversation then turned to a panel discussion examining the historic exodus from Central America and the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border. Reflecting on the special screening of ABRAZOS earlier in the day, a film by Luis Argueta that shows the transformational journey of a group of U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants who travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents—and in some instances their siblings—for the first time, NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst moderated a panel titled "Beyond Borders" featuring Maria Martin, Director of The Graciasvida Center for Media; John Burnett, Southwest Correspondent for National Public Radio; and Luis Argueta, acclaimed Guatemalan Film Director and Producer. The panelists underscored the need for policy solutions and the opportunities for the Peace Corps community to take action. 

     

    "We need to humanize immigrants. The global community needs to fight fiction with truth." - Luis Argueta

    After the panel, Ken Lehman, NPCA's Advisory Council Member, presented Luis Argueta with the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award. Lehman, in nominating Argueta for this award, noted that Argueta “has demonstrated that filmmakers from the developing world can produce world class stories illuminating important issues… [H]is involvement in the entire issue of Latino immigration has humanitarian dimensions, and civic meaning.”

    In accepting the award, Argueta said "tell those who are fearful of people who are not like them about your host families" and challenged us to change the immigration narrative "from one of hate to one of love...we need to remember to practice the Golden Rule."

    As the conference drew to a close, HoTPCA President Sally Waley announced Seattle as the host city for Peace Corps Connect 2020! She handed the "baton" over to Seattle Area Peace Corps Association (SEAPAX) President Brad Cleveland. The conference will have an emphasis on immigrants and refugees and will be centered around “Cultivating Connections.” While the exact dates are yet to be determined, SEAPAX leaders indicated they are looking for dates in the summer next year. Stay tuned for more information!
     

     

    For more on Peace Corps Connect, head over to our Facebook page and be sure to checkout our Twitter feed and Instagram account.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    We are mobilizing to engage the 110 House Reps who voted to eliminate Peace Corps funding in FY 2020 see more

    Last month, the House of Representatives voted 315 - 110 to reject an amendment introduced by Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) that would have slashed more than $19 billion from our international assistance programs, including the complete elimination of funding for the Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2020.

    More than 9,000 members of National Peace Corps Association's advocacy network took action to turn back this ill-conceived amendment. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to educate the 110 members of Congress who voted in favor.
     

    How Did Your Representative Vote? Find out here.

     

    IF YOU LIVE IN A DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTED IN RED, WE NEED YOU TO GET INVOLVED 

     

    Mobilization Underway

    Last week, NPCA president Glenn Blumhorst traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina where he was joined by four RPCV constituents of Congressman Walker to meet with district office staff. The group expressed strong disappointment for the introduction of the amendment, which if passed, would have abruptly ended the service for 170 serving Peace Corps Volunteers from North Carolina, including 14 from the congressman's district. The group shared how their Peace Corps service benefits the district and the state, and how Peace Corps provides a strong return each year on our nation's $410 million annual investment.

    That's not all.

    • On June 27th,  NPCA Advocacy Director Jonathan Pearson and PCV constituent Ed Seiders met with the the Tulsa district office staff of Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Hern to express dismay in Congressman Hern's vote in support of the Walker amendment.
       
    • On July 3rd, Northeast Indiana Advocacy Coordinator Faith Van Gilder attended a town hall meeting with Congressman Jim Banks and questioned him about his vote for the Walker amendment, and his own amendment that would have cut spending for Peace Corps and other international affairs programs for Fiscal Year 2020.
       
    • In West Virginia, state advocacy coordinator Scott King wrote a letter to the editor praising one member and criticizing two others for their votes on the Walker amendment. Similar action was taken in South Dakota, as this letter by RPCVs Tom Katus and Michael Saba was published.
       

    Time to Take Action and Educate Congress on the Critical Importance of the Peace Corps

    While the vote on the amendment was rejected, it is important for you to engage and educate lawmakers on the critical importance to protect the Peace Corps.

    Send A Letter to Your Representative

     

    Contact us at advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org and we will work with you to take additional action.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    The bill would provide additional federal funding and resources to advance Peace Corps’ mission. see more

    Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456), with bipartisan support. The bill’s original cosponsors include Representatives Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA) and Garret Graves (R-LA)—co-chairs of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus with Congressman Garamendi—and Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), and Donna E. Shalala (D-FL).

    The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456) would provide additional federal funding and resources to advance the Peace Corps’ mission around the world and better support current, returning, and former Peace Corps volunteers.

    Representatives Garamendi (Ethiopia 1966-1968), Kennedy (Dominican Republic 2004-2006), and Shalala (Iran 1962-1964) are returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Representative Radewagen was a former Peace Corps staffer (Northern Mariana Islands 1967-1968).

    “My wife Patti and I owe so much to our service in the Peace Corps. It inspired a lifetime of service that began in Ethiopia during the late 1960s and continued into state government in California, the Clinton Administration, and now the U.S. Congress,” said Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA). “Now more than ever, Congress must support the Peace Corps’ mission and realize President Kennedy’s vision of generations of young Americans ready to serve their nation and make the world a better place. Our reauthorization bill does exactly that, and I thank my fellow Peace Corps Caucus co-chairs and Congressional colleagues for their support as original cosponsors.”

    “At a time of unrest and uncertainty the world over, the Peace Corps embodies the very best of what America has to offer: service to others for the common cause of peace, progress, and democratic ideals. The Peace Corps Authorization Act will strengthen our country’s commitment to that mission and ensure future generations are prepared to defend this nation’s most sacred values,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA).  

    “The Peace Corps has been exporting American values for almost six decades, promoting her spirit and sowing seeds of freedom in nations across the world through its work-based service program,” said Congressman Garret Graves, Co-chair of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus. “Peace Corps volunteers – like the program itself – give more than they take and continue to deliver to taxpayers a compounded return on investment,” said Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA).

    “Since its inception, the Peace Corps has used America's greatest strength - its people - to build civil society and mutual respect between our country and the people of the world. This was true when I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and it is true today. We must continue to fully fund the Peace Corps in order to preserve this vital instrument of American values and democracy,” said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL).

    “My work with the Peace Corps was a special time in my life, and good preparation for keeping the right priorities through the years,” said Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS). “The Peace Corps is a proven program that has helped people now for so long. This is an important effort to reauthorize and strengthen the Peace Corps, while encouraging a culture of serving others and volunteering.”

    “As the Peace Corps celebrates its 58th anniversary this year, this comprehensive reauthorization bill will expand support for former and current Peace Corps volunteers and enable the Peace Corps to continue its important contribution to our global diplomacy efforts,” said Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ). “I am glad that my bill, the Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act, is included in this reauthorization, allowing those who have been a part of the Peace Corps to proudly display the insignia.”

    “National Peace Corps Association is delighted to endorse the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Congressman John Garamendi. In addition to calling for robust funding and a number of other important provisions, this legislation makes fiscally prudent strides in improving the Peace Corps’ commitment to the wellbeing of Volunteers disabled during their national service abroad,” said Glenn Blumhorst, President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association. “We thank Congressmen Garamendi for his continued commitment to the Peace Corps mission by drafting this Reauthorization which would both improve the benefits of our American Volunteers and enhance the agency’s ability to complete its legislative mandate.”

    The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456) would:

    • Authorize $450 million in yearly funding for the Peace Corps, an increase over the flat $410 million funding level provided by Congress in recent years.
    • Direct the Peace Corps to establish new volunteer opportunities that promote Internet technology-adoption in developing countries and engage tech-savvy American volunteers.
    • Increase monthly allowances for Peace Corps volunteers and leaders to $417 per month of service completed, to reflect increases in cost of living over the past several decades and provide $10,000 for a full 2-year term of service. The current monthly allowance is $350 per month, as ordered administratively by the Peace Corps Director.
    • Include the Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act (H.R.1411) sponsored by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) since 2013.
    • Extend Peace Corps volunteers’ 12-month hiring preference for most federal job openings during any federal hiring freeze, government shutdown, or while a volunteer receives federal worker’s compensation benefits for any injury during their Peace Corps service.
    • Require the Peace Corps and U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to routinely update their existing Memorandum of Agreement for Peace Corps volunteer security support and protection, in foreign countries.
    • Increase the federal workers’ compensation rate for all Peace Corps volunteers injured or disabled during their service from a GS-7 to a GS-11 level, the same rate provided for Peace Corps volunteers with dependent children under current law.

    The bipartisan bill builds upon the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-256). Congress last reauthorized the Peace Corps in 1999 (Public Law 106-30), which expired at the end of fiscal year 2003. The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456) currently awaits action by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

     Ask Your Representative to Cosponsor H.R. 3456

    Source: https://garamendi.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-garamendi-introduces-bipartisan-peace-corps-reauthorization-act

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Peace Corps was one of a number of international affairs programs on the chopping block see more

    Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives came together Tuesday evening to soundly reject a proposal to re-allocate foreign assistance funding in Fiscal Year 2020, including the elimination of all House funds slated for the Peace Corps. 

    An amendment to the State/Foreign Operations funding package to cut just over $19 billion in foreign assistance programs was defeated by a vote of 315 to 110. 81 House Republicans joined 234 House Democrats to defeat the amendment.

    In bringing forth the amendment last week, Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) argued that funds needed to be re-allocated, to compensate for an earlier House vote to provide $19 billion to fund disaster relief assistance around the country. Included in his amendment was the complete elimination of $425 million proposed for the Peace Corps for the fiscal year that begins in October. 

    "We must prioritize our domestic needs first," Walker said during debate on his amendment last Thursday.

    "How are these cuts in our national interest?", countered House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). Lowey referenced Peace Corps Volunteers in her remarks, saying "7,200 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving as excellent representatives of the United States."

     

    Peace Corps Community Response

    Over the last several days, members and friends of the Peace Corps community sent at least 9,000 communications to their House representatives. Every House member heard from at least one constituent on this issue, and nearly 70 percent of House members received ten or more communications - in some cases, many, many more!

    "We applaud the strong, bipartisan rejection of this ill-conceived amendment," said National Peace Corps Association President Glenn Blumhorst. "I thank all NPCA members and friends of the Peace Corps community who spoke with one voice about the value of Peace Corps - not just for people around the world, but also for communities here at home when returning volunteers continue their commitment to serving others."
     

    How Did Your Representative Vote?

    Follow this link to see if your House Rep was among the 315 members who voted to defeat the Walker amendment.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Mobilize others to sign this petition to Congress see more

    We share a letter from members of the Peace Corps community urging support for the Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act. Take action after you read it!
     

    Dear Members and Friends of the Peace Corps Community,

    We write to you as Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and/or former staff who served in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

    As many from our generation of service are growing older, we imagine many share our view that we would like to be able to have our Peace Corps service recognized by allowing the placement of the official Peace Corps seal or emblem at gravesites and in death notices.

    Unfortunately, the use of the seal or emblem for this purpose is not specified as an allowed use under the Peace Corps Act. Because of this, it is illegal to use the Peace Corps symbol for this purpose.

    Thankfully, a bill in the House of Representatives – H.R. 1411 – has been introduced in Congress to make a simple fix – change the Peace Corps Act so the seal or emblem can be used at gravesites and in death notices.*

    The bill has not yet passed – not necessarily because of opposition, but more likely because of limited attention given to it.

    We are working with National Peace Corps Association to pass this bill. But we need your help.

    Please follow this link so you can sign a petition to Congress, offer a comment and help us pass this simple, sensible legislation to honor Peace Corps service.

    Thank you for your Peace Corps service and your consideration of this request.

    Sincerely,

    Robert C. Terry, Staff, East Pakistan/Bangladesh (1961-63)
    Judith H. Whitney-Terry, Honduras (1987-88)

    Orleans, MA

     

    Jack Wilson, Liberia (1962-64); Staff, Sierra Leone (1966-68); Director, Fiji (1970-72)
    Angene H. Wilson, Liberia (1962-64)

    Lexington, KY

     

    Will Irwin, Afghanistan (1966-67)
    Frances Hopkins Irwin, Afghanistan (1964-67)

    Bethesda, MD

     

    * Work is underway to have a similar bill introduced in the United States Senate

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Proposal would add $15 million to Peace Corps budget see more

    The House of Representatives Subcommittee which has responsibility for funding our nation’s international affairs programs has recommended a 3.5 percent increase in funding for the Peace Corps for the Fiscal Year that begins next October (FY 2020).

    (UPDATE: On Thursday, May 16th, the full House Appropriations Committee approved a spending package that includes the recommended $425 million for Peace Corps. The international affairs funding package will next head to the House floor for a vote.)

    At a meeting last Friday, the Appropriations Subcommittee for State/Foreign Operations approved a spending plan that includes $425 million for the Peace Corps, up from the current funding level of $410.5 million. This was part of a $56.4 billion spending package for international affairs programs. That’s a proposed four percent ($2.2 billion) increase in overall spending.

    The proposed increase in Peace Corps funding is in contrast to the Trump Administration's budget, which called for a $14 million cut in funding. At the same time, it falls short of the $450 million requested by 181 House members in a letter to the subcommittee.

    The Senate's version of the State/Foreign Operations bill has not advanced as far as the House has at this time. Meanwhile, other challenges to address the overall budget and appropriations process have yet to be addressed, and could significantly impact final funding levels and the possibility of another government shutdown in the fall.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    You took action - Your members of Congress responded see more

    Each spring, the Peace Corps community mobilizes to support letters issued in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives urging robust funding for the Peace Corps.

    Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) circulated a Dear Colleague letter asking for an increase in Peace Corps funding, and the Peace Corps community responded. The Dear Colleague letter, an official correspondence sent by Members of Congress to encourage others to support or oppose a bill, received a record 41 signatures this year. That number surpassed the previous high of 37 signatures, achieved in both 2009 and 2018. 

    Coupled with a record breaking House Dear Colleague letter and its 181 signatures, a combined 222 lawmakers, representing 41 percent of Congress (also a new record), demonstrated strong support for the Peace Corps. With such a high number of signatures, it is more likely that Congress will include an increase in Peace Corps's budget for the 2020 Fiscal Year.

    To read the Senate letter, follow this link.

    If you Senator(s) are listed below, follow this link to call or write them to thank them for signing the bi-partisan Isakson-Feinstein Peace Corps funding letter!

     

    Senators who signed the Isakson-Feinstein Peace Corps Funding Letter

     

    ARIZONA

    Kyrsten Sinema

     

    CALIFORNIA

    Dianne Feinstein (co-author)

     

    COLORADO

    Michael Bennet

     

    CONNECTICUT

    Richard Blumenthal

    Chris Murphy

     

    DELAWARE

    Tom Carper

    Chris Coons

     

    GEORGIA

    Johnny Isakson (co-author)

     

    HAWAII

    Mazie Hirono

    Brian Schatz

     

    ILLINOIS

    Tammy Duckworth

     

    MAINE

    Susan Collins

    Angus King

     

    MARYLAND

    Ben Cardin

    Chris Van Hollen

     

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Ed Markey

    Eliabeth Warren

     

    MICHIGAN

    Gary Peters

    Debbie Stabenow

     

    MINNESOTA

    Amy Klobuchar

    Tina Smith

     

    MONTANA

    Jon Tester

     

    NEVADA 

    Catherine Cortez Masto

    Jacky Rosen

     

    NEW HAMPSHIRE

    Maggie Hassan

    Jeanne Shaheen

     

    NEW JERSEY

    Cory Booker

    Robert Menendez

     

    NEW MEXICO

    Martin Heinrich

     

    NEW YORK

    Kirsten Gillibrand

     

    NORTH CAROLINA

    Thom Tillis

     

    OHIO

    Sherrod Brown

     

    OREGON

    Jeff Merkley

    Ron Wyden

     

    RHODE ISLAND

    Jack Reed

     

    VERMONT

    Bernie Sanders

     

    VIRGINIA

    Tim Kaine

    Mark Warner

     

    WASHINGTON

    Maria Cantwell

     

    WEST VIRGINIA

    Joe Manchin

     

    WISCONSIN

    Tammy Baldwin

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    A record number of Representatives ask for an extra $40 million for the agency see more

    A record number of 181 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter calling for a $40 million increase for the Peace Corps!

    The letter, which was drafted by National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), was circulated by the three co-chairs of the House Peace Corps Caucus: RPCV Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA) and Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), and fellow Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA).

    172 Democrats (making up 73% of House Democrats) and nine Republicans signed the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee for State/Foreign Operations requesting an increase in funding for the fiscal year that begins this coming October from $410.5 million currently to $450 million. Thirty-five new members of Congress also signed the letter.

    NPCA advocates from all fifty states sent more than 2,000 messages to Congress in the past week, urging members to sign the letter.

     

     

    Help keep our efforts going by investing in our advocacy program today!

    Donate

     

    Take Action - Say Thank You!

    The following members of the House of Representatives signed the Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter. If your representative is listed below, contact them and say "thank you for signing the Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter."
     

    ALABAMA

    • Terri Sewell

     

    ALASKA

    • Don Young

     

    AMERICAN SAMOA

    • Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen

     

    ARIZONA

    • Ruben Gallego
    • Raul Grijalva

     

    CALIFORNIA

    • Karen Bass
    • Ami Bera
    • Julia Brownley
    • Salud Carbajal
    • Tony Cardenas
    • Judy Chu
    • Gilbert Cisneros
    • Jim Costa
    • Susan Davis
    • Mark Desaulnier
    • Anna Eshoo
    • John Garamendi (co-author)
    • Jimmy Gomez
    • Katie Hill
    • Ro Khanna
    • Doug LaMalfa
    • Barbara Lee
    • Mike Levin
    • Ted Lieu
    • Zoe Lofgren
    • Alan Lowenthal
    • Doris Matsui
    • Jerry McNerney
    • Grace Napolitano
    • Jimmy Panetta
    • Scott Peters
    • Katie Porter
    • Harley Rouda
    • Lucille Roybal-Allard
    • Linda Sanchez
    • Adam Schiff
    • Jackie Speier
    • Eric Swalwell
    • Mark Takano
    • Juan Vargas
    • Maxine Waters

     

    COLORADO

    • Diana DeGette
    • Joe Neguse
    • Ed Perlmutter

     

    CONNECTICUT

    • Joe Courtney
    • Rosa DeLauro
    • Jahana Hayes
    • Jim Himes
    • John Larson

     

    DELAWARE

    • Lisa Blunt Rochester

     

    DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

    • Eleanor Holmes Norton

     

    FLORIDA

    • Kathy Castor
    • Ted Deutch
    • Alcee Hastings
    • Al Lawson
    • Stephanie Murphy
    • Donna Shalala
    • Darren Soto
    • Frederica Wilson

     

    GEORGIA

    • Sanford Bishop
    • Hank Johnson
    • John Lewis
    • David Scott

     

    GUAM

    • Michael F.Q. San Nicolas

     

    HAWAII

    • Tulsi Gabbard

     

    ILLINOIS

    • Cheri Bustos
    • Sean Casten
    • Danny Davis
    • Bill Foster
    • Jesus Garcia
    • Robin Kelly
    • Daniel Lipinski
    • Bobby Rush
    • Jan Schakowsky
    • Brad Schneider

     

    INDIANA

    • Andre Carson

     

    IOWA

    • Cynthia Axne
    • Dave Loebsack

     

    KENTUCKY

    • Andy Barr
    • John Yarmuth

     

    LOUISIANA

    • Garrett Graves (co-author)
    • Cedric Richmond

     

    MAINE

    • Jared Golden
    • Chellie Pingree

     

    MARYLAND

    • Anthony Brown
    • Elijah Cummings
    • Jamie Raskin
    • Dutch Ruppersberger
    • John Sarbanes
    • David Trone

     

    MASSACHUSETTS

    • William Keating
    • Joseph Kennedy III (co-author)
    • Stephen Lynch
    • James McGovern
    • Seth Moulton
    • Richard Neal
    • Ayanna Pressley
    • Lori Trahan

     

    MICHIGAN

    • Debbie Dingell
    • Dan Kildee
    • Andy Levin
    • Elissa Slotkin

     

    MINNESOTA

    • Angie Craig
    • Jim Hagedorn
    • Collin Peterson

     

    MISSISSIPPI

    • Bennie Thompson

     

    MISSOURI

    • Emanuel Cleaver

     

    NEVADA

    • Susie Lee
    • Dina Titus

     

    NEW HAMPSHIRE

    • Ann McLane Kuster
    • Chris Pappas

     

    NEW JERSEY

    • Josh Gottheimer
    • Andy Kim
    • Tom Malinowski
    • Donald Norcross
    • Bill Pascrell Jr.
    • Frank Pallone Jr. 
    • Donald Payne Jr.
    • Mikie Sherrill
    • Albio Sires
    • Jeff Van Drew

     

    NEW MEXICO

    • Deb Haaland
    • Ben Ray Lujan

     

    NEW YORK

    • Yvette Clarke
    • Antonio Delgado
    • Eliot Engel
    • Adriano Espaillat
    • Brian Higgins
    • Hakeem Jeffries
    • John Katko
    • Carolyn Maloney
    • Sean Patrick Maloney
    • Gregory Meeks
    • Joseph Morelle
    • Jerry Nadler
    • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    • Kathleen Rice
    • Thomas Suozzi
    • Paul Tonko
    • Nydia Velazquez

     

    NORTH CAROLINA

    • Alma Adams
    • G.K. Butterfield

     

    NORTHERN MARIANAS ISLANDS

    • Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan

     

    OHIO

    • Joyce Beatty
    • Marcia Fudge

     

    OREGON

    • Earl Blumenauer
    • Suzanne Bonamici
    • Peter DeFazio

     

    PENNSYLVANIA

    • Brendan Boyle
    • Mike Doyle
    • Dwight Evans
    • Brian Fitzpatrick
    • Susan Wild

     

    PUERTO RICO

    • Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon

     

    RHODE ISLAND

    • David Cicilline
    • Jim Langevin

     

    TENNESSEE

    • Steve Cohen

     

    TEXAS

    • Colin Allred
    • Joaquin Castro
    • Lloyd Doggett
    • Veronica Escobar
    • Al Green
    • Sheila Jackson Lee
    • Eddie Bernice Johnson
    • Marc Veasey
    • Filemon Vela

     

    VERMONT

    • Peter Welch

     

    VIRGINIA

    • Don Beyer
    • Gerald Connolly
    • Donald McEachin
    • Bobby Scott
    • Abigail Spanberger
    • Jennifer Wexton

     

    WASHINGTON

    • Suzan DelBene
    • Denny Heck
    • Pramila Jayapal
    • Rick Larsen
    • Kim Schrier
    • Adam Smith

     

    WISCONSIN

    • Ron Kind
    • Gwen Moore

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    A Dear Colleague letter critical to the fate of Peace Corps funding is circulating in Congress see more

    We will need strong support from the House of Representatives in order to see a Peace Corps funding increase in the fiscal year that begins next October (FY 2020).

    Here's why.

    Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and Garret Graves (R-LA) are circulating their annual Peace Corps funding letter. This letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations asks that Peace Corps funding for FY 2020 be increased by nearly ten percent, to $450 million. This increase would follow four consecutive years of flat funding for the Peace Corps.

    This letter carries great weight because of the high number of signatures it normally receives. Those signatures don’t come easy, and don’t happen without your involvement.

    As this year's letter winds down, we have surpassed last year's record of 180 signatures. Congratulations!

     

    TAKE ACTION - 3 SIMPLE STEPS

     

     

     

     

    The following members of the House of Representatives have signed the Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter. Contact them and say thank you!

     

    (Last updated Thursday, March 28th, 2:00 PM - Please bookmark this page and return for regular updates!)

     

    Current Number of Signatures: 181
     

    ALABAMA

    • Terri Sewell

     

    ALASKA

    • Don Young

     

    AMERICAN SAMOA

    • Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen

     

    ARIZONA

    • Ruben Gallego
    • Raul Grijalva

     

    CALIFORNIA

    • Karen Bass
    • Ami Bera
    • Julia Brownley
    • Salud Carbajal
    • Tony Cardenas
    • Judy Chu
    • Gilbert Cisneros
    • Jim Costa
    • Susan Davis
    • Mark Desaulnier
    • Anna Eshoo
    • John Garamendi (co-author)
    • Jimmy Gomez
    • Katie Hill
    • Ro Khanna
    • Doug LaMalfa
    • Barbara Lee
    • Mike Levin
    • Ted Lieu
    • Zoe Lofgren
    • Alan Lowenthal
    • Doris Matsui
    • Jerry McNerney
    • Grace Napolitano
    • Jimmy Panetta
    • Scott Peters
    • Katie Porter
    • Harley Rouda
    • Lucille Roybal-Allard
    • Linda Sanchez
    • Adam Schiff
    • Jackie Speier
    • Eric Swalwell
    • Mark Takano
    • Juan Vargas
    • Maxine Waters

     

    COLORADO

    • Diana DeGette
    • Joe Neguse
    • Ed Perlmutter

     

    CONNECTICUT

    • Joe Courtney
    • Rosa DeLauro
    • Jahana Hayes
    • Jim Himes
    • John Larson

     

    DELAWARE

    • Lisa Blunt Rochester

     

    DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

    • Eleanor Holmes Norton

     

    FLORIDA

    • Kathy Castor
    • Ted Deutch
    • Alcee Hastings
    • Al Lawson
    • Stephanie Murphy
    • Donna Shalala
    • Darren Soto
    • Frederica Wilson

     

    GEORGIA

    • Sanford Bishop
    • Hank Johnson
    • John Lewis
    • David Scott

     

    GUAM

    • Michael F.Q. San Nicolas

     

    HAWAII

    • Tulsi Gabbard

     

    ILLINOIS

    • Cheri Bustos
    • Sean Casten
    • Danny Davis
    • Bill Foster
    • Jesus Garcia
    • Robin Kelly
    • Daniel Lipinski
    • Bobby Rush
    • Jan Schakowsky
    • Brad Schneider

     

    INDIANA

    • Andre Carson

     

    IOWA

    • Cynthia Axne
    • Dave Loebsack

     

    KENTUCKY

    • Andy Barr
    • John Yarmuth

     

    LOUISIANA

    • Garrett Graves (co-author)
    • Cedric Richmond

     

    MAINE

    • Jared Golden
    • Chellie Pingree

     

    MARYLAND

    • Anthony Brown
    • Elijah Cummings
    • Jamie Raskin
    • Dutch Ruppersberger
    • John Sarbanes
    • David Trone

     

    MASSACHUSETTS

    • William Keating
    • Joseph Kennedy III (co-author)
    • Stephen Lynch
    • James McGovern
    • Seth Moulton
    • Richard Neal
    • Ayanna Pressley
    • Lori Trahan

     

    MICHIGAN

    • Debbie Dingell
    • Dan Kildee
    • Andy Levin
    • Elissa Slotkin

     

    MINNESOTA

    • Angie Craig
    • Jim Hagedorn
    • Collin Peterson

     

    MISSISSIPPI

    • Bennie Thompson

     

    MISSOURI

    • Emanuel Cleaver

     

    NEVADA

    • Susie Lee
    • Dina Titus

     

    NEW HAMPSHIRE

    • Ann McLane Kuster
    • Chris Pappas

     

    NEW JERSEY

    • Josh Gottheimer
    • Andy Kim
    • Tom Malinowski
    • Donald Norcross
    • Bill Pascrell Jr.
    • Frank Pallone Jr. 
    • Donald Payne Jr.
    • Mikie Sherrill
    • Albio Sires
    • Jeff Van Drew

     

    NEW MEXICO

    • Deb Haaland
    • Ben Ray Lujan

     

    NEW YORK

    • Yvette Clarke
    • Antonio Delgado
    • Eliot Engel
    • Adriano Espaillat
    • Brian Higgins
    • Hakeem Jeffries
    • John Katko
    • Carolyn Maloney
    • Sean Patrick Maloney
    • Gregory Meeks
    • Joseph Morelle
    • Jerry Nadler
    • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    • Kathleen Rice
    • Thomas Suozzi
    • Paul Tonko
    • Nydia Velazquez

     

    NORTH CAROLINA

    • Alma Adams
    • G.K. Butterfield

     

    NORTHERN MARIANAS ISLANDS

    • Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan

     

    OHIO

    • Joyce Beatty
    • Marcia Fudge

     

    OREGON

    • Earl Blumenauer
    • Suzanne Bonamici
    • Peter DeFazio

     

    PENNSYLVANIA

    • Brendan Boyle
    • Mike Doyle
    • Dwight Evans
    • Brian Fitzpatrick
    • Susan Wild

     

    PUERTO RICO

    • Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon

     

    RHODE ISLAND

    • David Cicilline
    • Jim Langevin

     

    TENNESSEE

    • Steve Cohen

     

    TEXAS

    • Colin Allred
    • Joaquin Castro
    • Lloyd Doggett
    • Veronica Escobar
    • Al Green
    • Sheila Jackson Lee
    • Eddie Bernice Johnson
    • Marc Veasey
    • Filemon Vela

     

    VERMONT

    • Peter Welch

     

    VIRGINIA

    • Don Beyer
    • Gerald Connolly
    • Donald McEachin
    • Bobby Scott
    • Abigail Spanberger
    • Jennifer Wexton

     

    WASHINGTON

    • Suzan DelBene
    • Denny Heck
    • Pramila Jayapal
    • Rick Larsen
    • Kim Schrier
    • Adam Smith

     

    WISCONSIN

    • Ron Kind
    • Gwen Moore

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    The President has proposed reduced Peace Corps funding for the third consecutive year. see more

    For the third consecutive year, President Trump is recommending a reduction in funding for the Peace Corps. The president's request of $396 million for the agency in Fiscal Year 2020 would represent a slightly more than three percent cut in funding.

    It has been more than 35 years since a president has proposed consistent cuts in Peace Corps funding to Congress.

    "It is disappointing that the President has recommended this cut in Peace Corps' funding, especially as the number of citizens applying for Peace Corps service continues to be far higher than the number of available positions," said National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. "Thankfully, Congress has spoken with a bipartisan voice to reject such cuts in the past. We hope they will do so again."

    The proposed reduction in Peace Corps spending was part of a much larger 24 percent cut to the nation's International Affairs Budget. The US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) called those level of cuts "dangerous and disproportionate." Read the full USGLC statement here.

     

    Taking Action for a Funding Increase

    On February 28th, 125 NPCA advocates traversed Capitol Hill to meet with congressional offices and recommend $450 million for Peace Corps for the fiscal year that begins next October 1. Peace Corps has been operating for the past four fiscal years with a budget of roughly $410 million.

    Nearly 1,000 messages have been sent to Congress so far during NPCA's National Days of Action.

    Tell Congress to support strong Peace Corps funding and promote other pending legislation.

    Contact william@peacecorpsconnect.org if you want to assist with upcoming advocacy mobilization concerning funding for the Peace Corps.

     

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Peace Corps funding, RPCV health and honoring service were all on our Capitol Hill advocacy agenda see more

    Once again this year, NPCA marked Peace Corps Week by kicking off its 15th Annual National Day of Action, urging our community to reach out to Congress in support of the Peace Corps.

    Approximately 125 passionate advocates joined us on Capitol Hill for more than 160 meetings with congressional offices.

    Was it the best Day of Action ever?

    The answer: Not yet.

     

    NPCA on the Hill

    "We had a great day on Capitol Hill," said NPCA Advocacy Director Jonathan Pearson. "But the work is actually just beginning. We laid a great foundation for our efforts to increase funding for the Peace Corps, raise the disability pay for RPCVs with serious service-related injuries or illness, and honor RPCV service by allowing the Peace Corps logo to be used at gravesites or in death notices. Our efforts in the coming weeks and months will determine how successful we are in addressing these items and helping the Peace Corps be the best it can be."

     

     

    "Every year I've seen in the Peace Corps news that funding for the organization stays strong. I might have sent a scripted message or two to my elected officials advocating for Peace Corps. But I never realized the efforts that go into securing the budget that the agency needs to thrive, sometimes even in an adverse political climate when other international programs are getting slashed. Taking part in the NPCA Capitol Hill advocacy day gave me just a small glimpse of what it takes ... and wow. This was such a well organized event.... the amount of prep work the NPCA advocacy team did to prepare for it must have been extraordinary. As a first timer it gave a bit of a thrill to run all over Capitol Hill and visit the offices of 18 elected officials from Illinois to talk up the NPCA / Peace Corps agenda. We had sit-down meetings with 6 of them. Best part of the day was meeting with an Illinois congressman whose son recently started Peace Corps training. We talked about the Peace Corps budget and all, but at the end of the day, he was a dad, and we chatted about the realities of training, personal safety, how often to send mail, paying customs on care packages, and when to make a family visit. It brought it back to what the Peace Corps is all about, making personal connections. So much fun. Would recommend it to anyone.... see our legislative process at work. Hoping I can make it again next year." 

     -Kathryn Hall (Costa Rica 1985-1987)

    Take Action Now

    Your help is needed! Here is how you get started:

    • Contact Congress: In the past several days, more than 750 messages have been sent to Congress on key Peace Corps issues. We need thousands more. Follow this link and send a quick message to your lawmakers now.
    • Organize an Activity: Our National Days of Action continue! Help us make this a nationwide effort by organizing an event in your hometown: host a letter writing gathering, request a district office meeting with your lawmaker(s), or hold an advocacy training. Your first step? Register your event here.

     

    Take A Look Back

    Check out NPCA on Facebook and Twitter to see photos and other information from our Capitol Hill Day of Action.

     

     Our success requires your support! Make a donation to NPCA advocacy efforts here.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    We're gearing up for our annual National Days of Action starting with Capitol Hill on February 28th see more

    2019 marks the 15th consecutive year that National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is mobilizing the Peace Corps community during Peace Corps week in order to advance our goal to help the Peace Corps be the best it can be.

    That effort will involve a push to secure the first increase in funding for the agency in nearly five years, continue to seek health care improvements for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who come home with service related illnesses or injuries, and advance legislation that honor and respect Peace Corps service.

     

     

    We Need YOU

    From the hallways of Congress to the main streets of your local communities, we need your involvement during an uncertain political environment. There is no more important way to bring the world home than sharing your views on Peace Corps service with your members of Congress.

    As we prepare for our National Days of Action, here’s how you can help.

    1. Join us on Capitol Hill: Register now for our February 28th Capitol Hill advocacy day. We need 200 committed advocates to bring the Peace Corps message to all 535 congressional offices. No prior experience is necessary, but we need you to register no later than February 10th.
    2. Organize a Solidarity Event Back Home: We need activity in all fifty states! From February through April, RPCVs will be organizing district office meetings with members of congress, conducting phone call and letter writing gatherings, and educating friends and neighbors on the importance of supporting the Peace Corps. Even if you don’t have key details planned, sign up here today so we can help you plan your local solidarity event.
    3. Write Your Lawmakers Right Now: Take five minutes right now to write your elected representatives. With the new Congress one week into their job, congratulate your lawmaker(s), wish them well and introduce them to key Peace Corps initiatives as we move forward.

    Be sure to visit NPCA’s advocacy webpages in the coming weeks to stay up-to-date on developments as we build towards our National Days of Action.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    You can be a citizen advocate on Peace Corps issues in your own backyard. see more

    2019 is going to be a big year for NPCA advocacy efforts, and it all starts with our 15th annual National Days of Action, running from February 28th through April. During that period, we want every state to have one or more advocacy related activity. From organizing a district office meeting with your new member of Congress to incorporating letter writing on key Peace Corps policy issues into a planned pot luck dinner or happy hour, we need you to share your volunteer experience and let your elected representatives know why a strong and well-funded Peace Corps is important to our nation.

    Let's Get Started

    Register here if you can help lead on one (or more) activities in your area. Even if you don't know all the details for your event, sign up now so we can start assisting you with your plans. As we move towards March NPCA advocacy staff will support you with details on issues, facts and key talking points to support your work.

    We're getting ready.  All we need is your passion, energy and commitment!

     

    (Photo: During the 2018 National Days of Action, Buffalo RPCVs organized several activities including a district meeting with staff of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins)