Advocacy

  • 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!

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    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)

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Help us bring 200 advocates to Capitol Hill see more

    For the past fourteen years, National Peace Corps Association's contribution to Peace Corps Week has been devoted to raising the collective voice of our community to urge Congress to support measures aimed at strengthening and improving the Peace Corps. Over those years, that day has served as a launch point leading to tens of millions of additional dollars to support Peace Corps programming, and legislation enhancing Peace Corps health, safety and recognition.

    Now, as we prepare for the 15th annual Capitol Hill Day of Action, you can make plans to join in!

    We will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday, February 28, 2019. On this day we will urge strong funding for the Peace Corps, explain why Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who come home with service-related illnesses or injuries need further support, and promote other forms of recognition for Peace Corps service.

    Will you be one of the Peace Corps voices on Capitol Hill February 28th?

    Register for NPCA's Capitol Hill National Day of Action right now...right here

     

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Donna Shalala will join John Garamendi and Joe Kennedy III in the House of Representatives see more

    A national election of many firsts included this: among the more than 100 women who will serve within the new House of Representatives next January will be the first female Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) to serve in Congress.

    In Miami, Iran RPCV Donna Shalala secured just under 52% of the vote to win the open seat in Florida’s 27th district. Shalala will join fellow RPCVs John Garamendi (Ethiopia) and Joseph Kennedy III (Dominican Republic) in the new, 116th Congress. Garamendi, representing California’s 3rd district, captured 57% of the vote to win his sixth term in Congress. Kennedy, who ran unopposed in Massachusetts’ 4th district, was re-elected Tuesday to his fourth term in office.

    Three other RPCVs running for Congress were defeated in their efforts to unseat incumbents. In Ohio, 4th district Micronesia RPCV Janet Garrett and 15th district Morocco RPCV Rick Neal lost in races against incumbents Jim Jordan and Steve Stivers. Meanwhile in Utah, Moldova RPCV Shireen Ghorbani was defeated in her effort to unseat incumbent Congressman Chris Stewart.

    Wolf Re-Elected

    Tuesday night also saw the return of Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania Governor’s residence. The India RPCV was re-elected to a second term, winning nearly 58% of the vote.

    Numerous other RPCVs ran for state and local office on Tuesday. Among those who were victorious were Panama RPCV Shenna Bellows, who was re-elected to the Maine State Senate. Just to the west in New Hampshire, Jamaica RPCV Matt Towne won an open seat in the state legislature.

    Several RPCV lawmakers won election to state legislatures while running unopposed. They included newcomer Jon Santiago (Dominican Republic) in Massachusetts and incumbents Arthur Orr (Nepal) in Alabama and Jeni Arndt (Mozambique) in Colorado. Also in Colorado, Fort Collins State Senator John Kefalas (El Salvador) left his position and won election to serve as a Larimer County Commissioner.

    Get Ready to Work

    As we prepare our Peace Corps policy agenda for the next Congress, we will need your involvement as we also prepare for our 15th annual National Days of Action, starting on February 28th. Contact us today at advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org so we can start planning for your participation!

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Now it's your turn - Send your Peace Corps funding letter to the president! see more

    When the Peace Corps community comes together we have a collective, powerful voice! That is certainly the case with our amazing, energetic affiliate groups.

    As the Trump administration prepares the fiscal year 2020 budget it will present to Congress next February, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) sent this letter signed by representatives of 109 affiliate groups requesting a “modest but meaningful funding increase” for the agency.

    This annual letter serves as our initial volley in the federal appropriations process and it could not happen without people like Gregory Jones, President of the Friends of Nigeria (FON), who has regularly signed the letter on behalf of the 1,700 FON members. "It is a privilege to endorse this appeal for funding for the Peace Corps organized by the NPCA. FON represents a group of volunteers who served in a country that has not had Peace Corps volunteers since 1972, so for most of us the experience was 50 or more years ago.  It still ranks as a highlight in our lives, and we are eager to urge the President and Congress to make that experience available to a full cadre of current volunteers."

    That sentiment was echoed by Gloria Levin, President of Amigos de Bolivia y Peru. "We urge the support for all three of Peace Corps' founding three goals, viewing all three as interactive and critical to assure that Peace Corps' magic will endure. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers' organizations provide us the platform for our collective voices to be be heard by decision makers regarding the size of Peace Corps' budget and allocations among priorities." 

    Funding for the Peace Corps has been steady – from a dollar value – at $410 million for the past four years. But citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that letter contends when adjusted for inflation, Peace Corps should be at more than $430 million today. “Because of this decline in purchasing power, the agency faces a difficult choice of reducing the number of volunteer opportunities or reducing important, staffing, training or services that support volunteers in the field.”

    "No matter who may be in office, it is of extreme importance to remind Congress just how far US tax dollars go by funding the Peace Corps", said Jessica Szalawiga, President of the Kansas City Area Peace Corps Association. "We understand the impact that a collective call to action can have. The Peace Corps experience leads to continued service to our country through serving our individual communities."

     

    Your Turn – Write to the President!

    Our affiliate groups have taken action. Now it is your turn! During the past two years, President Trump has proposed consecutive funding cuts to the Peace Corps – something no president has done in nearly 35 years, since the days of President Reagan, when his nominee to direct the Peace Corps – Loret Miller Ruppe – is widely credited with saving the Peace Corps!

    Follow this link to send your message to the president.

    Then, follow this link to help us ensure a strong and vibrant Peace Corps moving forward.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Bill named after former RPCV Congressman and PCV who died in service passes unanimously see more

    Monday evening, the United States Senate - on a unanimous voice vote - gave final congressional approval to legislation aimed at further reforming Peace Corps health and safety legislation.

    The legislation now heads to President Trump for his signature.

    Back in July, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 2259, "The Sam Farr, Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act," bringing together various components of earlier bills put forward in the House by Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), and in the Senate by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

    "The congressional champions of H.R. 2259 worked with steadfast commitment to pass this legislation", said Glenn Blumhorst, President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association. "We are grateful for their bi-partisan and bi-cameral efforts to make sure the important provisions in this bill are on their way to the president for his signature."

    Read this press release from Senator Corker, following last night's Senate vote.

    Read this press release from Congressman Poe.

    Follow this link to read the final version of the legislation.

    "Passage of this legislation was not easy and did not come about without significant compromise and some disappointment," said Blumhorst. "However, the end product provides a number of critical reforms that will increase transparency for applicants seeking Peace Corps assignments, strengthen the qualifications of overseas health care personnel, and continue to ensure attention and support for Peace Corps survivors of sexual assault or other forms of violence."

    "We are grateful to the NPCA affiliate Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers (HJPCV) for their tireless, longstanding advocacy to advance health improvements for the Peace Corps community. We are equally grateful to Sue and Dave Castle, whose Peace Corps son Nick gave the ultimate sacrifice, for converting their deep despair into determined advocacy to make sure future volunteers don't succumb to failures in the delivery of timely health care to volunteers. These leaders were backed up by several thousand Peace Corps community members who called, wrote or visited their lawmakers to urge passage of this bill."

    In Senator Corker's press release, Sue and Dave Castle said they hope this legislation will make changes to in-service health care so other families won't face a similar fate. "Nick wanted to make a difference in this world, but he didn't have time to do that. We hope with the passing of this legislation that he can make a true lasting impact on the Peace Corps.”

    Leaders of HJPCV issued the following  statement: "Representative Poe and his team drafted a terrific initial piece of legislation to assist those of us that come back from our service to our country sick or injured. Granted, it was a baby step in rectifying our access to adequate care, but we are grateful for the opportunity to share our stories and struggles on the Hill. After lobbying for nearly a year and a half, the Senate passed a watered down version of the original legislation that Poe and his team had spent years on. While the final legislation still lacks key provisions including an increase in the disability wage level that Representative Poe regretted was not included, we’re so thankful to him and his team for bringing our issues to light and for hearing and believing us. The fight isn’t over, but today we celebrate the small victory that is HR 2259, and hope the president will sign it into law." 

     

     

     

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Legislation heads back to Senate for further consideration. see more

    With praise for the mission of the Peace Corps and the work of its volunteers, and acknowledgement that more needs to be done to improve volunteer health care, safety and security, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Peace Corps health/safety legislation (H.R. 2259) late Tuesday afternoon.

    The revised House bill, renamed the "Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018", now goes back to the United States Senate for further consideration. Earlier this year, Senators unanimously passed its version of the legislation (S. 2286) introduced by Bob Corker (R-TN) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The Senate can either approve the House version of the legislation and send it on to the president, or negotiate with the House on a final compromise bill, in order to address several issues where differences remain.

    A CRUCIAL STEP

    Speaking on the House floor, the sponsor of H.R. 2259, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) noted that he, like many members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), try to meet with volunteers when traveling overseas. "One thing is universally true," he said. "They love being a Peace Corps Volunteer." Congressman Poe added that over the years when he has met volunteers who share stories of when the agency or other parts of the federal bureaucracy let them down and bad things happen, those volunteers would make clear and still speak of their love for the Peace Corps. 

    But Poe also emphasized more needs to be done to assist volunteers - who he often refers to as "America's Angels Abroad." During his floor remarks, the congressman reflected on the experiences and ongoing challenges of RPCVs Jennifer Mamola and Sara Thompson, who along with founder Nancy Tongue are leaders of the affiliate group Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, which has led efforts for years to bring attention to the needs of returning volunteers who come home injured or sick. He also reflected on the death of China volunteer Nick Castle, who fell ill and did not get adequate medical attention (Nick's parents Sue and Dave have also been leading advocates in advancing the legislation). In noting he has heard too many stories of volunteers struggling to get needed care, Poe emphasized that "Our government should work to help the Peace Corps Volunteers."

    Similar sentiments were expressed on the other side of the aisle. RPCV Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA), the lead co-sponsor of H.R. 2259, spoke of the friendship he received from people who did not know him nearly fifteen years ago as he began his Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic, while also recognizing the "extraordinary generosity of spirit" volunteers bring to countries around the world. The Ranking member of the HFAC, Eliot Engle (D-NY) said volunteers "show our values, generosity and compassion" to the world, adding that "we must do what we can to keep our current volunteers safe."

    BILL BACKGROUND

    Both bills will strengthen the criteria in Peace Corps' selection of overseas medical staff, re-authorize important provisions of the 2011 Kate Puzey Act which established an Office of Victim Advocacy and Sexual Assault Advisory Council, advance additional reporting - and more transparency - on the experiences of serving and returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), and extend existing health care coverage for service related injuries to four months for RPCVs. Read this press release from Congressman Poe.

    NPCA supports final passage of the House version of the bill, which in several instances has stronger, more impactful language to protect and support those volunteers who are applying for and serving with the Peace Corps. 

    In securing unanimous passage in both chambers, key provisions to further address the health needs of RPCVs who come home with service related health issues were removed from the legislation, due to cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and/or jurisdictional issues with other legislative committees.

    TAKE ACTION NOW:

    With only a few months of legislative business remaining in the current session of Congress, it is important that you let lawmakers know the time has come for final passage of these bills.

    Follow this link and write to your members of Congress, urging final passage of Peace Corps health/safety legislation and adoption of the House version of the bill, while also noting more work needs to be done in the future to address the needs of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who come home with service related illnesses or injuries.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    216 members of Congress signed Peace Corps funding letters in 2018. A new record high. see more

    Led by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the annual Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter secured the signatures of 36 Senators!

    When coupled with the 180 signatures on a similar letter in the House of Representatives, the combined 216 members of Congress who signed Peace Corps funding letters in 2018 represents a new record high!

    As noted in the Senate letter, which requests robust funding for the Peace Corps in the upcoming 2019 fiscal year, "The Peace Corps' return on investment is profound. Host country nationals served by a volunteer are better equipped to meet challenges in the long run, helping to achieve healthier, more stable communities and prevent conflict. The Peace Corps is often one of the most transformative experiences in a volunteer's life, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers continue their call to service by becoming leaders in their communities."  

    Read the final Senate letter here!

    Our thanks to the thousands of Peace Corps supporters, who reached out to their members of Congress in support of these critical funding letters. We would not be successful without your support!

     

    Say Thank You!

    Thirty-six Senators (below) signed the Peace Corps funding letter and should be thanked!

    California: Feinstein (co-author), Harris

    Colorado: Bennet

    Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy

    Delaware: Carper, Coons

    Florida: Nelson

    Georgia: Isakson (co-author)

    Hawaii: Hirono, Schatz

    Illinois: Duckworth

    Maine: Collins, King

    Maryland: Cardin, Van Hollen

    Massachusetts: Markey, Warren

    Michigan: Peters, Stabenow

    Minnesota: Klobuchar, Smith

    New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen

    New Jersey: Menendez

    New Mexico: Heinrich

    Ohio: Brown

    Oregon: Merkley, Wyden

    Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse

    Vermont: Sanders

    Virginia: Kaine

    Washington: Cantwell

    West Virginia: Manchin

    Wisconsin: Baldwin