Peace Corps

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Legislation includes $88 million rescission of Peace Corps funding see more

    Legislation would jeopardize funds that provided for health and safety of more than 7,300 evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers amid global pandemic. Let’s keep that from happening.
     

    While there has been significant legislation introduced to support Peace Corps and evacuated volunteers, a South Carolina Congressman has announced legislation that would — in part — rescind the $88 million in emergency appropriations approved earlier for Peace Corps.

    Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) has introduced H.R. 6657, the Working Under Humanity’s Actual Needs (WUHAN) Rescissions Act, which calls for eliminating more than $27 billion from the CARES Act legislation that was overwhelmingly approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in late March. Included in the new legislation is the proposed return of the $88 million appropriated for Peace Corps which covered evacuation and initial support costs for 7,300 volunteers. Read Representative Duncan's press release here.

     

    The legislation “would seem to indicate that the health and safety of the 7,300 affected Peace Corps Volunteers was unrelated to the pandemic and that bringing them home safely was wasteful spending.”
         —Glenn Blumhorst, National Peace Corps Association 

     

    “Through this action and his comments, Congressman Duncan would seem to indicate that the health and safety of the 7,300 affected Peace Corps Volunteers was unrelated to the pandemic and that bringing them home safely was wasteful spending,” said NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst. “This proposal is the height of irresponsibility and we are confident it will face a resounding, bi-partisan rejection in the House of Representatives.”

    Many lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans – have been stepping up with legislation to show strong support for Peace Corps, the evacuees, and eventual redeployment. Follow this link for a summary of previous developments.

    Along with Representative Jeff Duncan, these are the other ten original co-sponsors of the legislation: Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Paul Gosar, (R-AZ), Ken Buck (R-CO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ross Spano (R-FL), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Scott Perry (R-PA), Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Alex Mooney (R-WV).

     

    Take Action Now

    Follow this link to express strong opposition to this proposal with your member of the House of Representatives.

    You can also support our ongoing efforts to help evacuated Volunteers — and ensure they have the resources they need — by making a gift here.

     Write to Congress

     

    Updated May 6 5:15 p.m.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Can we surpass last year's record number of signatures on this letter? see more

    While action on the annual House Peace Corps funding letter has concluded, opportunities for Senators to sign onto their version of this important letter continues. However, this is the final week for Senators to sign the letter.

     

    Senate

    A bipartisan Senate letter asking for robust funding for Peace Corps in fiscal year 2021 is co-authored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

    Take Action with your Senators**

    • If you wish, you can read the Senate letter here.
    • Ask your Senator(s) to "sign the Feinstein-Collins Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter that is now circulating".
    • TAKE ACTION HERE: Write and ask you Senator(s) to sign the letter (or, thank them if they already signed! - see list below).
    • Find the phone number of your Senators if you want to contact them by phone.

    Deadline to sign on: Friday April 10th.

    Signatures as of Tuesday, April 7, 9:00 AM: 27 (see list below)

    Additional Signatures Needed to Reach Last Year's Record: 14

    (** Along with the Peace Corps letter, we encourage you to urge your Senator(s) to also sign a similar letter - being circulated by Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), requesting strong funding for all international affairs funding, including Peace Corps)

     

    Senators who signed the Feinstein-Collins Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter (List of Current Signers Below)

    California: Feinstein (co-author)

    Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy

    Colorado: Bennet

    Delaware: Carper, Coons

    Hawaii: Schatz

    Illinois: Duckworth

    Maine: Collins (co-author), King

    Maryland: Cardin, Van Hollen

    Massachusetts: Warren

    Michigan: Peters, Stabenow

    Minnesota: Klobuchar

    Nevada: Rosen

    New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen

    North Carolina: Tillis

    Ohio: Brown

    Oregon: Wyden

    Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse

    Vermont: Sanders

    Virginia: Kaine

    Washington: Cantwell

     

     

    House of Representatives

    The co-chairs of the House of Representatives Peace Corps Caucus, RPCVs John Garamendi (D-CA) and Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and Representative Garrett Graves (R-LA) circulated a letter that their colleagues can sign, asking that Peace Corps funding for the fiscal year that begins this coming October (FY 2021) be increased to $450 million.

    THIS LETTER IS NOW CLOSED.

    Our thanks to all who reached out to their House Reps on this important action.

    We await a final update on signers of this letter.

    You can read the House letter here.

     

    Lawmakers who Signed the Garamendi - Graves - Kennedy Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter (List of Current Signers Below)

    Deadline to sign on: Thursday March 12, 2020 (a final signature count is still pending)

    Signatures as of Thursday, March 12, 4:00 PM: 167

    Additional Signatures Needed to Surpass Last Year's Record: 15

     

    Alabama: Sewell

    Alaska: Young

    American Samoa: Radewagan

    Arizona: Gallego, Grijalva

    California: Barragan, Bass, Bera, Brownley, Carbajal, Chu, Cisneros, Costa, Susan Davis, DeSaulniers, Eshoo, Garamendi (co-author), Harder, Khanna, LaMalfa, Barbara Lee, Mike Levin, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Napolitano, Panetta, Scott Peters, Porter, Rouda, Roybal-Allard, Sanchez, Schiff, Speier, Swalwell, Takano, Vargas, Waters

    Colorado: DeGette, Neguse, Perlmutter, Tipton

    Connecticut: Courtney, DeLauro, Hayes, Himes, Larson

    Delaware: Blunt Rochester

    District of Columbia: Norton

    Florida: Castor, Deutch, Hastings, Murphy, Shalala

    Georgia: Bishop, Hank Johnson, Lewis, David Scott

    Hawaii: Gabbard

    Illinois: Bustos, Casten, Davis, Foster, Garcia, Kelly, Lipinski, Rush, Schakowsky, Schneider

    Indiana: Carson

    Iowa: Steve King, Loebsack

    Kansas: Davids

    Kentucky: Barr, Yarmuth

    Louisiana: Graves (co-author)

    Maine: Golden, Pingree

    Maryland: Brown, Raskin, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, Trone

    Massachusetts: Kennedy (co-author), Keating, Lynch, McGovern, Moulton, Pressley, Trahan

    Michigan: Dingell, Kildee, Andy Levin, Slotkin, Tlaib

    Minnesota: Craig, Peterson, Phillips

    Mississippi: Thompson

    Nevada: Horsford, Lee, Titus

    New Hampshire: Kuster, Pappas

    New Jersey: Gottheimer, Kim, Malinowski, Pallone, Pascrell Jr., Payne Jr., Sires, Chris Smith, Van Drew

    New Mexico: Haaland

    New York: Clarke, Delgado, Engel, Espaillat, Higgins, Katko, Sean Patrick Maloney, Meeks, Morelle, Rice, Suozzi, Tonko, Velazquez

    North Carolina: Adams, Butterfield

    Northern Marianas: Sablan

    Ohio: Beatty

    Oregon: Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio

    Pennsylvania: Boyle, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Wild

    Puerto Rico: Gonzalez-Colon

    Rhode Island: Ciciline

    Tennessee: Cohen

    Texas: Allred, Castro, Doggett, Escobar, Vicente Gonzalez, Green, Jackson-Lee, Veasey, Vela

    Vermont: Welch

    Virginia: Beyer, Connolly, Luria, McEachin, Spanberger, Wexton

    Washington: DelBene, Heck, Jayapal, Larsen, Schrier, Adam Smith

    Wisconsin: Kind, Moore

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Peace Corps legislation likely when Congress reconvenes in late April see more

    Last week Congress approved legislation calling for $2.2 trillion in emergency stimulus—legislation that included $88 million for Peace Corps. That was the third law passed by Congress to address the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences.

    Work is now well underway on a fourth stimulus package, with more Peace Corps related legislation on the way. 

     

    Peace Corps Legislation Announced

    National Peace Corps Association has been working closely with Congressional leaders to enhance benefits for Peace Corps Volunteers. On Friday, April 3, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation that would address several key concerns of the Peace Corps community. The legislation seeks to:

    • Address the need to provide some form of unemployment compensation for evacuated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who are jobless several months from now, having exhausted their initial Close of Service financial support (readjustment and evacuation allowance).
    • Further extends health insurance benefits to evacuees.
    • Expedite hiring of RPCVs using their Non-Competitive Eligibility for federal job openings.
    • Prompt redeployment of Peace Corps Volunteers as soon as practicable and an expedited re-enrollment process for evacuated RPCVs.

     

    Read Senator Murphy's Press Release

     

    “We applaud the bipartisan effort of Senators Murphy, Collins, and Feinstein to introduce this important legislation to address some of the longer-term support needs of evacuees, and to reinforce Peace Corps’ stated goal to redeploy Volunteers around the world as soon as possible,” said Glenn Blumhorst, National Peace Corps Association President and CEO. “While we anticipate the agency is already at work to address some of these concerns, we are so grateful that a number of congressional offices have been reaching out to us, asking how they also can best support Peace Corps and its Volunteers. Legislation such as this sends a strong message that Congress is committed to the return of thousands of Volunteers across our interconnected world, ready to address many of the major global challenges we face.”

    This is the first of what are expected to be several legislative initiatives to address concerns and needs of the Peace Corps community.

     

    Senate, House Letters Released

    Also this week, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Representative Dean Phillips issued a bicameral Senate/House letter to the Secretary of Labor asking that evacuated RPCVs and Americorps volunteers be eligible for unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act (part of the CARES Act, passed last week). A second letter calls upon Peace Corps, Americorps, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide RPCVs with the opportunity to enlist in domestic COVID-19 response efforts. 

    Read this press release to learn more about these letters.

     

    Final Week for Peace Corps Funding Letter

    Finally, we are about to enter the last week of NPCA Action Alert to ask Senators to sign an important Senate letter to support continued strong funding for Peace Corps' annual budget. Twenty-six senators have signed the letter, which has an April 10th deadline. Follow this link to learn more and take action!

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    With Your Participation - We can Reach This Goal! see more

    UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, President Trump signed into law the $2.2 trillion emergency stimulus package passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in the day.

    Final approval of the emergency stimulus package means $88 million will be forwarded to Peace Corps to assist with the cost of evacuating 7,300 volunteers from 61 countries and support initial transition assistance.

    "This funding reinforces the federal commitment to the Peace Corps, and we are grateful for this action to support the agency and its Volunteers during this difficult time", said National Peace Corps Association president and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. "While this package addresses critical short-term issues, we continue to work with Congress as the evacuated RPCVs will face additional challenges in the coming weeks and months."

    NPCA is already in communication with congressional offices to discuss next steps for an anticipated next round of legislation. Congress needs to hear from you. That's why we are asking you to take action now with your members of Congress to press for ongoing support for evacuated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

    During this extraordinary moment, we require a committed response from the Peace Corps community and the broad, deep reservoir of everyday citizens who believe in the mission and goals of Peace Corps service.

     

    That's why we are issuing a challenge to mobilize and send 100,000 messages to Congress

    The final approval of this massive stimulus package is good news for Peace Corps. But our work doesn't end there. Numerous offices are indicating that the bill finalized on Friday—the third stimulus bill passed into law—will not be the last.

    Conversations are underway to make sure that future legislation addresses some of the longer term needs evacuees will likely face, including some form of joblessness support, extended health care support where needed, adequate mental health support, possible enhancements to Coverdell Fellowship programs for prospective graduate students, and possible domestic deployment opportunities so skilled Returned Peace Corps Volunteers can help fight the pandemic. 

    Beyond that, an ongoing mobilization is needed to remind our lawmakers and our fellow citizens that Peace Corps remains open and is preparing to re-deploy as soon as possible.

    In the days, weeks, and months ahead, take action! 

    Want to help coordinate advocacy efforts in your community/region? Contact us! advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    There is an attentive and caring Peace Corps community that empathizes with you and awaits you see more

    Through your personal stories and photos shared by social media over the last few days, an entire Peace Corps community has vicariously lived the shocking reality of 7,000+ serving PCVs evacuating from communities in 60 countries around the world. This traumatic interruption of service is not the way a PCV envisions service to end - with unfinished projects, unsung farewells, unrung COS bells, and unsaid goodbyes. 

    To the PCV evacuees, my heartfelt sympathy. I share your grief. As you return home, know that there is an empathetic and caring Peace Corps community awaiting you with a collective virtual embrace. We are thousands of returned Peace Corps Volunteers (including many whose service had also been cut short), former staff, host country nationals, family, and friends who care deeply for you.

    This unprecedented moment calls for an extraordinary response. Be assured that National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is committed to providing the substantive support services that our RPCVs deserve. We hear you and are responding. In the coming days, you can expect:

    • A collaborative effort forged among the Peace Corps agency, NPCA, and the greater Peace Corps community to support evacuated RPCVs upon your arrival.
    • The launch of a comprehensive Global Reentry program designed by NPCA especially for evacuated RPCVs with support tailored to your needs and expectations.
    • Rollout of an array of academic and career resources to assist evacuated RPCVs in taking the next step in your professional pathway.
    • Connections to an emerging RPCV peer support network and your local RPCV groups to provide emotional, moral, and logistical support.  
    • Updates on how, through NPCA, we can collectively advocate for the benefits and entitlements evacuated RPCVs deserve, as well as ensure the future of the Peace Corps.

    For those of us in the Peace Corps community who are able to provide financial leadership, the Benevolent Fund will enable NPCA to support basic needs and longer-term readjustment of evacuated RPCVs. 

    This is an amazing and resilient Peace Corps community. Thank you for all you do to serve one another and the world.

    In service,


    Glenn Blumhorst
    NPCA President & CEO

    RPCV Guatemala 1988-91

     

    LEARN ABOUT THE GLOBAL REENTRY PROGRAM

     

     


    Help NPCA Reach More Returned Volunteers

    Your financial support of any size will make a BIG difference.

    Donate Now

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    A rundown of various Peace Corps COVID-19 legislation before Congress see more

    Congressional response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes various legislative initiatives that fully or partially seek to support Peace Corps and the 7,300+ evacuated Volunteers. Here’s a summary of the key legislation that is currently under consideration.
     


    Support this Legislation!

    Follow this link to write your members of Congress in support of any/all of the following legislation.


    Senate Legislation
    Senate Bill 3700 (S. 3700)

    NPCA worked closely on drafting this legislation that extends the period through which evacuees could purchase Peace Corps post-service health insurance; instructs Peace Corps to reopen programs as soon as practicable and expedites redeployment of evacuees; and promotes opportunities for evacuees to secure federal employment or assist with federal pandemic response efforts.

     

    Senate Bill 3642 (S. 3642) — UNITE Act

    This legislation, developed with NPCA, outlines proposals to expand COVID-19 response programs through the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and includes Peace Corps evacuees among those listed for priority hiring; extends opportunities for evacuees to purchase post-service health insurance to six months; calls for expedited procedures to redeploy evacuees, and for Peace Corps to issue a report on its redeployment plans, including plans to redeploy evacuees.

    • Introduced by: Ed Markey (D-MA); joined by Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
    • Co-Sponsors
    • Status: Referred to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
    • Read the Bill Text
    • Press Release

     

    Senate Bill 3624 (S. 3624) — Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act

    This legislation would fund 750,000 national service positions over three years to support pandemic relief and recovery, and would include evacuated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for priority placement through the program. 

    • Introduced by: Chris Coons (D-DE); joined originally by Jack Reed (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
    • Co-Sponsors
    • Status: Referred to the Finance Committee.
    • Read the Bill Text
    • Press Release

     


    House of Representatives

    House Bill 6833 (H.R. 6833) — Utilizing and Supporting Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers Act

    This legislation was drafted in close coordination with NPCA and allows evacuees the possibility to purchase post-service health insurance through the agency beyond three months should they choose; instructs the Peace Corps to coordinate expedited processes to assist the placement of evacuees in pandemic response initiatives; and instructs Peace Corps to resume overseas programs as soon as practicable, with an expedited redeployment process for evacuees.

     

    House Bill 6560 (H.R. 6560) — UNITE Act of 2020

    ​​​​​​​Working with NPCA, this legislation outlines proposals to expand COVID-19 response programs through the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and includes Peace Corps evacuees among those listed for priority hiring; extends opportunities for evacuees to purchase post-service health insurance to six months; calls for expedited procedures to redeploy evacuees, and for Peace Corps to issue a report on its redeployment plans, including plans to redeploy evacuees.

    • Introduced by: RPCV John Garamendi (D-CA); joined originally by Bobby Rush (D-IL), Debra Haaland (D-NM), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sean Casten (D-IL), and Ann Kuster (D-NH).
    • Co-Sponsors
    • Status: Referred to the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.
    • Read the Bill Text
    • Press Release

     

    House Bill 6415 (H.R. 6415) — Inspire to Serve Act of 2020

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This legislation would extend Non-Competitive Eligibility for Peace Corps service to three years; proposes a pilot program through Peace Corps Response in which Response Volunteers could work remotely; involves Peace Corps leadership in a Council on Service; proposes Peace Corps, the Commission for National and Community Service, and the Department of Defense to collaborate on joint marketing and cross-promoting of various forms of service. (This bill incorporates some of the recommendations offered by the Commission on Military, National and Public Service).

    • Introduced by: Jimmy Panetta (D-CA); joined originally by Don Bacon (R-NE), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Jason Crow (D-CO).
    • Co-Sponsors
    • Status: Referred to the Education and Labor, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and a number of other House committees.
    • Read the Bill Text

     

    House Bill 6702 (H.R. 6702) — Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act

    This bill would fund 750,000 national service positions over three years to support pandemic relief and recovery, and includes evacuated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for priority placement through the program. 

    • Introduced by: David Price (D-NC). Joined originally by Doris Matsui (D-CA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Kim Schirer (D-WA) and fifteen other original co-sponsors.
    • Co-Sponsors
    • Status: Referred to the Education and Labor, and Ways and Means Committees.
    • Read the Bill Text
    • Press Release

     


    TAKE ACTION

    Write your members of Congress in support of any/all of the following legislation.
     

    Write to Your Member of Congress

  • House legislation includes proposals for RPCV evacuees to continue service. see more

    New Peace Corps legislation continues to emerge to help evacuated Volunteers, this time in the House of Representatives. On April 30, Representatives Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Don Young (R-AK) announced the “Utilizing and Supporting Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers Act,” which addresses several issues to support present and future needs of evacuated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. The legislation is also supported by Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA).

    In a press release issued by Representative Phillips, National Peace Corps Association President Glenn Blumhorst notes that “At the heart of this legislation are initiatives to engage these volunteers in what they do best — opportunities to continue serving others, both here at home to contain and overcome the pandemic, and overseas as soon as conditions permit Peace Corps to redeploy.”

    ​​​The Phillips-Young legislation would:

    • Extend the opportunity for evacuated RPCVs to continue to purchase health insurance through Peace Corps beyond the current three months.
    • Instruct the Corporation for National and Community Service to expedite opportunities through which evacuated RPCVs can be assigned to programs aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic here at home.
    • Expedite opportunities for evacuated RPCVs to return to Peace Corps service once it is practicable for the agency to begin redeploying volunteers overseas.

    In light of the many lives being lost during the pandemic, the legislation also includes language of the no-cost, bi-partisan “Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act,” legislation that would allow the Peace Corps logo to be included on grave markers or in death notices.

     

    “At the heart of this legislation are initiatives to engage these volunteers in what they do best — opportunities to continue serving others, both here at home to contain and overcome the pandemic, and overseas as soon as conditions permit Peace Corps to redeploy.”
       — Glenn Blumhorst, President & CEO, National Peace Corps Association

     

    2020 Progress: Efforts to Help Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers

    National Peace Corps Association has been working with Congress on a variety of Peace Corps initiatives. The announcement of the Phillips-Young House legislation is the latest in a long string of positive steps to support Peace Corps and recent evacuees.

    • Evacuee Unemployment Compensation Confirmed (April 28): The U.S. Labor Department issued guidelines which confirmed evacuated RPCVs are eligible for unemployment under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act. Read more here.
       
    • National Health Corps Letter (April 21): In a letter to House leadership, Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Bill Foster (D-IL) propose the creation of a National Health Corps to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically referencing evacuated RPCVs as a resource. Read more here.
       
    • Markey Legislation (April 13): Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) announced legislation that seeks to mobilize U.S. citizens — especially evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers — to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
       
    • Record Senate Funding Letter (April 10): A record 42 Senators signed the annual Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter. Led by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the letter requests robust funding for Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2021, which begins October 1. Read more here.
       
    • Murphy Legislation (April 3): Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced legislation to address unemployment and health care benefits for Peace Corps evacuees, expand service opportunities, and promote the return of Peace Corps programs overseas. Read more here.
       
    • Bi-Cameral Letters (April 2): Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN) led joint Senate/House letters on the need for evacuees to have jobless protections and the need for evacuees to have opportunities to utilize their skills to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
       
    • Peace Corps Stimulus (March 27): Congress passed and President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package to respond to the pandemic. Included in that package was $88 million to cover the evacuation of 7,300 volunteers and provide initial readjustment support for the evacuees. Read more here.
       
    • House Peace Corps Funding Letter (March 13): A bi-partisan group of 167 lawmakers signed a House Peace Corps funding letter requesting $450 million for Peace Corps in fiscal year 2021. The letter was issued by leaders of the Peace Corps Caucus RPCVs John Garamendi (D-CA) and Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), and Representative Garrett Graves (R-LA). Read more here.
       
    • Capitol Hill Advocacy Day (March 5): More than 200 members of the Peace Corps community conducted more than 220 meetings on Capitol Hill during NPCA’s 16th annual National Days of Action in Support of the Peace Corps. We were joined by 35 Peace Corps Volunteers from China, evacuated five weeks earlier, to speak to the importance of their work. See photo album here.
       
    • Former Directors Support Independence (January 7): NPCA issued a letter authored and signed by ten former Peace Corps directors opposing Senate legislation to place Peace Corps under the authority of the State Department. Read more here.

     


     Support our Efforts

    Donate

     

    Story Updated 01 May 2020 11 a.m.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Approximately 40% of Congress signed these letters. see more

    In face of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the United States Senate are expressing strong long-term support for the operation and eventual re-deployment of Peace Corps Volunteers.

    A record 42 Senators signed an annual "Dear Colleague" letter circulated by Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asking for robust funding for Peace Corps in the next fiscal year (FY 2021) which will commence on October 1st.

    Written to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations on March 3rd, the letter refers to Peace Corps as "an iconic and vibrant part of the American identity." You can read the full text of the Senate letter here.

    "Never has this annual Senate letter been more important than this year," said National Peace Corps Association President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. "Senators Collins and Feinstein have demonstrated wonderful bi-partisan leadership in advancing this letter, and the record number of Senate signatures indicates the strong commitment to return Peace Corps Volunteers to service at the earliest time possible."

    Coupled with a similarly strong and bi-partisan letter circulated last month in the House of Representatives (signed by 167 members), approximately 40% of Congress signed these letters.

     

    Thank Your Senators

     

    Senators who signed the Feinstein-Collins Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter (List of Current Signers Below)

    Arizona: Sinema

    California: Feinstein (co-author), Harris

    Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy

    Colorado: Bennet

    Delaware: Carper, Coons

    Hawaii: Hirono, Schatz

    Illinois: Duckworth, Durbin

    Maine: Collins (co-author), King

    Maryland: Cardin, Van Hollen

    Massachusetts: Markey, Warren

    Michigan: Peters, Stabenow

    Minnesota: Klobuchar, Smith

    Nevada: Rosen

    New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen

    New Jersey: Booker, Menendez

    New Mexico: Heinrich, Udall

    New York: Gillibrand

    North Carolina: Tillis

    Ohio: Brown

    Oregon: Merkley, Wyden

    Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse

    Vermont: Sanders

    Virginia: Kaine, Warner

    Washington: Cantwell

    West Virginia: Manchin

    Wisconsin: Baldwin

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    It is time to Protect Peace Corps - Like Never Before see more

    As Congress continues to develop legislation to provide emergency relief related to the coronavirus, it is imperative that the needs of Peace Corps - and its approximately 7,000 evacuated volunteers - are also taken into account.

     

    Your Action is Urgently Needed:

     

    National Peace Corps Association posted this new action which is directed at all Senators and members of the House of Representatives.  The action urges financial support for Peace Corps to cover the extraordinary costs associated with the global suspension of programs.

    It also urges support to address the many financial, health and other support needs evacuated volunteers are facing as they come home.

    Peace Corps has taken an initial step in addressing these needs, announcing that payment of its post-service insurance offering to volunteers will be extended from 30 days to 60 days.

    UPDATE: The White House has requested $73 million in additional funding for Peace Corps to assist with costs in bringing volunteers home.

    UPDATE: In your letters, include the number of recently serving volunteers from your state.

     

    Go Beyond Your Letters to Congress

    The congressional action will allow you to:

    • Edit the message and personalize it, speaking to your Peace Corps experience.
    • Send a tweet to your lawmakers.
    • Reach well beyond the immediate Peace Corps community to ask other family, friends and neighbors to help protect the Peace Corps.
    • Craft and submit a local letter to the editor urging support for Peace Corps and its evacuated volunteers.

    Thank you so much for taking action as we embark on a new, challenging chapter to protect the Peace Corps and support returned volunteers.

     

  • Helene Dudley posted an article
    Rotarians and RPCVs combine their synergies for the greater good. see more

    By: Helene Dudley (Colombia 1968-70, Slovakia 1997-99)

    Peace Corps and Rotary have a longstanding history individually as well as together. The two communities have compatible values, compatible interests, and compatible approaches to society’s problems. I am one of thousands of Americans with membership in both. I was introduced to Rotary through my work with The Colombia Project, a micro-loan program started by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs).  After receiving several grants and presenting to the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove, Florida it occurred to me that I should become a member. Soon two more RPCVs working with The Colombia Project joined, followed by a loan administrator in Colombia and then a former Peace Corps Korea language teacher – all because the Coconut Grove Rotary Club supported an RPCV micro-loan program.  As an RPCV and Rotarian, I am amazed at the synergies that exist between these two groups.

    In 2014, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, who comes from a family of Rotarians, signed two collaborative agreements with Rotary – for pilot projects in the Philippines, Thailand and Togo and to encourage Rotary Clubs to support the Peace Corps partnership program (PCPP).  

    Subsequent to those agreements, over 30 Rotary Clubs from hometowns of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) serving in Costa Rica have partnered with Costa Rica Rotary Clubs in the Give-A-Book literacy project to provide libraries for schools and communities served by PCVs.  Rotarians traveled to Costa Rica to personally present books.  Upon returning home, PCVs made presentations to the sponsoring Rotary clubs. In addition to the books, the Peace Corps-Rotary alliance in Costa Rica organizes other humanitarian projects such as an eye clinic organized by two PCVs for March 2017 with Rotarian eye doctors participating from Rotary Clubs in Florida, Indiana, and California.

    Collaboration with currently serving Volunteers is off to a good start but even better opportunities exist for Rotary-RPCV collaborations like those with the Denver Rotary Club’s cook stove research in Vanuatu, girls’ education in Senegal and the Coal Creek, Colorado Rotary Club’s water projects in Panama. The full potential for collaborations between Rotary and RPCVs through the NPCA remains largely untapped but ultimately should be even more attractive to Rotarians in providing RPCV partners with proven track records.

    One Rotary supported RPCV program, The Colombia Project – TCP Global, builds zero overhead, sustainable micro-loan programs in five countries to date. By partnering with organizations already working effectively at the grassroots level, virtually no overhead is required to manage 30-45 open loans.

    Just as the Rotary-Peace Corps Partnership invites Rotary Clubs to support PCPP working with PCVs, an expansion of this collaboration into the Peace Corps community could provide financial support for current and future projects vetted through the National Peace Corps Association's Community Fund such as TCP Global micro-loans, Water Charity, The Village Link, and other projects that involve Rotary in some, but not all implementation sites. Rotarian and RPCV hybrids are coming together to create an affiliate group, so be sure to let us know if you are a Rotarian.

     

    In 2017, there are two unique opportunities to strengthen ties between Rotary and the Peace Corps community. RPCV Rotarians are encouraged to visit the Peace Corps booth at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, GA this June 2017.  All Rotarians and members of the Peace Corps community are also encouraged to attend Peace Corps Connect annual conference in Denver, CO this August 2017.


    The Peace Corps Community and the Rotarian Community each do a tremendous amount of good in the world. Since projects can have far greater impact when we collaborate with others, imagine what could be accomplished if the two organizations joined forces.  

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    A legendary figure in the launch of the Peace Corps dies at age 92. see more

    He was a student of Gandhi's methods of bringing political change through non-violent direct action. An associate and friend of Martin Luther King Jr. during the early years of the civil rights movement. A key adviser to the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy who facilitated a key meeting between JFK and MLK which eventually led to a critical phone call that is credited with tipping the election to Kennedy.

    He was a World War II era veteran. A university president. A United States Senator.

    But for tens of thousands of members of the Peace Corps community, Harris Llewellyn Wofford - who died Monday - will always be remembered and revered for his iconic work as one of the architects of the Peace Corps, and his vigorous lifelong commitment to volunteerism and service above self.

    "Harris Wofford blessed the world with his never-ending commitment to public service and social justice," said National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) President Glenn Blumhorst. "He truly was a global citizen who embodied Peace Corps values. All who were fortunate enough to have met Harris are mourning his passing, not only because we lost a friend, but also because our nation has lost a man of such high character and goodness".

    After JFK's election, Wofford began work in the new administration as a key civil rights adviser, but was later appointed to assist Sargent Shriver in the formation of the Peace Corps. He served as the agency's special representative to Africa and director of operations in Ethiopia. 

    At gatherings of the Peace Corps community, Wofford would regularly remind audiences of the bold vision and role of the new agency at its inception. He recalled being on the White House lawn with President Kennedy as a new group of volunteers was leaving for their service. According to Wofford, Kennedy said:

    "You know this Peace Corps is going to be really serious when we have 100,000 volunteers a year. Because in one decade, we'll have a million Americans who will have had first-hand experience in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Then at last, we'll have an intelligent foreign policy because there will be a big constituency of people who understand the world."

    Wofford was a member of NPCA's Advisory Council and a regular at NPCA conferences, leadership summits, and advocacy days. His commitment to service went well beyond Peace Corps. He was Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service (which included AmeriCorps) from 1995 - 2001. He was a leader in the formation of the Building Bridges Coalition in 2006, bringing together non-governmental organizations, businesses and universities committed to expanding overseas service opportunities. Wofford also served on the boards of several volunteer organizations, including America's Promise, Youth Service America, and the Points of Light Foundation.

    In our nation's capital, a city that can be consumed by status and titles, "Senator Wofford" was simply known to all as "Harris". His personal modesty belied his mark on history and many global achievements. Those achievements began in the 1940s, when he formed the Student Federalists while in high school. They continued six decades later, when Wofford assisted another presidential candidate at a critical moment: introducing Barack Obama at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center before a pivotal speech on race in America. They endured in 2016, when his opinion piece in The New York Times spoke of the man who became the second love of his life and the importance of marriage equality.

    During the 50th anniversary year of Peace Corps in 2011, NPCA recognized Wofford's lifetime of service to our nation and our world by establishing the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award. The award is given annually to an outstanding global leader who grew up and continues to live in a country where Peace Corps Volunteers serve and whose life was influenced by the Peace Corps. 

     

    Memorial Service

    On Saturday, March 2, 2019, we gathered to remember the remarkable life of Harris Wofford at Howard University in Washington, DC. If you were unable to join us, you can watch the service using the link below.

    • Daniel Wofford On behalf of my my family, I want to thank the National Peace Corps Association for this warm remembrance of my father. The two years that my sister Susanne, my brother David and I spent in... see more On behalf of my my family, I want to thank the National Peace Corps Association for this warm remembrance of my father. The two years that my sister Susanne, my brother David and I spent in Ethiopia with my parents, Harris and Clare, changed our lives in ways that are hard to measure. We weren't volunteers! As children we had no choice, but I think we benefitted in many the ways that PCV's were rewarded deeply by their service. Thank so much for this tribute to our Dad.
      1 year ago
  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Volunteers will remain on the job, as close to 50% of agency staff face furloughs. see more

    With a political stalemate over funding for a border wall, a partial government shutdown went into effect as of midnight Friday. Peace Corps funding falls under the State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill – one of seven appropriations bills that Congress and the White House have not finalized.

    How does the government shutdown effect the Peace Corps?

    In its operational plan to address the shutdown, the agency notes that plans do not include closing down volunteer posts around the world. Volunteer operations and overseas staff would remain open and at work, due to safety and security considerations, the complexities and potential costs of shutting down operations, especially if the shutdown turned out to be of a short duration.

    As noted in the agency’s plan, “Given the significant tangible and intangible costs that would be incurred in evacuating all Volunteers to their homes of record and the minimal savings in operating costs overseas that would be achieved by doing so, evacuating Volunteers and returning them to their homes of record would only be justified by a much more substantial lapse in appropriations than the agency expects. The agency has, therefore, determined that the Peace Corps is not required during a lapse in appropriated funding to take any action to evacuate Volunteers and return them to their homes of record.”

    This does not mean the agency is not impacted. While overseas staff will remain on the job, approximately half of the agency’s workforce is expected to be furloughed. This includes activities and staff “not reasonably necessary for the safety of human life or the protection of property.”

    Peace Corps identifies the following programs that would face furlough: Volunteer recruitment, selection and placement and third goal activities, as well as any other activities carried out by the Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection, the Office of External Affairs, the Office of Strategic Information, Research and Planning, the Office of Overseas Programming and Training Support, the Executive Secretariat, 3 the Office of Strategic Partnerships, the Office of Innovation, the Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services, the Chief Compliance Officer and the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity.

     

    Follow this link to see Peace Corps’ complete report to the Office of Management and Budget, regarding its shutdown plans.

    Follow this link for more general information on the partial government shutdown, and its potential impacts.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Olsen would become the 20th Peace Corps Director. see more

    President Trump has nominated Josephine "Jody" Olsen to become the next Peace Corps Director.

    If confirmed by the Senate, Olsen would become the 20th person to lead the agency.

    Olsen, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, was Deputy and Acting Director of the agency from 2001 to 2009.

    Click here to read the White House announcement on this nomination.

    Click here to see the list of all previous Peace Corps Directors.

     

    Visit this post in the coming hours for more updates on this nomination.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    RPCVs who served in Lesotho and Moldova are the newest Peace Corps political appointments see more

    Transitions can be challenging, but Peace Corps has capitalized on the prolonged leadership transition to continue building a strong and resilient agency.  Bottom line: Peace Corps is strong, and Peace Corps Volunteers are still doing great things. 

    Now ten months into the new administration, the Peace Corps community could reasonably be concerned about the impact of a prolonged leadership transition. But it's reassuring to know that Peace Corps is in good hands and is moving forward, not retreating. 

    With a focus on the core business of recruiting, placing and caring for highly-qualified Volunteers to advance Peace Corps' mission of world peace and friendship, the agency continues to shore up infrastructure, make progress on opening new posts, and ensure the safety and security of Volunteers in the field. Of note, some 23,000 Volunteer applications were received in fiscal year 2017 - the fourth consecutive year of historically-high applicant numbers, representing the sustained interest by Americans to serve in the Peace Corps. 

    While a director and deputy director are yet to to be nominated, political appointments continue to be made for key leadership positions in the  Peace Corps' offices of general counsel, finance, management and external affairs. New faces at the Peace Corps headquarters include two new political appointments who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

    With more than twenty years of work experience in Africa, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Joel Frushone joins the agency as Director of Communications.

    Joel's work in combating malaria fits well with the work of hundreds of Peace Corps Volunteers. He served as Global Communications Director for Malaria No More, a Non-Governmental Organization working to raise awareness and political will to eliminate malaria. Joel coordinated communications in the U.S. and Africa, and worked closely with the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

    From 1995 to 1997, Joel served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho, teaching small-scale agriculture production to women and children. Soon after his service, Joel joined World Vision International as its Communications and Advocacy Director in Rwanda and Burundi, and as the Africa Policy Analyst with the U.S. Committee for Refugees.

    Joel also worked as a political campaign consultant for clients in the U.S. and abroad. He also served as CEO of Crescent Consultants, which helped clients solve communication challenges and navigate the complexities of bureaucracy, policy, culture and risk across Africa.

    As private sector funding helps support many Peace Corps program initiatives, the Office of Gifts and Grants Management is another branch of the agency that helps Peace Corps achieve its mission. Leah Keiff is a recently appointed Program Specialist for the office. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Leah served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldolva from 2013 to 2015, working with the Community and Organizational Development Program.

    More recently, Leah served as Foundation Director at Generation Opportunity Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on helping young Americans gain knowledge and tools to take control of their financial futures and better their lives and communities.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    No word on a new director, as the White House appoints several to Peace Corps leadership posts see more

    As the Peace Corps community awaits the nomination of the next Peace Corps Director, a handful of Trump administration appointments to the agency have begun their work at headquarters.

    The most recent addition is Chip Wheeler, pictured left, who was recently named Associate Director for Volunteer Recruitment and Selection. Wheeler’s professional career includes ten years as vice president for private sector initiatives at America’s Promise Alliance, the Colin Powell – founded organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people. Most recently, he served as national director for Community Investments in the Office of Corporate Responsibility at Voya Financial.

    Many who attended the Peace Corps Connect conference in Denver had the opportunity to meet and hear from Ashley Bell, pictured below, appointed back in July to serve as Peace Corps Associate Director for External Affairs. In his remarks, Bell spoke passionately about the nonprofit that he founded in his home state of Alabama to address criminal justice reform and mentor young at-risk students in his community. One of those young men once asked for support in getting into the Peace Corps. Since submitting that recommendation letter, and ultimately seeing his mentee thrive as a Volunteer, Bell says he has admired Peace Corps' grassroots community approach.

    In his new role, he will oversee the offices of communications, strategic partnerships and intergovernmental affairs, gifts and grants management and government relations. Prior to Peace Corps, Bell served as a special advisor in the Public Affairs Bureau of the Department of State, where he developed strategy around the Secretary of State’s domestic engagement agenda.

    Bell and Wheeler join Matthew McKinney, no picture available, the first appointee who is serving as Peace Corps’ White House liaison. McKinney has made his first trip abroad, visiting with Peace Corps Volunteers in Armenia and Georgia. Prior to his Peace Corps position, McKinney served as a Special Assistant to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in the office of appointments.

    Administration appointments continue to move at a slower pace. Eight years ago, Aaron Williams had been nominated as Peace Corps Director in early July and was on the job by late August.

    Along with reaching out to Peace Corps’ new leadership, NPCA will continue to monitor, provide input and report on progress on the selection of a new director and other agency leadership.