West Cascade Peace Corps Association
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2007 Annual Report

West Cascade Peace Corps Association

Annual Report for 2007


President:Dustin JohnsonVice President:James Cloutier
Secretaries:Michael Kresko and Shannon MicheelTreasurer:Evangelina Sundgrenz
At large board members:Beryl Brinkman, Benj Epstein, Brett Holt, Maggie Keenan, Felicia Kenney, Deb McLaughlin, Eli Meyer, Rolly Thompson, Wayne Thompson

Transition: The year 2007 marked a difficult transition for our organization because in early February Beryl Brinkman, one of our founding members and always a guiding light, died suddenly. Our collective sense of loss and sadness was profound. The officers and others in the organization worked throughout the year to reallocate duties and reestablish priorities to fit the volunteer time that was available. We sorely miss the time, effort, guidance, and grace that Beryl had lavished on the organization. At the same time we feel that she would endorse our work and support our decisions.

Northwest regional RPCA meeting in Seattle: Beryl and Dustin attended this meeting in January, 2007.

Potlucks: We held the first potluck in February as a memorial service for Beryl. It was an occasion to celebrate her life and long term support of the Peace Corps and West Cascade Peace Corps Association.

For the rest of the year we decided that potlucks would be the first Sunday of most months and would include a program. Pub nights for PC recruitment organized by Brett Holt , the PC recruiter at the U of O, took place on the first Wednesday of each month usually in a pizza restaurant.

March: potluck with a presentation about the International Rotary Club program to supply prosthetic arms to victims of ethnic violence in Uganda.

April: potluck with a presentation by Michael Schapiro about his nonprofit in Haiti.

May: NOM party. See below

July: Picnic at the Thompsons' farm.

September: potluck with a presentation about a recent RPCV visit to a Peace Corps site in Ghana from the mid-1960s.

November: potluck with a presentation by three RPCVs about a recent health education program in Nicaragua.

Campout: This year it was WCPCA's responsibility to organize the annual campout of the northwest RPCV groups. Michael Kresko was in charge. He organized the event at the Diamond Lake- Broken Arrow group camp from August 2-5 and took responsibility for organizing meals and notifying the other groups. Over sixty people came from the Pacific Northwest including seven from WCPCA.

Community based PC activities: Several local RPCVs took part in the National Peace Corps Awareness Week, February 25th -March 3rd, in activities coordinated by the U of O PC recruiter, Brett Holt.

We cosponsored with the PC recruiter the annual NOM party, welcoming newly accepted PC trainees from the local area to the PC. This was held at the Many Nations Long house on the U of O campus in May. About about 75 people attended. WCPCA helped with the set up, supplied food by asking members to bring a potluck dish as well as purchasing food, took part in the program, and supplied volunteers for the clean up.

Activities in our local community: WCPCA took part in the annual Eugene Celebration parade and had a booth for two days to inform the community about the Peace Corps, sell tee shirts, and recruit new members.

Members helped Food for Lane County by taking care of clean up duties at two of its annual events: the Chefs' Night Out fundraiser in April and the Empty Bowls fundraiser in September.

Grant to a PC project: WCPCA donated $1,000 to a project that is building water wells in Tourou, Extreme-North Province, Cameroon. The two PCVs working with the project are a married couple from Eugene. More information is in the "Projects" section of the website.

Gifts to WCPCA: In November WCPCA received three generous gifts. Tricia Tate and Natalie Brinkman each gave the organization funds that they had been allocated from Beryl's estate. The attorney who settled Beryl's estate contributed a portion of her fee because she was so impressed by Beryl's generosity. The total of these donations was approximately $22,500.

The gifts stipulated that the funds must be held in an account separate from the organization's general account, invested, and the proceeds from the investment donated to humanitarian projects.

The board accepted these gifts and the accompanying stipulations with humility and great appreciation. The funds were invested in early 2008 with Edward Jones Investments in a bond and a money market account.

The board's plans for the long term investment of the money are to create an endowed fund called the 'Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund' with the Oregon Community Foundation. The board will be able to do this if the organization receives tax exempt status from the IRS and the total in the fund reaches $25,000.

Organizational matters: WCPCA held an election in November by paper ballot mailed to the membership which was asked to vote on proposed changes to the constitution and bylaws and to elect new officers for the next year. The proposed changes to the organizational documents are explained below.

A committee of four members began work for the organization to apply to the IRS for tax exempt status, also known as 501 C (3) status. This was a many layered task which called for extensive documentation of our previous activities as well as revising our constitution and bylaws to conform to IRS requirements for the status. In November the membership voted to revise these documents as requested by the board. The application was submitted to the IRS in February, 2008.

The revised constitution also established a new board office called 'Communications Coordinator.' This addition to our board acknowledged our growing use of the website and electronic communication within our membership.

The change depends upon our identifying a board member with the technical capability to manage the website. We are fortunate to have such a person in our membership and she was appointed to this office.

We should acknowledge that over ten years ago the board created the organization's first website and thus introduced us to the electronic age. We had to change our domain name, as wcpca.com was lost after some confusion about changing registrars resulted in a missed payment. Our current domain name, westcascadepca.org, more accurately reflects the nature of our group as an organization rather than as a company.

Communication and the newsletter: As noted above WCPCA is increasingly becoming an organization based upon electronic communication within the board as well as with the membership and web based for its organizational activities. This evolution increases the efficiency and substantially lowers the cost of our communication as well as extending our reach to the public.

For this to work we depend upon the fact that the majority of our membership uses email and has easy access to the web. Fortunately this is the case. However, we offer paper communication to anyone who requests it. We want to remain an inclusive organization.

The paper newsletter which was a hallmark of the organization for at least 25 years was loved by all and was a particular product of Beryl's efforts. The board let it go with regret. But no one was willing to take responsibility for it and the board recognizes that our current income does not justify its cost.

Membership: At the end of 2007 WCPCA had approximately 55 paid up members at least 200 additional interested parties who received the newsletter and other news items via email.

Memberships existed in several formats: some people joined through the NPCA paying membership fees to both organizations, others joined WCPCA directly, and still others in the first year after leaving the PC joined one or both organizations but were excused from paying dues for the first year.

For those who joined WCPCA directly there were three membership tiers: individual, couple, student.

Fundraising activities: Our fundraising activities consisted of selling tee shirts and international calendars primarily at community or U of O events as well as through our website. We earned approximately $800 from calendar sales and $150 from shirt sales for a total of $950.

Financial position in December 2007:

Checking account at the Oregon Community Credit Union: $6, 591

Three year investment with the Calvert Fund for humanitarian work: $2,000

Beryl's Memorial Fund in a separate account at the OCCU: $22,542