West Cascade Peace Corps Association
About Us

Email Newsletter for May 2008

Greetings from the West Cascade Peace Corps Association!

In this edition of our electronic newsletter, you'll find:

  • notices about upcoming events
  • a summary of the board meeting
  • links to some interesting stories online
  • plus a few other updates

Upcoming Events

  • June 12: Our monthly board meeting will be held on June 12. We welcome the input of all of our members. You don't have to be on the board to stop by and let us know what you think. For directions, call 607-4140 or send email to info@westcascadepca.org.

  • July 12: The bimonthly potluck will be on July 12th at 2 pm at the home of Rolly and Wayne Thompson. This was a fantastic event last year in the hills south of Eugene. More information on speakers will be posted on the website.

Summary of the minutes of the board meeting on 5/8/08

Attending: James Cloutier, Evangelina Sundgrenz, Rolly Thompson, Wayne Thompson, Deb McLaughlin, Rob Dwan, Artis Spriggs, Dorothy Soper

1. James explained that Charlie Ward, a local accountant and RPCV, has agreed to give us advice about accounting matters pro bono.

2. James reported about his trip with Joe Hindman to Seattle to attend the 2008 Peace Corps Expo which took place on May 4th at Seattle Pacific University. This gathering is one of two regional meetings that replace the annual NPCA conference. The expo was jointly sponsored by the Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), in cooperation with the Seattle Area Peace Corps Association (SEAPAX).

Over 400 participants took part in a main program, one of three break-out sessions, and exhibits from 18 different organizations. This year's theme was "Peace Corps: Serving Communities at Home and Abroad.' Speakers included the NPCA's president, Kevin Quigley, who emphasized the organization board's interest in serving the needs of local RPCV groups. Details of the meeting are available on the NPCA's website, (http://rpcv.org/).

2. We discussed the NPCA's annual 'Sergeant Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service.' This is the period for making nominations and the board enthusiastically supports nominating Bob Crites, a former WCPCA member, for the award this year. Of particular importance is Bob's 'Kids Helping Kids' program which has given scholarships for elementary and high school education to Brazilian and Tanzanian children in need for over ten years. (Note: Bob later agreed to be nominated.) Rolly and Wayne will work with Bob and the board to submit the necessary information.

We noted that in 1999 a former WCPCA member, Julia Demichelis, received the award. Further information about this award is available on the NPCA's website.

3. Evangelina presented a detailed treasurer's report for our accounts at the Oregon Community Credit Union and our investments.

Accounts at OCCU: Current balance is the checking account is $3,594. Business Savings (required by OCCU): $5.00 6 month CD: $2,512 at 2.710%; maturity date 11/5/08.

Account at Edward Jones Investments where Beryl's Memorial Fund is invested: We've purchased a twelve year bond at 6.05% interest for $20,000 with Principal Life Income Fundings. We also have a money market account with a balance of $2,612.98 earning 1.76% in interest.

Evangelina confirmed that our organization will participate in the Oregon Community Foundation's Endowment Partners Trust once we have gained 501 C3 status and have $25,000 to create an account. Currently the annual payout to an organization such as ours is 4.5% of the principal with a 1.1% annual management fee. OCF tries to realize a 9-10% return on these investments over a ten year period. By the terms of the gift of these funds, we would be able to award the amount of the payout to humanitarian programs.

Principal expenditures this month were for the NOM party and they will largely be reimbursed by the Seattle PC recruiting office.

4. Brett, PC recruiter at the U of O, had earlier reported via email that the NOM party was highly successful, with about 70 people attending. There was an ample potluck dinner and two excellent speakers.

Anita Tanner, whose daughter is currently a PCV in Mongolia, spoke about the challenges and triumphs of being the parent of a PCV. She had words of inspiration and advice for the families of the new nominees.

Bern Johnson, Director of E Law, spoke about the worldview that is an enduring legacy of most PC experiences. He explained that he explicitly looks for RPCVs in hiring staff at E Law and invited the new nominees to contact him when they return from their PC service.

5. Dorothy reported that we now have 67 paid up members. Various board members will be contacting those whose memberships are about to expire to encourage them to rejoin. Memberships are essential to our viability as an organization.

6. Rolly reported that the IRS is now reviewing 501 C3 applications that were submitted in December, 2007. Ours was submitted in January, 2008, so we are hoping that it soon will be reviewed.

7. We worked on identifying subcommittees and assigning chair people to them. The board asked the chairs to identify committee members. Each subcommittee's first task is to identify its goal and present that to the board for approval.

The subcommittees and chairs that we agreed to are the following: Communications - James Cloutier, Felicia Kenney Activities - Deb McLaughlin, Artis Sprigs Fund raising - Rolly and Wayne Thompson Financial planning - Dorothy Soper

8. We agreed to order 200 calendars from the Madison RPCV group to see as a fundraiser in the fall.

9. We accepted Felicia's suggestion that our organization have a page on Facebook. We hope to attract some younger RPCVs to our to our membership by doing this.

10. Coming meetings/activities:

Our next board meeting will be on Thursday, June 12th, at 7:15 pm, at Dorothy's house, 4430 Pinecrest Drive.

There won't be a potluck in June. The Thompsons will host a picnic at their farm on Saturday, July 12th, at 2:00 pm.

Links to Information of Interest

There has been more discussion - and a couple newspaper articles - about the issue of HIV positive volunteers serving in the Peace Corps, which was mentioned in last month's newsletter. Here are some links to the discussion:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer discusses retirees joining the Peace Corps.

Foreign Policy magazine published an article on misconceptions about the Peace Corps. "In the eyes of Americans, no government agency better exemplifies the optimism, can-do spirit, and selfless nature of the United States than the Peace Corps. Unfortunately, it's never lived up to its purpose or principles."

In the NPCA email newsletter for this month, there was a brief announcement about a report by the Inspector General about Peace Corps Medical Services. Since they did not provide a link, I've included the announcement here:

Inspector General Reports on Peace Corps Medical Services

A recently concluded study by Peace Corps' Office of Inspector General (OIG) includes 55 recommendations for improvements to the agency's Medical Clearance System. The OIG report is based on responses from more than 1,100 Peace Corps volunteers, RPCVs and recent applicants who eventually did not serve. While the study highlights a half-dozen screening systems and processes for being highly effective, it also reports that "external and internal criticism have mounted regarding the Medical Clearance System pertaining to lack of transparency, exceedingly long time frames for issuance of medical dispositions, lack of quality improvement, lack of technological improvements, poor quality of customer service, inadequate reimbursement fee schedules and lack of agency accountability." The report indicates Peace Corps fully or partially concurs with 49 of the recommendations, and includes responses from the agency on how each recommendation is being addressed. Because of interest within our community, NPCA is finalizing a more detailed summary of the OIG report and agency response to the recommendations. More information will be posted on our website and NPCA blog in the coming days.


As noted above, West Cascade is now on Facebook, which is a social networking website. Basically, the way Facebook works is that you sign up and a page is created for you. You add as much or as little information about yourself as you like to that page. Then, people who you know who are on Facebook indicate that they know you. You can do the same with people you know. The same is true for groups, and now people who are members of West Cascade can show their support by joining the group on Facebook.

We have put together five subcommittees to help improve West Cascade: Communications, Activities, Fund Raising, Financial Planning and Membership. If you would like to get involved, contact info@westcascadepca.org.