Email Newsletter for June 2008
Greetings from the West Cascade Peace Corps Association!
In this edition of our electronic newsletter, you'll find:
July 10: Our monthly board meeting. Even if you aren't on the board, we really would appreciate your support. We'll be meeting at Benj's house. If you need directions, contact email@example.com or leave a message at (541) 607-4140, and we'll get back to you.
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. If you are interested in biking out to the potluck from Eugene, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll go as a group!
August 8-10: The Northwest Regional Campout will be held this year at the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in Washington, hosted this year by the Inland NW RPCVs. More information is on the calendar on the website.
August 23: Walk for the Gold is a benefit for Special Olympics that will be held on the morning of August 23rd in Alton Baker Park. More information is at http://www.walkforthegold.com/.
The newsletter is getting longer, which is great, as it means that we have more interesting things to tell you. However, a long email can be a bit much. In the interest of finding the best way to get our information to you, I've put a poll up on the website asking about how you would prefer to receive the newsletter. Please take a moment to let us know what you think.
As many of you know, I stepped up from VP to president of WCPCA when
our former leader, Dustin Johnson, left the area a few months ago to
take a job elsewhere. I've been a member of West Cascade since the
1980's and have taken part in many activities and programs in which
we have been involved. I am most proud of our funding projects.
Since 1986, our relatively small group of returned Peace Corps
Volunteers has donated over $26,000 to more than 17 projects, mainly
through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. The current WCPCA
board is very committed to continuing this tradition of giving.
We're especially interested in funding project requests from PCV's
in the field who call Oregon their home. And if any of these folks
hail from the Eugene/Springfield area, so much the better.
To that end I'm hoping that one or two members of West Cascade might
offer to assist WCPCA's financial planning committee in deciding
which projects we would recommend for funding to the board. We
have $700 to award in this fiscal year in addition to the $300
One of our relatively new members, Jack Meacham (Turkey, 1967-69),
has already done some research into what projects are up for funding
and has agreed to chair this new committee. If you're interested in
contributing some of your time and talents to this endeavor, please
contact Jack at email@example.com or myself
firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to start working on this within
the next week or two.
Notes from the secretary's pen:
'Humanitarian grants and membership in WCPCA'
Occasionally I'll put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) to
share a few thoughts. But for this first occasion I'll introduce
myself. I've been a member of WCPCA since the late 1980s and done
my best to keep up while raising children and teaching in 4J. In
the mid-1990s I spent a few years being secretary and treasurer,
sometimes both, and now that I've retired I've returned to being
secretary. I love the job because I'm free to do most anything that
no one else is doing.
Lately I've been emailing both long term and new members to
encourage them to stay with us and then welcoming those who renewed
their membership. I've received many very nice email replies and
I've especially appreciated the PC reminiscences. Now I want to
show you the link between your membership and the grants that we can
The WCPCA board decided on 6/12 to award $1,000 in grants to
humanitarian projects during its tenure (12/07 to 11/08). We've
already granted $300 to equip a music room at a high school in
Mongolia where a Eugene PCV is working. We'll soon be looking for
one or more additional projects to support with the $700 remaining
to be awarded. We're carrying on a tradition that has given over
$26,000 to humanitarian projects in the last twenty years.
In giving $1,000 in grants this year we are at the break even point
for our fiscal year's budget. We'll probably have less than $100
more in income than we'll have in expenditures. We have
approximately $4,000 in reserves but the board doesn't want to dip
into them now because we may decide to put some of this money into
Beryl's memorial fund.
We anticipate receiving a '501 C3' designation from the IRS within
the next few months. This will give us the status of a charity for
which donations are tax deductible. When that happens we plan to
establish an endowed fund with the Oregon Community Foundation.
We've received a gift of $22,000 and we need another $3,000 to
create the fund. We might add more. Earnings from this fund would
be awarded annually to humanitarian projects.
We feel that the membership will support expanding our grant program
and we'll soon be asking you to join us in a fundraising activity or
two for this purpose. But in the meantime we urge you to renew your
membership when the time comes or to join the organization. At this
time membership dues account for 40% of our income. We expect to
receive about $1,350 in dues this year from approximately 55
members. There are set rates for different membership categories
such singles, couples, first year after COS, and students. And,
really, we accept whatever you can afford. But membership does
count and we count you on.
We've reduced our expenses to the bare bones and realize a
significant savings by using electronic means to stay in touch with
you. You'll find our budget posted on the website and our monthly
board minutes and newsletter tell you our current financial status.
(For these items click on 'News'.) We're doing all that we can to
free your dues to fund humanitarian projects and to stay in touch
with you through email and our website which literally glows with
information. Please look at it on our website.
You'll find all of the details about membership here and you can
pay online if you wish.
To help our members meet and contact each other, we'll publish a new
membership directory in early October. We can do this efficiently
now with our new database software. We'll ask you by email if
you're willing to be included and also if your contact information
needs updating. The directory is for our use only and won't be
available to outside parties. It will be distributed free of charge
to our membership.
With the directory in mind, we hope that our current members will
renew their memberships and help the board recruit new members. We
urge former members to consider rejoining. We hope that all of you
will feel welcome to take part in our activities and help us serve
both local and international communities. Even more than your
membership dues, your participation in our activities, discussions,
and work make the organization. Please let us hear from you with
emails or phone calls. Thank you all in advance for your support.
From Deb McLaughlin:
Looking for all RPCV's, friends and family that want to get out and
do some extra activities together besides just the bimonthly potlucks. The
activities committee wants to have fun and we're looking for you.
Ideas are anything from hikes, bike trips, kayaking, wine tasting at local
vineyards, meet at the park or swimming pool to cool down, take part in movies
in the park, etc. Since I'm about to have a baby I'm also looking for
people that might be interested in leading some activities especially for the next couple months. If you have ideas for fun or want to help lead an
activity, send me an email at email@example.com. We also have a small
activities committee of two and would take on some more willing
people to help plan. We'll meet about once a month to brainstorm great ideas.
Upcoming fun events outside the WCPCA:
Friday July 11th *Movies in the Park*. Come meet at Washington Park
to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. The movie is from 9-11. We'll send out more
details on meeting up closer to event time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
The full text is available elsewhere on the website.
1. Eight board members attended. Minutes of the previous meeting
were circulated and approved by email before the meeting.
2. President's report: James is working with Charlie Ward, a local
RPCV and an accountant, who is volunteering time to advise us.
We're checking with him regarding our current tax status and also
filing requirements with the state of Oregon and the IRS once we
received a 501 C3 status, that is become an official charity for
which contributions will be tax deductible.
3. Webmaster's report: Felicia has purchased a new scanner to add
greater content to the website. She's organizing printouts from the
database that can be used for a membership directory.
Felicia and Deb will be organizing some outdoor activities for the
summer. You'll learn about them on the web.
4. Treasurer's report: Evangelina presented a draft budget for this
board's tenure: 12/07 through 11/08. The board discussed the
budget, made some revisions, and then accepted it. The board
projects expenditures for this period of approximately $2,300 and an
income of approximately $2,600. The full budget can be found
elsewhere on the website.
Current financial status:
Oregon Community Credit Union: $3,651 in checking account; $2,512 in
a six month CD; $2,000 invested in the Calvert fund and due to be
returned to WCPCA in August; Beryl's Memorial Fund: $22,612 invested
with Edward Jones.
5. The board discussed the amount of money it would like to offer to
one or more additional humanitarian projects during its tenure. The
board has already awarded $300 to a PC Partnership Project in
Mongolia. After careful discussion the board decided to offer an
additional $700 for a total of $1,000 in grants to be offered during
its period in office. This will bring our total anticipated
expenditures for the fiscal year to $3,000. As yet no procedure is
in place to select additional projects to fund.
6. Rolly reported that the IRS should begin to review applications
for 501 C3 projects filed in February, as ours was, within the next
month. We're hoping for a favorable response to our application by
7. We elected to take part in the 'Walk for the Gold' organized by
the Special Olympics which will take place in August. We hope that
many members from WCPCA will join the board. Our participation is
being organized by Benj.
8. We agreed to print a membership directory by the end of the
summer. This will include the names, contact numbers, years and
country of PC service, and possibly type of work for paid up
members. Felicia will be able to contact all of our members via
email to ask them to update their contact information and to give
permission to include them in the directory. The directory will be
only for our membership and will not be circulated outside of WCPCA.
It will be distributed free of charge to our membership.
9. The next board meeting will be on Thursday, July 10th, 7 pm, at
Benj's home, 3950 Monroe Street.
The next potluck will be a picnic at Rolly and Wayne Thompsons'
farm, 30781 Fox Hollow Road, 2:00 pm, on Saturday, July 12th. The
gathering will be especially friendly for children.
Lots of people complain that they don't receive World View magazine, even though they are members of the NPCA. Well, it looks like the NPCA has finally resolved that issue by putting the magazine online.
Looking for a way to further your education? The Rotary Club has a variety of different programs and fellowships that focus on international and conflict resolution studes. (More information)
Afghan Connections, published by Friends of Afghanistan, featured this article celebrating Beryl in their April 2008 issue. Since the newsletter requires a password to get from their website, I've copied the article below:
FRIENDS OF AFGHANISTAN STARFISH INITIATIVE
Since early morning, the powerful Shamal rolling
from deep within the Rub ul Khali had sent both
sand and tide across the Gulf and up against the
eastern shore. As evening approached, young
Rostam, far from his home in Khorosan, was
carefully walking the beach between the driftwood
and other flotsam. The sand appeared to taper to a
point beyond the horizons as far as the youth could
see. Every so often he would pause, squat deeply,
pick up a starfish and gently toss it back into the sea.
Rostam's father Zal, concerned about his son's
absence as the night sky began to turn red,
approached him on the beach and asked what could
be so important that it would take the young
pahalwan away for such a long time. Rostam
explained how the unusual winds had forced large
numbers of starfish above the normal high tide mark
and that if he didn't return them to the water they
would all die. Zal told Rostam that the shore that
they were standing on stretched for hundreds of
leagues and the tide had put virtually thousands of
starfish in harmÕs way.
Zal said, "Son you can't possibly make a difference
for these creatures." Bending again and softly
pitching another starfish toward the setting sun,
Rostam smiled at Zal and said, "Pader Jaan,
b'ehetram,* I made a difference for that one."
With apologies to Rostam, our enduring hero
is Beryl Brinkman, whose memorial fund will
provide the tangible support for the Friends of
Afghanistan Starfish Initiative, instituted by the
FoA's Executive Committee. The Starfish
Initiative was discussed at the RPCV reunion in
November. Many of our members were returning
to Afghanistan periodically to support
humanitarian efforts, frequently at their own
expense. We concluded that providing support for
these projects would be the most direct way for FoA
to reach back to our host country and once again
make a difference in the lives of regular Afghans.
It is with sincere thanks and great honor that I
announce Cedric and Norma Emery as the first
recipients of the FoA Starfish Initiative from the
Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund. An FoA grant of
$1,500 will go to the Emerys to help support their
medical assistance program in Afghanistan.
As noted previously, West Cascade is 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 email@example.com.