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Summary of the Western Regional Meeting of the Affiliated Groups of the National Peace Corps Association

February 21, 2009
Eugene, Oregon

This regional meeting was attended by representatives of RPCV organizations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Other states included in the western region are California, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Montana and the US territories in the Pacific.

Attending this meeting:

WCPCA members and guests: Joe Hindman, NPCA board member who represents the western region, Wayne Thompson, James Cloutier, Shannon Micheel, Vern Delk, Dale Dow, Justin Overdevest, Artis Spriggs, Rosa Sakamishi, Bob Watada, Rolly Thompson, Evangelina Sundgrenz, Dorothy Soper
Members of other western region organizations: Richard Ireland of the Columbia River RPCA, Portland, OR, Sam Greer from Boise, Idaho, Aileen Lie, Paulette Thompson (Seattle liaison to the NPCA board), and Joana Ramos from the Seattle, WA, RPCV organization, SEAPAX.

We met in the Community Room at EWEB's headquarters at noon. WCPCA provided a potluck luncheon. Joe Hindman presided at the meeting.

Below are highlights of the meeting. No attempt was made to record all of the details of the meeting.

  1. Each RPCV organization represented gave a report of its activities over the last year. One item of note is that each now distributes its newsletter electronically.

  2. We discussed how each organization defines a returned volunteer. Is it someone who served a minimum amount of time? Successfully completed training? No consensus was reached but none of the groups has a problem with this question.

  3. We discussed ideas for attracting new members and retaining current ones. We agree that its helpful to have a range of activities that will appeal to different age groups and family configurations. Families with children seem to like picnics and other active programs. Being in parades attracts people in general. Virtual activities and pub nights were recommended for younger RPCVs. Potlucks seems to appeal to all ages but a little less so to younger members.

    Everyone felt that the PC should be forthcoming to give RPCV organizations the names of volunteers who are completing their service. We noted the recently published directory of RPCVs from the national organization.

  4. For organizations planning to write grant proposals, checking with the Friends of Malawi was recommended.

  5. We discussed the funding of active PC projects through the Peace Corps Partnership program. We understand that this must be the channel to fund any PC project now.

  6. We discussed the pros and cons of having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. SEPAX has chosen to be a “registered nonprofit charitable group” with the IRS as an alternative. We learned the basis for this decision.

    There was a suggestion that the NPCA put all of the affiliated organizations under its umbrella thus letting them become 501(c)(3) organizations without making an individual application. We discussed this.

  7. Sam Greer reminded us that there is an existing agreement among the organizations of the western region that each group will contribute annually to the travel expenses of the regional representative. These expenses are typically $1,200 to $1,500 per year.

    Participation is voluntary. The typical amount contributed is $1 per member. Contributions are made directly to the representative. It's not clear whether all of the RPCV organizations in the western region are aware of this agreement.

  8. We would like to have a list of all of the RPCV organizations in the western region and a contact person with email address for each. Joe will work on this.

  9. We discussed the PC's funding from Congress. We agreed that we would like to see an emphasis on improving the quality of existing PC programs before the general expansion of the PC.

    We discussed briefly who might be the new PC director.

  10. Joe and others identified the current initiatives of the NPCA. They are:

    • More Peace Corps campaign
    • Raising money for the 50th anniversary celebration in all of its facets
    • Seeking $25 million in grants to create an endowed fund of which the income would provide ongoing funding for its activities
    • Allocating $500,000 received from the Gates Foundation (early 2009) to fund PC projects in agriculture
  11. Coming meetings:

    • Regional meeting in May, 2009, in Boise or Spokane
    • Campout August 21-23, 2009, in Washington near Leavenworth in the Cascades; host group is SEPAX in Seattle
    • Regional meeting, January, 2010, Portland
    • Regional meeting, May, 2010, Seattle
    • Campout, August, 2010, host would be the Portland, Eugene or Boise group
    • September, 2011, celebration of the 50th anniversary, Washington DC

We adjourned shortly after 4:00 pm. We planned to gather at 6:00 pm at Mekala's Restaurant for a fundraising dinner organized by WCPCA.

Dorothy Soper
Secretary, WCPCA