PPCA COVID-19 Support Fund – still available

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the Portland Peace Corps Association has established a special COVID-19 Support Fund to support our community members. Beginning immediately, newly evacuated PCVs and local RPCVs in NW Oregon and SW Washington may apply for funds based on their needs. Please refer to the information below to learn more about this funding opportunity and how to apply.

What: PPCA has established a special fund for one-time payments to support community members with crucial needs due to their evacuation and/or impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Newly evacuated PCVs and local RPCVs in NW Oregon and SW Washington

Eligibility: Individual must describe how they have been impacted, their need, and what they will use the funds for.

How to apply for assistance: Take our COVID-19 Support Survey NOW at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7H27S7V.

Note: We will never divulge anything that could be used to identify recipients, but we may paraphrase applicants’ needs to promote donations to our COVID-19 Support Fund.

When: We are considering new support applicants now! The first round of payments was made in early May, providing 6 newly evacuated PCVs with $2,300 in support. Future payments are dependent on member contributions to our COVID-19 Support Fund.

Who makes the selection decision?: PPCA has named a four-person committee to review requests and maintain confidentiality.

Amount of funds: As of May 20, thanks largely to member generosity, the total fund exceeds $750. As a result, we are willing to consider payments between $200 and $500.

Method of payment: Payments will be made via Venmo or by check.

Seeking additional donations to this fund: PPCA seeks additional donations to our COVID-19 Support Fund at http://www.crpca.org/checkout/.

July 2020 Book Club Selection

The Death of Idealism
Kallman, Meghan Elizabeth: The Death of Idealism: Development and Anti-Politics in the Peace Corps (2020)

Discussion: Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 4:00-5:30 pm. Online meeting via Zoom; e-mail bookclub AT crpca.org for the login information. Participating in our discussion will be Meghan Elizabeth Kallman, the book’s author!

Synopsis: Peace Corps volunteers seem to exemplify the desire to make the world a better place. Yet despite being one of history’s clearest cases of organized idealism, the Peace Corps has, in practice, ended up cultivating very different outcomes among its volunteers. By the time they return from the Peace Corps, volunteers exhibit surprising shifts in their political and professional consciousness. Rather than developing a systemic perspective on development and poverty, they tend instead to focus on individual behavior; they see professions as the only legitimate source of political and social power. They have lost their idealism, and their convictions and beliefs have been reshaped along the way. The Death of Idealism uses the case of the Peace Corps to explain why and how participation in a bureaucratic organization changes people’s ideals and politics. Meghan Elizabeth Kallman offers an innovative institutional analysis of the role of idealism in development organizations. She details the combination of social forces and organizational pressures that depoliticizes Peace Corps volunteers, channels their idealism toward professionalization, and leads to cynicism or disengagement. Kallman sheds light on the structural reasons for the persistent failure of development organizations and the consequences for the people involved. Based on interviews with over 140 current and returned Peace Corps volunteers, field observations, and a large-scale survey, this deeply researched, theoretically rigorous book offers a novel perspective on how people lose their idealism, and why that matters.

Where to find it:
Vendors: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Columbia Univ Press (enter CUP30 for 30% discount)

June 2020 Book Club Selection

Sagebrush Collaboration
Walker, Peter*: Sagebrush Collaboration: How Harney County, Oregon, Defeated the Takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (2018)

* RPCV Sierra Leone 1986-1988

Discussion: Thursday, June 4, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Online meeting via Zoom; e-mail bookclub AT crpca.org for the login information. Participating in our discussion will be Peter Walker, the book’s author!

Synopsis: Every American is co-owner of the most magnificent estate in the world—federal public forests, grazing lands, monuments, national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public places. The writer Wallace Stegner famously referred to public lands as “America’s best idea,” but there have always been some who oppose the idea for ideological reasons, or because they have a vested economic interest. In the current decade, federal public lands have been under physical threat as never before, with armed standoffs and takeovers that the US government has proved stunningly unsuccessful at prosecuting in federal courts. One such incident was the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, in 2016. Armed militants seized the headquarters of the refuge for forty-one days and occupied the community for three months. Militants threatened and harassed local residents, pledging to “give back” the land to unnamed “rightful owners” in their effort to enact a fringe interpretation of the US Constitution. Drawing on more than two years of intensive fieldwork, Sagebrush Collaboration shows that the militants failed in their objectives because the sensible and hardworking citizens of Harney County had invested decades in collaboratively solving the very problems that the militia used to justify their anti–federal government revolution. In Sagebrush Collaboration, Peter Walker offers the first book-length study of why the 2016 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge failed. His nuanced and deeply researched account provides the full context for the takeover, including the response from local and federal officials and the grassroots community resistance. It will be essential reading for years to come for anyone who wants to understand the ongoing battle over the future of America’s public lands.

Where to find it:
FREE: to residents of Oregon (allow 2 weeks)
Libraries: Ft Vancouver | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble