FY2011 Annual Report

Fiscal Year 2011 Report of CRPCA Activities

Reporting Period

CRPCA’s fiscal year runs October to September. This report covers the period from October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011.

50th Anniversary of Peace Corps Activities

Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary provided the impetus for a banner year for CRPCA.

In October CRPCA and Portland State University collaborated on a daylong conference of service to our community, A Call to Service Continues: Celebrating 50 Years of Peace Corps.
The event began with a plenary session with six RPCV panelists reflecting on their service. The breakout sessions covered grad schools, international development career opportunities, interview skills, local community service opportunities, résumés and cover letters, Peace Corps today, storytelling, and writing.

The conference ended with a rousing presentation from Kevin Laughlin, President of Idaho RPCVs, entitled “Tools for Living with Unwanted Change.”


On March 1, several CRPCA members hosted Global House Parties, and there was a grand opening for the Oregon Historical Society’s fantastic exhibit, Peace Corps: 50 Years of Service and Bringing the World Home.

Dozens of CRPCA members contributed artifacts, images, stories, and even video interviews to the exhibit. Dozens more helped with the public programs that CRPCA organized every other weekend during its March 1 to June 19 run.


In April CRPCA hosted the Northwest’s 50th anniversary Peace Corps Around the World Expo in partnership with the National Peace Corps Association and the Seattle Peace Corps Recruiting Office. This featured workshops for Peace Corps recruits and RPCVs, a plenary session with funny videos made by PCVs, and Around the World stations for RPCVs in host country dress to talk to Peace Corps recruits.

In June CPRCA made a big splash in Portland’s premier annual parade,
marching with all 139 Peace Corps country flags in the Grand Floral Parade. We had a huge turnout for our annual picnic and parade practice the Thursday evening before, then on parade day we marched in host country garb or Oregon Historical Society exhibit t-shirts.

Marching in the Rose Parade celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps



New Group Activities

Following up on ideas and enthusiasm generated by our October conference, CRPCA launched three new group activities. Each has proven to have legs!

  • 9 Writers’ Groupgatherings, between January and September
  • 6 Job Search Support Groupmeetings, between March and September
  • 4 Storytelling workshops, between February and May

Fundraisers and Donations

CRPCA raised funds throughout the year to support our Grant Program. Thanks to our community’s generosity, we will be able to make grants totaling $6,000 in FY2012.

  • In October CRPCA partnered with the Oregon Historical Societyon a joint fundraiser which featured Mediterranean music by Negara and belly dancing by Origin.
  • At our December potluck gathering, we had a silent auction.
  • In the fall and winter we sold 2011 International Calendars.
  • In June we held an event at Ready, Paint, Fire
    where our members and friends supported CRPCA through painting pottery.
  • We received a very welcome grant of $3,000 from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the charitable arm of the
    Grand Floral Parade’s sponsor.


    We distributed $4,000 through our grant program, to benefit nearly every region of the world in which Peace Corps has operated.

  • $1,000 to Mejor Communities to support volunteers for Youth Health Advocate trainings in Peru
  • $900 to Elizabeth Bowers Zambia Education Fund
    to establish a first-in-the-region rural preschool program in Zambia
  • $600 to American Iranian Friendship Council to invite Iran
    Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to a general reunion in
    Portland, with an eye toward reactivating Friends of Iran
  • $600 to Schools for Salone to publish Salone Stories,
    an illustrated book of children’s stories from throughout Sierra Leone,
    to be distributed to schoolchildren in Sierra Leone
  • $400 to African Children’s Libraries to provide books
    for school libraries and training for school librarians in Liberia
  • $300 to Sokal’ Rayon Association for the Disabled to
    train special needs individuals in candle making in Ukraine
  • $200 to send French books to understocked libraries
    at two francophone schools in Vanuatu

Book Club

Our Book Club discussed ten books and hosted several authors (Binka le Breton, Peter Hessler, Bob Textor, and Irene Tinker).

  • October:
    Where the Road Ends: A Home in the Brazilian Rainforest

    by Binka le Breton (2010). Binka was unable to make our discussion
    (she was our potluck speaker several nights later), but CRPCA’s
    Blake Schmidt, who had spent several months volunteering at the
    farm described in the book, contributed to our understanding of the book.
  • November: When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale
    by Mongolia RPCV
    Matthew Davis (2010). Our discussion of the book was enriched by the
    participation of CRPCA’s Nicora Gardner, who knew several of the people
    described in the book from her Peace Corps experience in Mongolia.
  • December:
    Crossing Centuries: A Road Trip Through Colonial Africa
    by Irene Tinker (2010). The book’s author hosted our discussion in her home!
  • January:
    Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle
    by Ecuador RPCV Moritz Thomsen (1969).
  • February:
    River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by China RPCV Peter
    Hessler (2001). The book’s author was in Portland for a book tour,
    which enticed 24 folks into showing up for our discussion on
    Valentine’s night.
  • March:
    Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in
    Central Asia
    by Uzbekistan RPCV Tom Bissell (2004).
  • April:
    Cultural Frontiers of the Peace Corps, edited by
    Robert B. Textor (1966). The book’s editor, a CRPCA member who had been
    Peace Corps’ founding anthropologist, supplied the context
    behind the social science essays assessing the first five years
    of Peace Corps.
  • May:
    The Ponds of Kalambayi: An African Sojourn by Congo RPCV
    Mike Tidwell (1996).
  • June:
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the
    by Eric Weiner (2008).
  • September:
    Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by
    Geraldine Brooks (1995).


We hosted seven engaging presentations at our potluck gatherings.

  • October: Will you be staying long? Notes from the Brazilian backwoods.
    Presentation by Binka le Breton of Iracambi Atlantic Rainforest Research Center. We learned from Binka how she organized her Brazilian farming community to protect their natural resources.
  • November: Empowering Women Through Leadership: A Local/Global Connection.
    Presentation by Jennifer Ruwart, founder and CEO of Moyo Jasiri. Jennifer shared the inspiring work of Moyo Jasiri, which promotes entrepeneurism among women around the world.
  • February: Yemen before in was popular: one ex-diplomat’s experience.
    Presentation by Noah Siegel, former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, current Director of International Affairs for the Mayor’s office in Portland. Noah shared stories of things he learned from qat culture in Yemen.
  • March: Zoom Uganda.
    Presentation by Thomas and Noela Lwebuga on their ongoing commitment to a community in Uganda that has been ravaged by HIV/AIDS. It all started with an exhibition of photos taken by twelve AIDS orphans.
  • April: Recipients of previous CRPCA grants.
    Representatives from Global Student Outreach (Cambodia), Makindu Children’s Program (Kenya), MEJOR Communities (Peru), Safe Passage to Motherhood (Kenya), and Schools for Salone (Sierra Leone) reported how our grant dollars have been spent.
  • May: Green Empowerment: Renewable Energy, Water, and Sustainable Solutions. Presentation by Anna Garwood, Executive Director of Green Empowerment. Anna discussed her organization’s work promoting renewable energy and water systems in several countries.
  • June: Peace Corps Response veterans share their experience. Tom Gihring spoke about the post-war introduction of zoning in Bosnia-Herzegovina’s cities. Andrew Judkins spoke about his efforts to fight trash through environmental education in Bulgaria.

Service Activities

Our major new service partnership for this year was with Habitat for Humanity Metro/East.

  • 11 service shifts at Oregon Food Bank:
    We sorted, bagged, and boxed donated food, every month but April.
  • 2 service days with Habitat for Humanity:
    We applied paint, installed drainage pipes, and sawed wood at the Rivergate Commons development in North Portland,
    with 15 volunteers in April and 10 in September.
  • 1 service shift in the Portland Fruit Tree Project
    office (November).

Social Activities

Several of our social activities this year involved our partner organizations.

  • 8 soirées (monthly pub gatherings, on the months without International Development Happy Hours)
  • 6 restaurant gatherings, at Esparza’s Tex Mex, Dwaraka (Indian), Tuk Tuk (Thai), Indish (Indian), Pok Pok (Thai), and Bete-Lukas (Ethiopian)
  • 4 International Development Happy Hours. These quarterly pub gatherings are co-hosted by CRPCA, Development Salon, Global Sistergoods, Green Empowerment, Jubilee Oregon, North West Fair Trade Coalition, and the Portland Area Global AIDS Coalition.
  • 2 dinner gatherings, hosted by Katie & Roberto Masferrer to raise awareness of Peruvian cuisine and the work of MEJOR Communities
  • 2 family events (Oxbow Park salmon viewing, Cascade Festival of African Films family film day)
  • 2 game nights
  • 2 movie nights
  • 1 breakfast gathering with Jubilee Oregon’s guest, Priva Haang’andu, former head of Jubilee Zambia.
  • 1 hike outing: Oneanta Falls / Franklin Ridge
  • 1 Portland Timbers soccer game outing

Speakers Bureau Activities

Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary provided us with more speaking opportunities than usual.

  • Speaker requests came from/for
    Battle Ground Library,
    Beaverton High School,
    Charles F. Tigard Elementary School,
    Concordia University,
    David Douglas High School,
    Gladstone / Oak Grove Kiwanis Club,
    International School of Beaverton,
    Jubilee Oregon,
    Lincoln High School,
    Mountaindale North Girl Scout Day Camp,
    Oregon City High School, and
    Oregon Public Broadcasting (for the Think Out Loud radio show),
  • CRPCA’s programming at the Oregon Historical Society exhibit involved textiles, gardening, sports, Earth Day,
    HIV/AIDS, music/dance, informal tours, a panel discussion of RPCVs, and a Peace Corps history lecture by CRPCA’s Bob Textor.
  • CRPCA members assisted with Peace Corps recruitingevents throughout the year.

Special Events

Listed here are our annual special events that don’t fall under other categories listed in this report.

  • October: Our first annual group tour of Portland’s Bull Run watershed on Mount Hood.Peace Corps Around the World recruiting event.
  • January: Post-Holiday White Elephant Party.
    Winter Weekend at Mazama Lodge.
  • February: Sponsored “Burning in the Sun” documentary at the Cascade Festival of African Films.
  • June: Culture Box open house at the World Affairs Council of Oregon.
  • July: 3rd annual CRPCA Local Campoutat Beacon Rock State Park.
  • August: Members attended the 21st annual West Regional Peace Corps Campout at Grayback Gulch in Idaho City, sponsored by Idaho RPCVs.

Board Activities

  • The CRPCA board met at the October, November, February, March, April, May, and June potluck gatherings and at the September annual planning meeting.
  • The finance committee met in August to draft our FY2012 budget.
  • Beyond everything else described in this report, our new accomplishment for this year was determining additional questions to ask on our grant application form.

Activity Level

CRPCA is among the most active Peace Corps groups in America.

  • We offered an average of nine events per month January to June, seven events per month October to December, and five events per month July to September.
  • Average events per month for the year was 7.6.


Electronic communication with members is now handled with MailChimp.

  • We sent 51 weekly e-updates to our current members.
  • The e-update format switched to MailChimp in November.
  • We published 12 monthly newsletters. The newsletter format switched to MailChimp in August. Newsletters are available free on our website, and we provide paper copies to members without e-mail.
  • In November we surveyed our members regarding our 2011-2012 Book Club choices and to gauge interest in our Storytelling and Writers’ groups.


Five newly arrived RPCVs were matched with mentors.

Financial Report

Income Expenses
Membership $2,130.00
White Elephant Event $222.50 $321.73
Local Campout $370.00 $394.21
Service Programs $350.00 $200.00
Oct 2010 Event at OHS $926.00 $722.48
Dec 2010 Silent Auction $455.00
member events (ballgames, tours, etc.)
$470.00 $473.41
Events Subtotal $4,923.50 $2,111.83
Grants Disbursed
(includes FY2010 grant disbursed in FY2011 and sponsorship of Cascade Festival of African Films)
Calendar Sale $4,038.50 $2,304.03
Grand Floral Parade
(income includes grant from Spirit Mountain Community Fund)
$4,146.00 $1,660.41
Operating Expenses
Newsletter, stamps, PO box, etc. $644.00
Support of western regional rep on NPCA board, regional meeting expenses $317.81
Fees (State of Oregon, NPCA) $170.00
Expense Subtotal
Interest Earned $10.57
Individual/Corporate Donations
(Girl Scouts, Ready Paint Fire)
Total $13,528.57 $12,208.08


As of October 10, 2011…

  • CRPCA has 268 individual members in 255 households.
  • 75 CRPCA members also belong to the National Peace Corps Association.
  • 13 CRPCA members are currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers.
  • 100 CRPCA members are RPCVs in their free first year of membership.
  • 254 CRPCA members are current or returned Peace Corps Volunteers, listed below by first year of service.

Decade of Service

Number of Members