FY2012 Annual Report

We had another awesome year.

  • CRPCA’s fiscal year runs October to September.
  • This report covers the period from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012.

We engaged our community.

  • In February we sponsored the screening of Faro: Goddess of the Water at the Cascade Festival of African Films.
  • In March we offered a Civic Reflection discussion, “Where is the Edge of Goodness?,” facilitated by Graham Murtaugh.
  • In May we organized a Peace Corps Presentation Workshop at Portland State University, emceed and evaluated by Distinguished Toastmaster Cleon Cox, with demonstrations of slide, PowerPoint, Prezi, KML, and video presentation techniques from Laura Kutner and Bill Stein.
  • In June we carried the flags of 100 Peace Corps countries in the Portland Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade. This was our second consecutive invitation to march in Portland’s premier annual parade.
  • Our Writers’ Workshop occurred 8 times, every month but December, June, July, and August. We had frequent participation by–and great feedback from–several published authors.
  • Our Storytelling Gym gathered 3 times, in April, May, and June. We will continue promoting effective, entertaining storytelling in the next year.

We served our neighbors.

  • At our eleven service shifts at the Oregon Food Bank, we sorted, bagged, and boxed donated food (every month but November and April, including twice in December).
  • At our two service days with Habitat for Humanity, we caulked, hung siding, installed weathersealing, and more. Our February build was at the Victoria Cottages development in Gresham. Our April build was at SE 171st & Division in Portland.

We supported worldwide initiatives.

We distributed $5,200 through our Grant Program, to benefit projects in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the USA.

  • $1,000 was awarded to Education for Haiti to support 501(c)(3) status for an Oregon RPCV-led organization which provides school tuition to children in Haiti.
  • $1,000 was awarded to First School of Vilkovo to support an Oregon PCV-led project building a school bathroom in Ukraine. [This grant was later returned.]
  • $800 was awarded to Playa Balsa Water Committee to support an Oregon PCV-led project building a drinking water system and composting latrine in Panama.
  • $600 was awarded to Green Empowerment to support an Oregon-based NGO building a sustainable energy project in Nicaragua.
  • $600 was awarded to Oaxaca Kids Can to support an Oregon-based NGO building capacity for a school breakfast program in Mexico.
  • $400 was awarded to Global Student Outreach to support an Oregon-based NGO building an electrical system for a school in Cambodia.
  • $400 was awarded to La Pedrera to support an Oregon-based NGO building a computer lab for a school in Guatemala.
  • $400 was awarded to Trash for Peace to support an Oregon RPCV-led organization building trash cans out of recycled plastic products in the USA.

We built capacity for future grants.

  • In the fall and winter we sold 2012 International Calendars.
  • In November our Annual Fundraiser was held at Ready Paint Fire, with musical entertainment from Supadupa Marimba Brothers.
  • In May we held a Bowling Fundraiser at Hollywood Bowl.
  • In the summer we began selling CRPCA’s 2012 Parade T-shirts.

We learned together.

We hosted five engaging presentations at our Potluck Gatherings.

  • October: Tools to Support the Local, Global Movement: What Fair Trade Means Today: Panel presentation by Rafael Aviles of Equal Exchange, Kristi Jo Lewis of Global Sistergoods, and Sarah Mitts of AWAZ Voice for Empowerment. We discussed many issues regarding fair trade and learned of the fair trade initiatives in our community.
  • December: International Forestry: Presentations by Lewis & Clark professor Cari Coe, CRPCA’s Tom DeMeo. and CRPCA’s Mike Waite. Cari discussed forest politics in Vietnam, Tom described forestry work alongside PCVs in Morocco, and Mike spoke of administering an attitudinal survey toward forests in Liberia.
  • January: HIV in America & Abroad: Presentation by John Motter from the Cascade AIDS Project. John spoke movingly of the difficulties and costs of living with HIV.
  • March: The Niger River by Kayak and Pirogue: Slideshow and stories from John Haines of Mercy Corps Northwest. John and his friend Rick accomplished the first continuous descent of the Niger River, from the Guinea highlands to the delta in Nigeria, in 1991-1992.
  • May: International High School Students: We gained perspectives on American education and teen/family culture from a panel of exchange students from Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Sierra Leone.

We read and discussed international books.

Our Book Club discussed thirteen books on eleven evenings.

  • October: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (2009).
  • November: The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by Maarten J. Troost (2004).
  • December: Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey
    by Isabel Fonseca (1996).
  • January: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (2005).
  • February: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (1931).
  • March: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles S. Mann (2005).
  • April: Three Cups of What? A lively discussion of the work of Greg Mortenson, open to all who had read Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (2006); Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson (2009); and/or Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer (2011).
  • May: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder (2003).
  • June: The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed by China RPCV Michael Meyer (2008).
  • July: When I Was Elena by Guatemala RPCV Ellen Urbani Hiltebrand (2006). Our discussion was hosted by CRPCA’s Ellen Urbani Gass, the book’s author.
  • September: Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Mali RPCV Kris Holloway (2007).

We supported each other.

  • Our Job Search Support Group met 10 times, every month but December and July.
  • We made RPCV Mentoring Program matches between a seasoned Mongolia RPCV and a recently arrived Nicaragua RPCV, and between a seasoned Morocco RPCV and a recently arrived Turkmenistan RPCV.
  • We raised funds for members suffering hard times through our first-ever Holiday Help initiative (December).

We spoke to diverse audiences.

  • Community speaker requests came for the “Thirsters” discussion group in Portland (October), a World Travel Teen Night at Mt. Scott Community Center in Portland (November) and a student-organized Peace Corps Awareness Night at Southridge High School in Beaverton (April).
  • Peace Corps speaker requests came for recruiting events held at the Northwest Agriculture Show (January), a Portland State University Career Fair (February), the Green Professionals Conference (February), the Farwest Agricultural Show (August), a Concordia University class (September), and the Q Center (September).
  • Two CRPCA events involved direct collaboration with the Northwest Peace Corps recruiting office: Peace Corps Around the World (December) and the Peace Corps Sendoff Party (May).

We shared many fun times together.

  • We shared stories and drinks at eight Soirées.
  • We connected with sister organizations (Global Sistergoods, Green Empowerment, Jubilee Oregon, North West Fair Trade Coalition, and the Portland Area Global AIDS Coalition) at four International Development Happy Hours.
  • We shared stories and meals at four Restaurant Gatherings, at Zien Hong (November), Esparza’s Tex-Mex Café (December), E’NJoni Café (February), and Thai Seasons (March).
  • We continued the fun at four Post-Event Pub Gatherings, in December, March, May, and June.
  • We attended three Group Sports Event Outings: Trail Blazers basketball in April, and Timbers soccer in April and September.
  • We played at two Game Nights, in January and March.
  • We got wet at a Tubing Adventure on the Clackamas River in October.
  • Our “Indian Summer Picnic” in October ended up indoors.
  • We learned about Portland’s water source at our second annual Bull Run Watershed Tour in October.
  • Our third annual Winter Weekend at Mazama Lodge took place in December.
  • Gifts and laughs were exchanged at our 12th annual Post-Holiday White Elephant Party in January.
  • We organized a full afternoon of family activities around Family Film Day at the Cascade Festival of African Films in February.
  • We gathered for a secret Cave Exploration in March.
  • We were invited to Salem for a Peace Corps 51st Birthday Party in March.
  • We rode bikes downhill on the Banks-Vernonia Trail in April.
  • We rode bikes together at Sunday Parkways in Northeast Portland in May.
  • Our Annual Picnic and Parade Practice took place on the eve of our second consecutive appearance in the Grand Floral Parade in June.
  • Our fourth annual Local Campout brought us to rainy Silver Falls State Park in June.
  • We organized a Family Beach Day in July.
  • We shared a Pub Gathering with Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Deputy Director of Peace Corps, in August.
  • We assembled our dinner together at a Hands-On Pizza Making Party for our Global House Party in September.

Our volunteer leaders kept things humming.

  • The CRPCA board met at the October, December, February, April, and June potluck gatherings and at the September annual planning meeting.
  • An ad-hoc committee to reassess our Grant Program first met in July. So far the only matter resolved is a new policy to limit organizations to one CRPCA grant every three years; this was proposed and adopted at the September annual planning meeting.
  • The finance committee met in August to draft our FY2013 budget. The draft budget was amended and approved at the September annual planning meeting.
  • Our group leaders represented CRPCA at the Northwest Peace Corps Group Leaders meetings at Seattle in March and at the Northwest Peace Corps Campout at Sunset Bay State Park in August.

We were more active than ever.

  • We offered an average of 8.7 events per month, up from 7.6 events per month in FY2011.
  • Our most active month was March (13 events), and our least active month was July (5 events).

We surveyed our members as warranted.

  • Our December survey (28 responses) sought input on our 2012-2013 Book Club selections.
  • Our January survey (15 responses) asked for choices regarding sports event outing dates.
  • Our February survey (16 responses) gauged interest in alternative Writers’ Workshop protocols.
  • Our August surveys solicited preferences for grant award criteria (23 responses) and future group campouts (13 responses).

We communicated frequently and effectively.

  • We sent 54 weekly e-updates to our current members.
  • We again published 12 monthly newsletters, a consecutive-month streak that began at the start of FY2009.
  • The committee working behind-the-scenes on our redesigned website held six pub work sessions, in December, April, May, June, July, and September. Dozens more volunteer hours were devoted to the WordPress transition outside of these gatherings.

We used our members’ funds responsibly.

Income Expenses
Membership $3,210.00
White Elephant Event $493.00 $534.00
Local Campout $415.00 $310.98
Service Programs $100.00 $0.00
Civic Reflection event $0.00 $100.00
Nov 2011 Silent Auction $1,503.00 $267.14
Other member events (ballgames, tours, etc.) $1,700.00 $1,720.00
Events Subtotal $4,211.00 $2,932.12
Grants Disbursed
Calendar Sale $3,799.00 $1,852.30
T-shirt Sales $1,155.00 $1,435.05
Grand Floral Parade
Operating Expenses
Newsletter, stamps, PO box, etc. $437.42
Support of western regional rep on NPCA board, regional meeting expenses $302.07
Fees (State of Oregon, NPCA) $150.00
Expense Subtotal
Interest Earned $7.48
Individual/Corporate Donations
(Ready Paint Fire, Bowling Night)
Total $12,862.13 $13,568.96

Our membership numbers are strong.

As of March 4, 2013…

  • CRPCA has 250 individual members in 210 households.
  • 96 CRPCA members also belong to the National Peace Corps Association.
  • 9 CRPCA members are currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers.
  • 74 CRPCA members are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in their first free year of membership.
  • CRPCA’s members have served or are serving in 83 different countries. Among our members, 19 served in the Peace Corps twice, and 3 served in the Peace Corps three times. The most frequent countries of service among our members are Sierra Leone (11 members); Dominican Republic, Malawi, and Senegal (9 members each); Philippines and Thailand (8 members each); and Guatemala (7 members).

Here is the breakdown of our PCV/RPCV members by first year of service:

  • 1960s: 53 members
  • 1970s: 35 members
  • 1980s: 29 members
  • 1990s: 42 members
  • 2000s: 67 members
  • 2010s: 26 members