Winter is a time for renewal and re-commitment. We force ourselves to the gym in -20 degree wind-chill (cursing merrily as we go) in order to ‘look our best’. We refrain from that cup of Starbucks to fund the elusive emergency fund (I’m beginning to think snow leopard sightings are more common).
Yet how many of us recommit to giving? My guess is that many of us are just glad NPR isn’t asking for money anymore. The run-up to New Year’s Eve is filled with requests for our “tax-deductible” donations; so it’s no surprise that giving isn’t foremost in our minds once we survive the holidays and receive our credit card bills.
Most of us have witnessed development gone wrong first-hand. Perhaps because of this, we have a hard time finding organizations we deem worthy of our money. Ironically, the answer to our conundrum lies in Peace Corps’ own “crowd-funding” platform: Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP).
According to Peace Corps, in the last ten years, more than 6,070 projects have been funded through the program. I worked on a program partially funded via the PCPP and I’d imagine many of you did as well. Unlike many charities, every penny of your donation goes to the project. Moreover, because you’re donating to a Peace Corps led project, you (as an RPCV) have an intimate working knowledge of the systems in place to ensure your donation makes an impact.
Last November, Frank Fletcher (Sierra Leone 1969-1971) went to the Peace Corps Partnership Program page and located, “…the only incompletely funded Illinois volunteer project I could find.” When asked why he donated to the project, Mr. Fletcher stated that, “It was a big plus that it was a Let Girls Learn project and involved bathrooms – a favorite interest of mine as a retire [sic.] environmental chemist/engineer … who started his career at the sewage treatment plant…”
The project, run by Corinne Fisher (Cambodia 2014-2016), involved the installation of High School bathrooms in a village that, according to Ms. Fisher, “…never had access to resources to help improve sanitation and overall health in this way.” A situation many RPCVs can empathize with. As Mr. Fletcher put it, such projects are, “…an important contributor to our public health that we take for granted.” In addition to the construction of the bathrooms, Camp GLOW participants will conduct workshops for their peers on women’s heath topics. Mr. Fletcher’s donation highlights another important aspect of the PCPP. Donations can be made in honor of a friend, loved one, or organization. Mr. Fletcher, “…completed the funding for this project in honor of CAPCA.”
Forty-four years after completing his service, Mr. Fletcher is still passionate about development, and continues to make a difference. That’s a worthy resolution.
If you’re interested in donating to PCPP projects, please visit https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/.
Written by CAPCA board member Aaron Weaver