The RPCVs from India are rallying around Frank Fountain (India 1966-68) for the Peace Corps directorship. He looks like a very good candidate for the position, being an RPCVs, coming from a corporate and non-profit background. Here’s a little of his history.
Frank Fountain grew up in Tunnel Springs, Alabama, a rural segregated community typical of the times. He earned a BS in History and Political Science at Hampton University in Virginia and trained at the University of Missouri at Columbia, MO, and served as an Ag Volunteer in West Bengal.
After India, Frank was a Peace Corps Training Staff member in California, then worked two years with Robert Nathan Associates in Washington, DC as a consultant to the Neighborhood Improvements Project of the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Community Action Agency. He taught management skills and techniques of community organizing at a time when these powerful non-violent tools for fighting poverty were virtually unknown and barely utilized.
Subsequently, Frank earned an M.B.A. in Corporate Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and upon graduation began his long career at the Chrysler Corporation, starting as an investment analyst. His talent and experience came to the attention of Lee Iacocca, the president of Chrysler, with whom he worked during the years of the firm’s recovery and turnaround in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.
From 1990 to 1993, Frank’s responsibilities at Chrysler ranked him as one of the top four financial executives in the company, and he was the primary financial briefing executive for the Board of Directors. From 1993 to 1998 Frank worked on legislative and public policy for Chrysler, first at the federal level in Washington, DC and then for all state and local advocacy activity for Chrysler, particularly in community affairs, philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. For the last ten years he has been President of the Chrysler Foundation.
Throughout his career, he has had an extremely long record of volunteering for civic, community and philanthropic organizations. In 2008, he received the Frank H. Williams Director’s Award for his service and support of the Peace Corps, the organization’s highest award to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV’s).
The India RPCVs write — and this opinion is shared by many many RPCVs, “Today’s Peace Corps needs a leader like Frank Fountain, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer with the experience, skills and understanding of government and private business to successfully lift the organization to a new level of capability using the volunteer spirit which Americans continue to generate and which distinguishes Peace Corps from many agencies of change. Frank Fountain should be selected the next Director of the Peace Corps.”
We’ll see soon how important the Peace Corps is in today’s White House.