We got some good news from Congress on July 28: The House of Representatives approved a $430.5 million Peace Corps budget for fiscal year 2022. That’s an increase of $20 million — nearly 5 percent. It could point to the first meaningful increase in funding in six years.
We’ve also seen increasing bipartisan support for the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2021, introduced by RPCV Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) and colleague Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA). The legislation would bring some much-needed reforms for a better and stronger Peace Corps. If you’re meeting with your members of Congress in the weeks ahead, support for this legislation — and funding — are critical items to have on the agenda.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet taken up the State Department/Foreign Operations bill, which would include funding for the Peace Corps. But 60 years ago, Senator William Fulbright chaired the Foreign Relations Committee. Originally skeptical of the value of the Peace Corps, he was won over — and in the first week of August 1961 he led the Senate committee to vote 14–0 in favor of full funding to launch the Peace Corps. In this anniversary year, the Senate could do its part to carry that legacy forward.
Here’s something to be sure to have on your calendar: Join us September 23–25 for Peace Corps Connect 2021: Mobilizing for a Lifetime of Service and Impact. For this special 60th anniversary virtual conference, we’ll bring together the global Peace Corps community for sessions and conversations central to the role of the Peace Corps in a changed world.
In the week leading up to the conference, we’ll be hosting a day of advocacy, country of service reunions, and meetings for the NPCA affiliate group network. Registration is free — because it’s crucial that this meeting is open and accessible — and will open later next week. Plus, if you’d like to participate as a facilitator, storyteller, or by contributing a video to focus on impact in the community, it’s not too late to take part.
As you know, it’s the ongoing pandemic that prevents us from meeting in person this year. Which is also a reminder that we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those in the Peace Corps community doing the ongoing and critical work to battle COVID-19 — from the Response Volunteers working with FEMA in underserved communities (and recently featured on NBC News) to those volunteering and working with communities across this country and around the world.
NPCA President & CEO