Several of you have emailed me to ask ‘what’s the skinny on this Rajeev Goyal guy?’ To give you a quick summary, over the last two years, Rajeev has been our indefatigable advocate of Peace Corps growth. Without any formal training in lobbying or advocacy, guided by a team of advisors, he met with over 200 Congressional staff members to contest the anemic funding posture of Peace Corps. Following a simple prescription of “squeeky wheel gets the grease,” he has organized 10,000 former volunteers, to pressure their elected representatives in a respectful, informed manner to vote for new funding to rejuvenate Peace Corps, which is half the size it was in 1966 despite 20 countries that want volunteers. He changed what was a marginal issue into a national news story, galvanizing the media (with the help of RPCV writers and journalists) into a watchdog for the President’s promise of doubling.
Yesterday, as you know, the Senate passed a $60 million increase, the largest dollar increase in the 49-year history of Peace Corps, $27 million more than President Obama’s request. With 150 Champions in Congress, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, on record officially supporting doubling the Peace Corps budget by 2012, we have created a new platform that can do a lot more.
Rajeev and his colleagues continue to fight for more Peace Corps funding to fuel new growth and innovation through www.pushforpeacecorps.org. Over the last several weeks they have been asking us to call President Obama (202-456-1111) to keep his promise of 16,000 Peace Corps volunteers by providing a substantial funding increase in fiscal year 2011 (the budget for which will be forged by February 2010). Over 3,000 calls have been made to President Obama already.
Rajeev is the son of immigrants from Rajasthan, India, and he acquired his J.D. from NYU and BA in English Lit. from Brown University. He sits on several non-profit boards including Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust.
Since 2001, he has raised funds and overseen development for five new ‘farm schools’ in eastern Nepal.
Rajeev is 30 years old.
As Congressman Sam Farr said at a Hill reception last week where the $60 million funding increase was announced, “He is a danger in politics.”
If you haven’t seen this short view of Rajeev on NBC News, take a look.