Peace Corps Director Seeks to Establish a Peace Corps Foundation
Washington, D.C., Oct. 23, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter officially announced his vision for a Peace Corps Foundation today. The principal purpose of the Peace Corps Foundation would be to advance the Peace Corps' third goal of inspiring a better understanding of other cultures through returned Volunteers in America.
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, Director Tschetter has committed to enhancing Third Goal activities agency-wide and has formally requested authority from the U.S. Congress to create the Peace Corps Foundation.
Describing the idea during a town hall staff meeting, Director Tschetter said, "The Peace Corps Foundation would foster greater participation and support to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and their organizations, encourage cross-cultural exchange, volunteerism through community events, classroom visits, and other educational activities. We now seek support and authority from Congress on this key priority for our agency, and I look forward to moving ahead on this initiative as soon as possible."
The Peace Corps Foundation would be a private charitable non-profit corporation. The goal of the Foundation is to increase public awareness within the United States of Peace Corps Volunteer experiences, and the diversity of the countries in which they serve. Groups such as the National Peace Corps Association and the numerous "friends of" groups comprised of Returned Volunteers could greatly benefit from Foundation resources.
The Foundation would not be a federal agency; therefore it would not require any appropriated funds from Congress. Instead, funding for the Foundation would be sought from corporations, foundations, and private individuals; grants would be disseminated for specific programs under a governing board's direction. The activities of the Foundation will be planned in coordination and cooperation with the activities of the Peace Corps.
Ultimately, a Peace Corps Foundation building in Washington D.C. would serve as an educational facility where Americans, particularly children, would come and learn more about other cultures and countries, as well as how the Peace Corps fulfills its mission of promoting peace and friendship worldwide. The Foundation would also complement the Peace Corps' Third Goal activities such as Peace Corps Week, the Coverdell World Wise Schools Program, and the publication of educational materials for teachers and students.
As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost in the last five years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
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