Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington D.C.
“Bringing the Experience Home”
RPCV/W is a volunteer-run organization representing the sizable community of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and friends who live and work in the DC metropolitan region. They undertake 3-4 events per month and focus on three primary activities.
- Holding social events such as happy hours, parties, field trips, and other fun, interest-based activities. Any member may start a club and utilize our network to organize it.
- Helping local nonprofits engaged in community development meet their needs for volunteer assistance by organizing regular service projects and partnering toward shared goals.
- Helping members advance their careers through structured professional development events and by establishing a vibrant, organized network of mentors in various industries.
From time to time, they also engage in events of a symbolic or historic nature, such as marching in a parade or participating in a public ceremony. Membership is open to all who share a passion for community service, professional development, and international engagement.
2012-2013 Mission Statement
"To serve as a resource to RPCVs and friends in the Washington DC area through social events, community service projects, and professional development programs that embody the 3rd Goal and spirit of the Peace Corps."
The Mission Statement may be revised each year by the current Board of Directors.
In addition to organizing regular social events for members, RPCV/W divides its long-term programming into four areas:
RPCV/W is committed to supporting local organizations engaged in community development in the DC area. Being all volunteers at heart, their members enjoy coming out on a weekend to assist with a worthy cause. Service events are organized by their Community Service Director. Local organizations are encouraged to submit calls for volunteers in their weekly newsletter.
Partnership for Peace
Each year, RPCV/W enters into a special relationship with a grassroots nonprofit that shares its goals and values. In addition to awarding them a cash grant based on the proceeds of their yearly fundraiser, they advertise their events and helps them organize volunteers for their activities. The Vice President is charged with coordinating and strengthening the PfP program. The process begins with a call for proposals, the Board selects the finalists, and group members vote for a winner during the end-of-year elections.
RPCV/W strongly believes that all RPCVs should be encouraged to network freely, and urges its members to make time for their peers who are looking to climb the ladder. To this end, they host regular networking events and career panels. They also track various RPCV groups that exist within government agencies and large employers. This program is overseen by a Professional Development Director who acts as the organization's chief networker and job coach. Jobs are posted in RPCV/W's Linkedin Group and individual members often post opportunities in its Facebook Group.
RPCV/W is often called upon to plan and participate in major public events. In September of 2011, RPCV/W organized the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery, which hosted over 5,000 participants and included a parade across the Memorial Bridge. Since 1984, they have gathered each year to lay flowers at the gravesite of John F. Kennedy. They have marched with Peace Corps in Presidential Inaugurations and are now participating in DC's LGBT Capitol Pride Parade.
RPCV/W maintains a Facebook Group, Facebook Page, Twitter Feed, Linkedin Group, and a group on the NPCA Ning Network. It also maintains a robust website that allows members to interact with eachother, and a weekly newsletter that any member can utilize. With these tools, it is able to reach thousands of RPCVs and others.
The Facebook Group is a popular spot for new arrivals to introduce themselves and ask about housing or jobs. Members with property to lease naturally prefer RPCV tenants, and use the group as an alternative to Craigslist. Some use it to ask the group to recommend services, places to eat, and things to do. Members may fundraise and share their causes there. In short, it's an open forum which supplements our physical activities and keeps the network fresh.
The Linkedin Group is similar, but less outwardly active. Most of its use happens behind the scenes, as members search out peers to network for professional opportunities. The Twitter Feed and Facebook Page are controlled by the Public Relations Director, who is charged with keeping members informed and engaged.
Members of RPCV/W are closely involved in the Peace Corps Innovation Challenge, and the organization promotes innovative uses of technology to benefit serving PCVs and returned volunteers.
RPCVs have been coming to DC since the Peace Corps was founded. Many were involved in the Peace Movement of the 1960s and there are several documented instances where RPCVs gathered to protest the war in southeast Asia. They found jobs in the civil and foreign service and set down roots. They began forming groups in the 1970’s, banding together for social solidarity and to support projects abroad. RPCV/W was formed in 1979 as an offshoot of the National Council of Returned Volunteers, which is now known as the National Peace Corps Association. RPCVs in DC banded together to do service projects, network, and commemorate special events such as Peace Corps anniversaries. RPCV/W was formally incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in 1991. As the years passed, a diverse, multi-generational community of RPCVs came into being, with new members arriving every week.
There are an estimated 5,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers living in the Washington, DC Metro area. Over 1,000 are active, dues-paying members of RPCV/W.
According to a 2012 survey, most of RPCV/W's members join to network, make friends, and to become familiar with the DC Peace Corps Community. 83% attended at least one event throughout the year. 85% receive the weekly email newsletter. Most reported making friends, participating in events, and getting involved with local volunteer projects. Others reported getting jobs, finding mentors, and even meeting their significant other through the network.
The median age of RPCV/W's membership is 32, and over half possess an advanced degree. They work in international development and the nonprofit sector primarily. 74% are female and 29% are male. Columbia Heights is their neighborhood of choice. There are also large concentrations in Shaw, Bloomingdale, and Eastern Market.
Membership in RPCV/W is open to all. First year is always free. Member dues have remained $15 per year since 1986.
- Members are eligible for discounts to special events.
- Members are granted access to our online directory to search for and contact other members.
- Members can register for and attend restricted "Members Only" events.
- Members can access and freely network in our private Linkedin Group.
- Members may submit news items, including fundraisers and events, to our weekly newsletter.
- Members may post fundraisers or small events requiring payment in our Facebook Group, which serves as the public forum of our organization.
- Members may participate in sub-committees called by the Board of Directors and lead Board-sanctioned events.
- Members shape the organization by organizing clubs, electing the Board of Directors, and assuming leadership roles.