June 27, 2002 - Op-ed: Chic Dambach writes: A Wonderful Celebration, Except...

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By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 9:06 pm: Edit Post

A Wonderful Celebration, Except...

Read and comment on this op-ed piece by Chic Dambach, President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association from 1992 through 1998, who argues that the Peace Corps Fund founded by Barbara Ferris and John Coyne (shown left and center in the photo above with NPCA President Dane Smith) could "be confused with funds for the Peace Corps agency", that the founders violated "ethical standards by using an event sponsored, organized, and financed by the NPCA to promote and raise funds for their organization" and that the founders of the Peace Corps Fund seem "determined to fracture the RPCV community" at:

A Wonderful Celebration, Except...*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

A Wonderful Celebration, Except...

My spirit and commitment to the Peace Corps and its values were renewed last weekend as I joined more than 2,000 RPCVs and former staff in the celebration of Peace Corps 40 + 1. The National Peace Corps Association and RPCV – Washington did a super job.

I was also very pleased to have an opportunity to meet Gaddi Vasquez and learn more about his ideas for the agency. I am among those who were not pleased when President Bush announced the nomination. I wanted an RPCV, or at least someone with substantial international peace and development experience. Nevertheless, now that we know him, we must acknowledge that he demonstrates remarkable qualities, and we can proceed with confidence that the agency will grow and flourish under his leadership. He deserves our support.

I wish I could say the same for a small group that is creating what they call the Peace Corps Fund. Unfortunately, they displayed qualities unbecoming the Peace Corps and its values. The leaders of this group waged a mean-spirited personal campaign to try to block the confirmation of Mr. Vasquez, and now they seem determined to fracture the RPCV community.

They violated the most basic ethical standards by using an event sponsored, organized, and financed by the NPCA to promote and raise funds for their organization, which is neither a member of, nor supportive of the NPCA. They have bragged that they distributed 1,500 of their fund raising brochures at the event. Yet, they didn’t even have the decency to ask for permission. In 35 years of work in the nonprofit sector, I have witnessed several dishonorable practices, and this ranks among the worst.

They have every right to create and raise funds for their organization, but they should organize their own event – not steal the goodwill and the audience created by the NPCA at the 40 + 1 anniversary celebration.

I am also troubled by the name of the organization. The Peace Corps owns and has the legal right and obligation to protect the name Peace Corps. We went through an exhaustive written approval process when we changed our name from NCRPCV to National Peace Corps Association. We were turned down the first time we applied. In the end, the agency agreed that using the words “National” and “Association” around the words Peace Corps provided sufficient differentiation. Rightfully so, we were also required to adhere to several ethical standards, including refraining from any activity that might dishonor the Peace Corps.

To my way of thinking, the name Peace Corps Fund could very well be confused with funds for the Peace Corps agency. If the creators of the new organization have not requested or received permission from the agency to use the name, they should stop any and all promotion activities and make the request immediately. However, I will be disappointed if the agency were to approve it.

In the aftermath of the renewed Peace Corps spirit generated by the Peace Corps 40 + 1 celebration, I believe it is time to put the controversy over the Director and behind us and move forward for a larger, stronger and more effective Peace Corps and National Peace Corps Association. Instead of supporting a separate organization, I would urge everyone in the Peace Corps community to work together as volunteers and contributors for third goal projects through the NPCA. The last thing the community needs is to waste “$100,000 in seed money to begin to build”* a competing organization.

* From the Peace Corps Fund brochure.

About the Author

Chic Dambach served as a Peace Corps Volunteers in Colombia from 1967 to 1969. He was President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association from 1992 through 1998. Currently, he is director of global programs and senior consultant for BoardSource, the nation’s leading resource on nonprofit governance. He is also chair of the Coalition for American Leadership Abroad, an advocacy network of 45 international affairs organizations. He received the International Platform Association’s Global Coalition Peace Award in 2001.

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Speaking Out; Special Reports; RPCV News - National RPCV Organizations



By Jack Prebis on Tuesday, July 02, 2002 - 2:15 pm: Edit Post

"Dishonorable practices." "Mean-spirited personal campaign." "Violated the most basic ethical standards." "Qualities unbecoming the Peace Corps and its values." Harsh--and insulting--words from Mr. Chic Dambach. Why does he protest so much? What's his agenda?
Dambach wants readers to see that he is a well-credentialed and authoritative respondent. But
in my cynical view of all things Washington, he sounds like just another pol supporting his friends. Nothing wrong with that.
Vols and RPCVs have a long tradition of being unable to agree on how to achieve goals. Depending on other feedback, Ferris/Coyne may modify their organization's name. But Dambach's vituperation we don't need.
(Some full disclosure: 1)Coyne and I were in the same PC group in Ethiopia. 2)I never heard of the "Peace Corps Fund" until reading about it on this web site today.)

By Peter L. Boynton (pboynton) on Tuesday, July 02, 2002 - 9:45 pm: Edit Post

If we really need another "social entrepreurial" fund like this-- and I'm not convinced we do-- why not "let a thousand flowers bloom" to compete for this funding for RPCV projects? And, if the NPCA and the "Peace Corps Fund" can be eligible, I have to ask why the garden should be limited to D.C., as it is by Section 10 of the Dodd bill. This smacks of "inside the beltway" thinking at best or self-dealing by the promoters of the concept, at worst.

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