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What We Do


The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin – Madison group was formed in 1981 in response to Peace Corps suggestion to all campus recruiters that they start up local groups of RPCVs, in celebration of their 20th anniversary. Four members gathered at the Avenue Bar with the recruiter in February 1981 (fondly remembered, rightly or not, as Valentine’s Day). A Constitution and Bylaws were drawn up, and we were officially incorporated on October 18, 1982.

Members found camaraderie in their shared experiences. Further, Peace Corps founders had given volunteers a mission: to return to their communities and use their experiences to create understanding among people. This is known as the Third Goal. As part of early community outreach, the group established a speakers’ bureau and created and taught lessons on Latin American and African culture in Madison schools.

Freeze For Food

Freeze for Food polar bear logo At the same time, members sought ways to help their Peace Corps communities, and the group has been creative in fundraising. In 1982, the first Freeze for Food walk/run in January was started. Since then, this event has raised over $144,000 for non-profits, partnering with different international development organizations, including Oxfam, Colombia Support Network and Open Doors for Refugees.



In the mid-80s the group made original quilts to raffle. Members who served in Brazil brought a Brazilian medical doctor they knew to the U.S. to study chiropractic. The group held themed events at the Cardinal Bar. An Ecuadorian farmer came to stay with members while he studied at the University.

The International Calendar

Calendar packing party Then in 1987 the group came up with an idea to use the photographs members had taken: a calendar to show off the interesting places they had visited, with holidays from around the world. In 1988, 2,000 calendars were printed, with photos contributed by returned volunteers and world travelers from across the globe. More than 35,000 were printed in 2010. In 2009 we began to branch out with new product ideas, including the ‘we all’ multicultural posters, notecards, and a Perpetual Calendar. With 2020 sales, the group has raised over 1.5 million dollars.

Funds are donated to Peace Corps Volunteer projects, local groups doing international awareness work, and to group-building for other returned volunteers.

‘we all’ Poster Project

We all go places posterMembers began the ‘we all‘ poster project in 2009. This series of poster sets illustrate shared experiences throughout the world. Colorful, attractive and intriguing, they are used to stimulate discussion about worldwide differences and commonalities.

They are used as multicultural teaching aids in K-12 settings, libraries, and EFL/ESL classrooms worldwide, with sales of over $35,000. All proceeds go to multicultural (Third Goal) projects around the country. The posters are no longer being produced, and there is no inventory, but there is some amount of funds left for teachers to apply to promote multicultural awareness in pre-K-12 schools.

Social Engagement

RPCVs walking in paradeWhile the group has a remarkable fund-raising history, the theme of sharing world experiences is never forgotten. Projects aim to connect our community with the world, to encourage exploration and discovery of shared experiences as well as what is special in each culture.

Part of the local community, we participate in neighborhood festivals, at Overture Center events, the Fair Trade Festival and at UW-Madison events such as the World Music and Children’s Festivals.

Members volunteer with organizations throughout Dane County and south-central Wisconsin.

Get Involved

What can you do to get involved in the success of the RPCVs of Madison? Are you an RPCV?  Are you a friend or family member of an RPCV? Are you thinking about Peace Corps in your life? Then, plenty of things!

Find out about us

Take the next step

  • Become a Member.
  • Once a Member, you can login to our Member Directory and reach out to others in the group.

Step up your involvement

  • Join the Leadership Team and organize outreach activities, regularly or occasionally.
  • Join the Calendar Committee and help produce and market this amazing fundraiser for the Peace Corps community.
  • Join the Poster Committee and help generate creative ideas on promoting the product and funding multicultural activities around the country.
  • Join the Freeze for Food Committee and help organize, or volunteer at, the annual 5K/10K Run/Walk.
  • Advocate for Peace Corps, in Washington D.C. or in Madison, with resources from the NPCA.

Not sure? Have an Idea?

Contact our President to learn more about what is needed and where to best fit your skills and interests.

Become a Member

Join RPCVs of Wisconsin - Madison to stay connected and support Peace Corps community initiatives! 




  Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin-Madison is a public charity registered under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States. Its EIN is 39-1669348. It is also an affiliate group of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA).

NPCA champions lifelong commitment to Peace Corps ideals by connecting, engaging and promoting its members and affiliate groups as they continue to make a difference in communities in the U.S. and abroad. NPCA is also dedicated to advocating for, contributing to, and supporting the betterment of the Peace Corps. Visit NPCA to learn more