In releasing his Fiscal Year 2011 budget to Congress, President Barack Obama is recommending $446.15 million for the Peace Corps. This would represent an 11.5% increase over current Peace Corps funding.
Language in the President's budget suggests it will increase "volunteer numbers, recruitment efforts and the entry of the Peace Corps into new countries in order to have approximately 9,400 Americans enrolled in the Peace Corps by the end of 2012 and 11,000 by the end of 2016." Peace Corps currently reports roughly 7,700 volunteers and trainees in the field.
The President's budget also references steps included in the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriation (approved by Congress and signed into law last December 16th) related to a better and bolder Peace Corps. That language states that "not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the (Peace Corps) Director shall submit a spending plan to the Committees on Appropriations on the proposed uses of funds." Not later than 180 days after enactment (June 16, 2010), "the Director shall, after consultation with the Committees on Appropriations, submit a report to the Committees that includes the findings of a comprehensive assessment of the current program model of the Peace Corps and a strategy for reforming and improving operations." Persuasive and compelling reports on use of the funds and improving its operations will be critical to generating congressional support for another significant funding increase.
"Although short of our More Peace Corps campaign's goal of doubling the size of the Peace Corps by the 50th anniversary, the President's Peace Corps request represents a continued commitment to service through an expanded and improved Peace Corps," said National Peace Corps Association President Kevin Quigley. "We will move forward with Peace Corps leaders in Congress to secure at least the President's request for Fiscal Year 2011."
Current funding for the Peace Corps - $400 million - provided the largest single-year dollar increase ($60 million) in the history of the agency. If the President's Fiscal Year 2011 request is approved, it would mark the second highest increase in history and the largest percentage increase (other than last year) since 1991.