Friday, April 29, 2016

Save the date: Celebrate the Oxfam Action Corps on Friday, May 27!

Please save the date of Friday, May 27 for a get together to celebrate the Oxfam Action Corps!


This week we announced that the Oxfam Action Corps program will be ending soon. If you haven’t seen it, that announcement can be found on our blog. Of course many of us are sad to hear this.

The good news, however, is that this transition creates a moment for us to celebrate nine wonderful years of the Oxfam Action Corps!  We are calling on the entire Action Corps community, including leaders, organizers, interns, and volunteers present and past, to join us.  A formal invitation will be circulated shortly, but for now please mark your calendars and start booking flights, trains, boats, carpools, or any way you can manage to get here!

A formal invitation and RSVP will be circulated soon. So you can start your planning, here's the program:

DINNER PARTY IN BOSTON:  On Friday, May 27 at 8:00pm Eastern Time (EDT) we will gather in Boston for a dinner party celebrating the Oxfam Action Corps.  Oxfam Action Corps members are invited from all 9 years, as well as Oxfam staff who have played a role in the program. Great food, great music and of course great friends!  Together we will celebrate the lasting impact of Action Corps on our lives and our work. At 9:00pm EDT we will have a brief program to hear comments from Action Corps organizers and select Oxfam staff. 
What: Dinner celebration for the Oxfam Action Corps!
When: Friday, May 27. Dinner at 8:00pm, program at 9:00pm
Where: Oxfam America office at 226 Causeway St., 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.


** NOTE: Those attending will arrange for and pay their own travel. Oxfam will provide one (1) night accommodations in a hotel or homestay (Friday night only), and a delicious ethically sourced dinner. 

LOCAL PARTIES CONNECT:  For those who can’t attend but wish to celebrate with us, we aren't leaving you out! You can organize a local potluck celebration at the same time and tune in for the brief program of speakers livestreaming from Boston, starting at 9:00pm EDT. We'll conference you in so you'll have a chance to raise a glass and toast to the whole group before we sign off.  If you are interested in hosting or joining such a gathering we’ll help you connect with others in your city.

So book your travel now! One more thing:

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES on Saturday, May 28.  True to form, our Action Corps members are independently planning activities for the following day.  More details soon, but here’s a preview:
  • Fun activities: Boston in May is beautiful, and there’s much to see and do!
  • Brunch meeting from 10:00am - noon.  Many of you may wonder, ‘So what is next?  How can we continue to work together as a community to create lasting solutions to hunger, poverty, and injustice at home and abroad?’  Well many Action Corps members have begun independently brainstorming about this very question. We will convene for brunch at 10:00am until noon to share options and next steps.

So go ahead and book your travel!  When doing so, plan to stay in Boston Saturday morning if you would like to participate.  Reminder:  Oxfam is providing accommodations for Friday night only.  If you choose to stay Saturday night you will be responsible for those expenses

Please share this invitation with those volunteers and organizers for whom the Action Corps holds a special place in their hearts and history as activists. Any questions? Please contact me at this email, or this phone: 617 283 8709.

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Times are changing: Important announcement about the Oxfam Action Corps

From: Nancy Delaney, Associate Director, Community Engagement                                       To: Oxfam Action Corps leaders and volunteers

April 27, 2016

Dear friends,

It is with both sadness and deep gratitude that I write you this note.  Oxfam has made the difficult decision to end the Oxfam Action Corps program effective June 1, 2016.  Your contributions to Oxfam’s mission over the past nine years have been extraordinary.  Your involvement has been essential to our impact on poverty, and it will continue to be essential as we adapt to a changing world.  Thank you for your ongoing support for Oxfam’s mission to right the wrongs of poverty and hunger worldwide.  And, thank you for going the extra mile by joining the Oxfam Action Corps in your cities to organize events, recruit petition signers, take campaign actions, and lobby members of Congress. 

The difficult decision to end the Action Corps program has been made because Oxfam America, along with the rest of Oxfam’s global confederation, is evolving to become an organization that strengthens the connections between the global north and south to fight poverty. The world is changing fast and Oxfam is evolving to ensure that we achieve the greatest impact on behalf of the people we help.  

Brian, Clara, myself and others will continue to work closely with Action Corps leaders and volunteers as we wind down the program, taking special care with the staff and volunteers most closely associated with the program.  We are also planning to celebrate this special program, its architects, and of course the volunteers.  

In order to achieve our strategic plan and contribute as much as possible to the wider Oxfam confederation, Oxfam America is shedding a number of work streams, organizing along key thematic lines of work, and adapting some back office functions. A number of staff positions have been affected including that of Brian Rawson, the founder and coordinator of the Action Corps.  These changes will enable Oxfam America to be better positioned for impact, more closely integrated with all Oxfam affiliates, and allow us to work in partnership with Oxfam’s country and regional offices throughout the world.

We at Oxfam are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of the Oxfam Action Corps over nine wonderful years, under the visionary leadership of Brian Rawson together with Clara Herrero and the participation of many other staff.  We learned a great deal from the program about just how much a passionate volunteer force can accomplish in local US communities.  We are proud of each of you for taking time out of your busy lives to provide leadership and make an impact.

The good news is that Oxfam America will continue to rely on volunteer support and leadership just as it has for decades.  Many volunteer opportunities and tools – from concert outreach to Oxfam America Hunger Banquets to campus engagement and more – exist independent of the Action Corps program and will continue to be a mainstay for US volunteer engagement with Oxfam.  To find ways to take action with Oxfam visit

People who wish to continue to coordinate as a local group are welcome to do so.  While this engagement will no longer be under the Action Corps program, we encourage you to join the thousands of independent Oxfam volunteers across the country.  For questions about ongoing activities in your city, please connect with your local Action Corps contacts.

Lastly, we are hard at work planning how to celebrate this extraordinary program that you have all helped to build and to thank you for your commitment.  We will be in touch again soon with the details. 

To contact Oxfam staff, including me, Brian, and Clara, with any questions or comments, please email us at


Nancy Delaney
Associate Director, Community Engagement 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Action Corps' International Women's Day in Photos

And just like that, International Women's Day has come and gone - although today in the Oxfam America office, I overheard someone say "Happy IWD Week." I guess it's not over just yet.

Many of our Action Corps cities have hosted spectacular International Women's Day events this year. Here's a roundup in photos of a few:

Washington, D.C. held an Oxfam Slam last Saturday, February 27th, featuring local poets, artists, and musicians. You can't tell from the pictures, but estimated attendance for the Slam was 150!
Photo: Tapan Bhargava
Photo: Tapan Bhargava
Photo: Tapan Bhargava
Photo: Tapan Bhargava
Photo: Tapan Bhargava

Photo: Tapan Bhargava

Boston: Boston Action Corps' official IWD event has yet to happen (it's scheduled for March 26th - view the event here) but volunteers at their last meeting took photos with signs that detailed reasons to celebrate women.

Chicago: On Saturday, March 5th. Chicago Action Corps held Inequality: Local and Global Action for International Women’s Day - a discussion and call to action to fight inequality at all levels. One of the results: this beautiful photo campaign.

Photo: Meggie Zayas
Photo: Meggie Zayas

New York City: On Monday, March 7th, NYC Action Corps held an Oxfam Jam, a benefit concert featuring badass female performers Ellen Winter, Amy Leon, The New Tarot and Madame Gandhi. This event attracted over 150 attendees and raised roughly $1100!

Photo: Niya Sinckler
Photo: Niya Sinckler
Photo: Sam Monaco

Kiran Gandhi and the Oxfam Jam making headlines!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Celebrate International Women’s Day with the Oxfam Action Corps!

Every March 8 for more than a century, millions of people around the world have come together to celebrate International Women’s Day. Here in the US, Oxfam Action Corps members are hosting events that raise awareness and public action for equality. Oxfam Action Corps members around the country will hold local events ranging from panel discussions to concerts to bar trivia.

Our Action Corps events provide a venue for Oxfam supporters to come together to recognize women’s leadership and central role in community efforts to achieve greater wealth equality, end hunger, and fend off the impacts of climate change. We decry that too often today women earn less than men for the same work, are denied property rights or bank loans, and are blocked from education systems. We will stand together for our sisters worldwide!

Here's a quick look at some of our events, with active links to event pages::


  • Just around the corner is New York City Action Corps’ Oxfam Jam, a benefit concert featuring Kiran Gandhi as the headliner! Kiran is the drummer for the band M.I.A, but you may know her as the badass feminist who ran the 2015 London Marathon while menstruating to raise awareness for women who don’t have access to feminine care products. She’ll be performing alongside a handful of other powerful women on Monday, March 7th at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn at 7PM. To purchase tickets to the concert and find out more details see the event page.
  •  Albuquerque, NM - On March 5th at 2:30 pm in the Student Union Building at the University of New Mexico, the UNM Oxfam Club will be honoring women around the world. Come join us in celebrating the social, political, and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.
  • Austin, TX – Austin Action Corps will be tabling at the Culture Collide parties at SXSW (March 16-18th) from noon-closing at the Container Bar on Rainey Street. 
  • Boston, MA – Boston Action Corps will be hosting an Oxfam Jam in collaboration with Calling All Crows at the Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville, MA from 1:00-3:30PM on Saturday, March 26th.  Activities include a small raffle, tables for both organizations and a presentation about Oxfam’s work with women from an Oxfam America staffer. Event page coming soon!
  • Chicago, IL - Chicago Action Corps presents Inequality: Local and Global Action for International Women’s Day - a discussion and call to action to fight inequality at all levels. The event will be held on the 12th floor of Coalition: Energy at 18 South Michigan Avenue from 12:00-3:00PM on Saturday, March 5th. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.
  • Columbus, OH – Columbus Action Corps will be hosting an IWD event at the Roosevelt on Monday, March 7th at 5:30PM. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.
  • Indianapolis, IN – On Saturday, March 19, Indianapolis Action Corps will be hosting a grassroots volunteer training at Fletcher Place Arts & Books at 642 Virginia Ave from 10:00AM to 4:00PM. Come learn advocacy skills from Indianapolis groups who have mastered effective letter-writing campaigns, hosted events that have led to concrete follow-up actions, and convinced legislative leaders to make decisions that support the world's most vulnerable people. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.
  • Madison, WI – Madison Action Corps is hosting a Geeks who Drink for a Cause Bar Trivia at Buck and Badger on State Street, Thursday, March 10th at 8:30PM. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.
  • Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia Action Corps will be hosting a casual film screening at one of the co-leaders’ homes on Tuesday, March 8th from 8:00-9:30PM. They will be viewing a segment from the PBS Docuseries Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and having a discussion afterwards. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.
  • San Francisco, CA – SF Bay Area Action Corps will be tabling at an International Women's Day community celebration hosted by Sisters in Solidarity at Richmond Memorial Convention Center, 440 Civic Center Plaza. The table will be open Saturday, March 5 from 9:30am-1:00pm. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.
  • Seattle, WA – Seattle Action Corps will be holding a panel discussion to better understand the inequality; specifically, how structural inequality disproportionately affects women. Additionally, they will discuss ways to take action as a community, and at the national level. Join them on Tuesday, March 8th from 6:00-8:00 PM in Parrington Hall, at the Evans School at University of Washington. To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

Last but not least, let’s give a shout out to Washington, D.C. Action Corps for their stellar IWD event last Saturday, February 27th! Over 150 people came and enjoyed the work of DC area female artists, poets, writers, comedians and musicians.
Author and former Oxfam Action Corps co-leader Emily Hubbard reads during the Oxfam Slam

If you don’t live near one of these cities, check out the International Women’s Day website or the Oxfam America website for more events! We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Saying thank you to our allies in the cause

About the author:
Jennifer Viechweg-Horsford was born in the tropical island nation of Grenada, and devoted her time towards active involvement in poverty and youth issues globally. Jennifer has extensive experience as a public servant in Grenada, and has represented the tri-island nation on many platforms. After attaining her Master's in Business Administration, she deepened her understanding of poverty issues by attending training in China. She is currently a Management Consultant. Her most recent achievement was training in "Climate Change Negotiations," with Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN): A Global Initiative for the United Nations. She has now commenced training in "The Age of Sustainable Development" with an effort to be able to continue to inform policy at any level.

Last September, Oxfam Action Corps NYC held the third annual Community Dinner at  Morris-Jumel Community Garden in NYC to thank our allies for the great work they’ve done with the Action Corps to help make the world a better place. Every year we partner with a number of organizations to address social issues on which we share common ground. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished together. 
Allies at the 3rd annual Community Dinner

Finding lasting solutions to hunger, poverty and injustice requires a strong and committed team.  We acknowledge that our power comes from our relationships with others and our shared resources. Moving forward, we continue to invite others to join us in the fight to end poverty.

One of the most challenging emotions to adequately express is gratitude. Showing a person or group how truly thankful one is for their camaraderie warrants a lot of effort. I often find that simply verbally thanking someone for help they’ve given me just doesn’t fully express how grateful I am – especially when it comes to work like this.

Oxfam Action Corps NYC would like to honor the commitment of those individuals and organizations, which are named here:

Isaac Evans- Frantz 

Nancy Romer 
Jacki Fisher 
United Nations International School (UNIS) Oxfam Club
Bread for the World
Why Hunger
NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council

Brian performing at the Community Dinner
Speaking of commitment – Brian Rawson, the Senior Organizer for Community Engagement, attended the event and underscored the importance of strong allies. Brian’s message to the audience was quite profound: first he talked about the importance of the Green Climate Fund, and then went on to play the guitar, singing “the farmer is the one who feeds them all.” His performance left everyone inspired.

It’s worth noting that Kelly Moltzen and Margaret Tran contributed to the event. Kelly spoke to the attendees about the Global Catholic Climate Movement and urged us to take action by signing a petition. Margaret provided music, which added greatly to mood at the Community Garden.

Let’s continue to build a strong network of allies. Making lasting change takes people power, and together we can move mountains. Join us in the fight to end poverty!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Finding a home base with Oxfam Action Corps

About the author: 
Sandrina da Cruz volunteered as a local advocacy leader with the Oxfam Action Corps in Philadelphia before accepting a UN position in Mongolia and shipping out again. Since then, she has lived in both Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo for work with United Nations peacekeeping operations. During these assignments, she collaborated and engaged with Oxfam in varying capacities. She recently concluded work in Oxfam's US offices on Aid Effectiveness and Humanitarian Advocacy.

Flash back to 2008. I’d just gotten back to the United States after working in humanitarian development in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and I was anxious to continue doing meaningful work. A Google search introduced me to the Oxfam Action Corps. There was an Action Corps node in Philadelphia, where I lived. I was already familiar with Oxfam, from both my field work abroad and my upbringing in Europe. I simply couldn’t believe it - how convenient that I could volunteer with an organization that I really admire in my own city?  I am embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t realized that Oxfam had programming in the US.  I promptly contacted the co-leaders, who invited me to their next meeting to learn more about their activities.  Soon thereafter I gave a presentation about my recent field experiences at a screening of Sisters on the Planet. At this event, I had the chance to meet Oxfam America staffer Brian Rawson, the brains behind the Action Corps.  Brian’s story inspired me to keep working with the Action Corps and a few months later, I applied to be one of the next Philadelphia Action Corps co-leaders.

"To me, the Action Corps summarizes what Oxfam stands for: uniting people and strengthening local efforts while maximizing limited resources in the fight against hunger, poverty and social injustice." - Sandrina

My time with the Action Corps was extremely rewarding. I met wonderful and caring people, collaborated with a wide variety of organizations, and was consistently amazed at the power of active civic engagement. We met with public officials and visited congressional offices in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and DC. These experiences taught me the power of local advocacy. My friends became accustomed to Oxfam pins, fact sheets and t-shirts scattered about my house. Together we learned what a barracuda  was!* I enjoyed the team meetings where we brainstormed on creative ways to engage the community around the campaign - constantly searching for possible messaging opportunities, venues, and partnerships.  I was drawn to the Action Corps because of its organized structure - Oxfam staff provided targeted support adapted to the needs of the various teams, and made themselves available throughout. To me, the Action Corps summarizes what Oxfam stands for: uniting people and strengthening local efforts while maximizing limited resources in the fight against hunger, poverty and social injustice.

In addition to being rewarding, the work that Action Corps does is a lot of fun. I found it beneficial and fun for volunteers to engage in activities at events they enjoyed and felt most passionate about.  The concerts were always in such high demand that I didn’t do much tabling at those events.  When the Coldplay concert rolled around, it presented a massive opportunity to reach a much larger audience. We decided as a group who should participate and work the event.  The team almost rescinded its decision when I divulged that I actually didn’t know who Coldplay was! I will never forget the looks of utter amazement on their faces. After recovering from the shock, one of the volunteers (Carrie Leigh) made me CDs of their music to listen to for homework - of course, I fell in love with their music. We had a blast at the concert sharing Oxfam’s mission regarding climate change with concert goers and we got a LOT of petition signatures!

More recently, after graduating from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, I joined Oxfam America as an intern with the Aid Effectiveness and Humanitarian Advocacy teams. As I continue pursuing my personal and professional aspirations, I look forward to maintaining my partnership with Oxfam in its many creative and unpredictable forms!

* barracuda is a brand name, now synonymous with the retractable vertical banner used at Oxfam events.

Friday, January 8, 2016

What A Year!

Caption: Oxfam Action Corps organizers from 14 cities at annual national training in Washington DC, April 2015
By Liz Olson

Happy New Year, Oxfammers! It’s that time of year when it seems like everyone is making conscious lifestyle changes, ranging from the meager “drink less coffee” to the ambitious “abolish corporate greed.” The latter is my New Year’s Resolution, anyway…

It’s also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the year past.  2015 has been an exciting year for all of the Action Corps cities, as evidenced by the impressive amount of work the co-leaders and volunteers have put in, and more importantly, the cumulative impact you all have made.

By The Numbers

Since our national training in April of 2015: 
  • You held 120 tabling events, of which 72 were concert outreach outings, exposing Oxfam’s brand and message to a potential audience of at least one million two thousand people!! 
  • You signed up more than 13,000 people for petition actions.
  • You conducted 91 lobby visits to Congressional offices, counting 80 visits on the Food for Peace Reform Act (of which 54 were on Capitol Hill during our April lobby day) and 11 on the Global Food Security Act. 
  • You made 21 visits to deliver 47,000 petition signatures to Congressional offices on the Green Climate Fund.
  • You hosted more than 14 public events for World Food Day, reaching more than 500 attendees.
  • You helped boost attendance for the Red Nose Day telethon which raised over $1 million dollars for Oxfam as the same for a dozen other worthy organizations.

Action and Impact: Highlights

Through the year you advocated for 3 critical reforms on which you made important headway, if not yet a victory:  

  • You secured US funding for the global Green Climate Fund which successfully passed Congress in December; 
  • You pushed for improvement of food aid through the Food for Peace Reform Act, winning cosponsorship from key Senators Durbin and Markey;  
  • You sought to strengthen foreign aid’s impact on hunger and poverty through the Global Food Security Act.
  • In addition, you raised thousands of dollars for relief efforts for Nepali earthquake survivors and Syrian refugees.

You conducted popular outreach to mobilize public support and help spread Oxfam’s message. Here are just a few of the ways you did it:
  • Concert events such as hosting your very own Oxfam Jam benefit concert, in addition to tabling at shows by Lake Street Dive, Dirty Heads, Grateful Dead, Flogging Molly, Passion Pit, and Finding Fay
  • World Food Day events in October including community dinners, Oxfam Hunger Banquets, and film screenings 
  • Farmers Market outreach, community events and allied marches at green fests and food fests in collaboration with your local farm, food, and climate allied organizations
  • Major events such as Global Citizen Festival in NYC, Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and the Moral March on climate during the Pope’s visit to Washington DC.
  • Local trainings for volunteers in your city, led by you!
  • Fundraisers including online fundraising pages, silent auctions, fun runs, 

A Capstone Victory at Year's End

A major campaign initiative taken on by the Action Corps this year was the Green Climate Fund. As I’m sure you already know, the Green Climate Fund is a way for high-income countries (and others too) to financially support resilience and alternative energy projects for the lower-income countries that have been and will continue to be hit hardest by the effects of climate change. Oxfam and a coalition of organizations (including the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and many others) petitioned to get Congress to approve $500 million in 2016 as a first payment toward the $3 billion the US has pledged. Needless to say, it faced significant opposition from some quarters in Congress.

The coalition collected over 47,000 signatures by the end of November, and Oxfam Action Corps led on delivering them to Senate offices just before budget deliberations and COP21. Lo and behold, it worked!  On December 17th, the initial commitment of $500 million was approved by Congress as part of its omnibus budget package. 

This right here, folks, is why the Action Corps and our community of supporters are so crucial to advancing Oxfam’s mission (and saving the world in general). There’s no denying that the efforts of Oxfam, the Action Corps and other related organizations contributed to this win. It’s because of your hard work and passion that things are changing for the better. Give yourselves a pat on the back – you’ve earned it.

Thank You!

We at Oxfam America would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the countless hours you’ve spent planning, petitioning, participating and perspiring. We know that many of the issues that Oxfam works on are deep-rooted in biased or unfair legislation, and that changing the political structure is critical to improving said issues. It may be a long haul, but you’ve pushed us forward in important ways in 2015. We can’t thank you all enough for dedicating so much time to mobilizing the public, meeting with politicians in person, and broadcasting our message to help further Oxfam’s mission and goals.

Of course, there’s always more work to be done. Let’s celebrate the amazing year we’ve just concluded, and reinvigorate for the new one just begun.