Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund

Oven Project

This fund was created to support projects for Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) from the San Diego area who are currently serving overseas.  In recent years, the fund has evolved to support projects of any PCV currently serving, with a special preference for San Diego affiliated PCVs. The projects are identified through direct contact with the PCV or through Peace Corps Partnerships

The typical project is for $250 to $500 (rarely more than $700) and either enables a community to implement a micro-enterprise, helping many, or it supports needed educational, environmental or health related projects.  We have discovered that by funding small projects we are able to make a big impact in local communities. We review submitted proposals and grant small dollar funding to PCVs who we feel have a valuable project for their community, but do not have adequate funding in-country.

Since 1988, over 140 grants have been made. 

Currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers: If you have a Peace Corps Partnership Project that you would like the SDPCA to consider funding, send an email to

Recently Funded Projects

Project: School Library
Volunteer: Michael Lambert
$1,000 in July 2023

The goal of this project is to create a library that will give students a place to read and a space for teachers to store their books. Following the completion of the library the Volunteer will host a workshop where the teachers will learn how to organize and maintain the library. During the workshop teachers will learn how to use the books to create new lesson plans as well as exchange ideas with each other and the Volunteer. 

Project: Motor Activity Training Program
Volunteer: Sean McLaughlin, New Jersey. 
$500 in October 2019

The goal of this project is to implement a specific program, Motor Activity Training Program (MATP), which will give the chance for up to 100+ athletes with Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities to participate in sports and physical activities that they normally would not be able to take part in. This program will be hosted and organized alongside Special Olympics Mongolia, who will host training events countrywide to teach parents and coaches how to help, train, and interact with the special needs individuals and to organize these trainings on their own. 

Project: Water at Girls Secondary School

Volunteer: Veronica Tischer, California
$500 in October 2019

This project will provide four new water faucets for the benefit of more than 700 students, teachers and staff members living on the campus.

Project: Middle School Latrine Project 
Volunteer: Jeremy Nicot-Cartsonis
July 2019
In honor of Karen Lindquist

Project: Patisserie Expansion
Volunteer: Megan Kmetz 
July 2019
In honor of Karen Lindquist

Project: Latrines for All (School Latrine Project)
Volunteer: Elizabeth Behre
$1,000 on December 10, 2018 
In memory of Hank Davenport

Project: Biodiversity Research and Education for Girls
Volunteer: Audria Sarmiento
$500 on May 19, 2018

Project: Girls' Hostel

$1,000 in March 2018

Project: Women's Couscous Business
$410 in December 2017

Project: Small Animal (Akrante or Grasscutter) Rearing Project
$307 in December 2017

Project:  Aqua Culture Small Business Enterprise 
$230 in December 2017

Project:  Sports Resources for School for the Deaf 
$52 in December 2017

Project:  Latrine Project
$500 in May 2017
Volunteer: Chau L

Project:  PMTCT Centre & Maternity Ward

$500 in Dec 2016
Volunteer: Mike Nguyen

Project:  Eco Stoves
$500 in April 2016
Volunteer: Sam Waldman (San Diego Native)

Project:  Camp GLOW 
$232.20 in April 2016
Volunteer: Katy Berry

Project:  Camp Build (Boys United in Leadership and Development) 
$500 in March 2016
Volunteer: Jewel Pereyra

Project: Teacher training workshop for local English Teachers  
$500 in December 2015

Project: School Latrine
$3000 in November 2015
Volunteer: Catie Wheat

Project Updates

Maternity Ward in Zambia

The SDPCA supported the building of a Maternity Ward in Lubilo, Zambia organized by Mike Nguyen, Health Sector Volunteer.  Mike sent some photos and as you can see, the building is near complete.  They expect the center to open in August 2017. 

ISF Grant made in memory of Gregg Pancoast
Latrine Project in Lesotho

In November 2015, the SDPCA Board approved a $3,000 International Support Fund (ISF) grant for a latrine project at a primary school in Lesotho. The Lepholisa Primary School has 170 students in grades 1 - 7 and the simple latrines have blown over in windstorms. They definitely need better latrines. The Peace Corps Volunteer, Catie Wheat, grew up in San Diego and applied for funding through the Peace Corps Partnership. The total cost of the project was $5,300.

In March 2017, SDPCA member Karen Lindquist visit Lesotho (where she served one of her two Peace Corps assignments). She met Catie and toured the school. The latrines were almost done. She also brought a plaque in memory of Gregg Pancoast.  

Fuel Efficient OvenImproved Ovens project in Nicaragua
SDPCA contributed $299.62 in December 2014.

The project, coordinated by PCV Mariel Stotts, will help replace 12 inefficient wood-fueled ovens currently in use by women entrepreneurs with an improved and more efficient design. The women selected to benefit from this project must fulfill these requirements:
1. Must have a business selling their own handmade baked goods
2. Must attend all educational sessions provided
3. Must contribute 25% of the cost of the oven
4. Must construct their improved oven.

Click here to read an update from Mariel.

History While RPCV Chris Tonner was serving on the SDPCA board, her brother Mark returned from his own Peace Corps tour in Thailand. Based in San Diego, he was back only briefly before being lost at sea while monitoring dolphin protection procedures. The nature of the circumstances were troubling, and to demonstrate our respect for his service and early passing, the International Support Fund (ISF) was renamed the Mark J. Tonner ISF.