That, essentially, is the gist of this Ottawa Citizen story: now that the federal government has ended funding for this youth education program, its employees have been scrambling to find alternative sources of funding.
A number of corporations are interested in investing in Katimavik programs that address such things as the environment, youth at risk and the dropout rate.
“Those are programs that we’re very able to deliver,” [Katimavik communications director Victoria] Salvador said.
As well, Katimavik is in active talks with several municipalities — including some in Eastern Ontario and “quite a few” in Quebec — willing to provide funding to keep valued programs alive in their communities.
There are also hopes the provinces will kick in some money, as Quebec has done with a Katimavik program called Eco-Internship, which allows 40 young adults to intern with Quebec environmental organizations for three months. Katimavik wants to take that model to other provinces, Salvador said.
Katimavik’s new funding model calls for local communities, the public sector and the private sector each to contribute about 30 per cent of its budget. Volunteers, who now pay only a small fee, will also be asked to pay more, covering expenses such as travel.
The organization will also look for more donations from its nearly 35,000 alumni.
Now, granted, this does sound a lot like the bravado of an executive whose corporation is in the throes of receivership. But it’s also, very much, a step in the right direction.
Remember, the Harper government didn’t pull the plug on Katimavik because it hated the program; it cut funding because it doesn’t believe such a program should be funded by the taxpayer at the national level. Katimavik was one of those “fund it and forget it” programs that made pro-federal-government advocates feel good, and that was pretty much all.
At least now, the Katimavik management are doing what they should have been doing all along: actively selling the program, on its merits, to interested bodies in the non-government sector who could potentially benefit from the experience of its graduates. No need for Ottawa, then — and that’s a good thing.