By way of introducing Jo-Anne today, President John spoke about the genesis of the FAR program at Pathways, and how it seeks to continue the good work of Pathways, how it brought together many partners, and how it has been so successful, despite Covid. John talked about the next step - our project is time limited, so there is a need to ensure long term funding. That's what Jo-Anne was here to speak about today. Jo-Anne is a co-chair of the fundraising committee at Pathways Kingston.
Back in 2010, the Kingston Community Health Centre helped establish a Pathways chapter in Kingston, recognizing the important role of education as a determinant of health. This program has changed the lives of many students in Kingston's least advantaged neighbourhoods. Pathways breaks the cycle of poverty through education. The program works - 43% of Pathways graduates are the first in their family to go to post-secondary education.
However, after high school, Pathways cannot support students beyond high school graduation. Only 36% of the first graduating class persisted in their higher education because a myriad of financial and practical barriers. Over the years Pathways Kingston cobbled together the money to fund help for kids after high school. Rotary helped formalize the position with the Rotary FAR project. Results this year have been dramatic - 81% of graduates are staying in post-secondary education!
With her Queen's University background, with it's huge endowment revenue, Jo-Anne felt an endowment would be the best way to fund the FAR going forward. They could track their graduates, inspire students with events like campus tours, recognize graduates and provide orientation activities for post-secondary education, and grow opportunities for more Kingston youth to escape poverty (there are pockets of the city's population outside of Pathways traditional service are that struggle with the same issues).
The goal for the endowment fund is $1 million, with $300k in hand so far (including some member donations). There is a plan to have an outdoor event to publicly launch the campaign June 28th, with an option to do it in September if required by health regulations.
This year's cohort of Pathways graduates are attending multiple post-secondary institutions, many with scholarships and OSAP assistance that will prevent them from having to take on extra debt.
How can we help? Spread the word about Pathways where you can. Become a volunteer or a mentor.
Is social media effective for this type of campaign? Yes, Pathways is on Facebook and Twitter, although they target different groups. No gift is too small by the way.
Are the teacher associations supporters? Both teachers groups and the board are supporters. Many teachers are Pathways tutors.
Will face to face fundraising resume post-Covid? Yes for sure. Social events are important.
If students move from the catchment area can they continue with Pathways? Yes.
What role will alumni play? Spreading the word amongst students.
In thanking Jo-Anne, Greg Mumford challenged us to think of this as an unfinished Rotary project - how can we take it forward and see that it's funded forever.