Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Catalyst Centre Needs Your Help

Yup, we're hurting.

It all started with an idea: could we create a popular education organization that practiced the very ethics, pedagogy and politics that we presumed we could teach (facilitate, develop, support, etc.) to others? Matt and i shared a history of conversations about social change, Gramsci, popular education, ethics and so on and, while working to support a North American coalition of popular and adult education groups, we concocted an idea we called the "Catalyst Project." the project didn't go anywhere but we had this idea in the back of our heads that was ready-made for an opportunity to start a new popular education group round about 1998. We approached two friends, Clare and Darashani and thus became the co-founders of the Catalyst Centre. We had a handful of vigorous years though funding, from the get-go, was tough. Over and over again we encountered enthusiasm for the democratic process we represented but reluctance to fund processes that did not have clearly defined, measureable outcomes. Along the way, our modest resource collection grew from a few hundred books and manuals to thousands, as we acquired the collection of the International Council for Adult Education. Which brings us to our present crisis. We need to save our collection. So we're doing a BIG push on fundraising and hope to raise enough to buy us some time and capacity to continue to care for a unique resource. Below is our appeal (which you can also download as a PDF here) and we urge any and all who value popular education work to consider donating and/or passing on this appeal to others who might wish to contribute. Thanks in advance.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Catalyst Centre needs your help. Urgently!

This is an emergency appeal for support to keep the Catalyst library intact. Our collection of thousands of books and journals (mostly in storage these past couple of years while we've looked for a new home) is in jeopardy. We have to move it (or renew our storage arrangement) by May 8. We need to raise at least $2,000 by May 6th to move the collection and that may still mean giving away a lot of stuff.

Can you support us with a tax-deductible donation to support the library? Your donation can help us keep this collection alive. You can donate right now through our account with Canada Helps, a charitable on-line donation portal (please note that our incorporated name is "Popular Education and Research Catalyst Centre, Inc."). You can help out now by visiting:

Cheques can be made to the "Catalyst Centre Foundation" and mailed to:

Catalyst Centre

720 Bathurst Street

Toronto ON M5S 2R4

Our long-term goal is to raise over $20,000 to preserve what is one of the best adult and popular education collections in the country.

This need for urgent funds came upon us due to a change in management where the library is being stored. Catalyst, as organization in hibernation, has zero funds to support the library and storage costs have come out of one individual donor and significant financial contributions from Catalyst staff, a model that cannot be maintained past May 8. We are working to find a permanent home for the library in the next few weeks, but we need funds in order to make this happen.

The Catalyst Centre is almost ten years old. Hard to believe. When Matt and chris first began discussing the idea of founding a popular education group to continue the tradition of the Doris Marshall Institute for Education and Action and the Naming the Moment Project, we certainly didn't know where we'd be ten years later. The Catalyst Centre is respected both locally and internationally and, if people overestimate our capacity (which has always been modest), this is, nonetheless, a measure of the importance of the work that we do (along with numerous allies). And, while we are now in a phase of making new plans, circumstances have caught up with us.

We are currently expanding and renewing the membership of Catalyst. And we're looking into developing new programming that will include courses and workshops, support for the Indigenous Environmental Network's Alberta tarsands campaign, continued management and development of the collection and more.

Our immediate need is the collection. It is likely the single best collection of popular education materials in Canada. It contains extensive adult and popular education information, as well as archives from the Doris Marshall Institute and the Moment Project. It is a collection that is still an excellent support to community educators, community development practitioners, students, social workers and more.

Your donation can make the difference between preserving this collection and having to give it away in pieces, if not actually having to discard much of it.

Whatever you can contribute will be put to good use. Every little bit helps. You will get a charitable receipt for any donation and we ask you to consider giving anything between $25 and $1000. All donations are tax deductible. If you can help, please do so now.

Thank-you for considering this appeal and please feel free to share it with anyone you think might appreciate being a part of saving this collection and supporting the work of the Catalyst Centre.


chris cavanagh, Matthew Adams, Corvin Russell

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why can't you donate the collection to a library? Have you looked into this? Will a university library not accept the collection? It seems that if you went that route, the materials would be accessible to a wider audience. Anyway, good luck.