A tenet of Popular Education, the learning model Youth TCI uses, is accessibility - this is achieved by using a range of teach methods and ensuring that the content is relevant to the community in which it is being taught. For Youth TCI, accessibility goes a bit further to include financial accessibility. We don’t want any person to be unable to access cooperative development education, so we provide our trainings at low to no cost, depending on the needs and capacity of our partner organizations and/or each individual attending a given training. We are 99.9% grant funded, and our funders know and support our approach.
To achieve financial accessibility, we offer a sliding scale for trainings ranging from $0 (or, “Free99!”) to an amount covering both the hard (e.g. travel, supplies) and staff costs to put on a given training. If we have a partner organization inviting us to give a training in their neck of the woods, we’ll share our real costs and see what, if anything, that organization can provide to subsidize the program. Since that range can be a bit daunting from which to select an amount, we generally recommend that any organization based outside of the Twin Cities area (where our staff reside) to contribute $100-150 to offset our travel costs. For a training program without a partner organization, we will put out a donation jar with a suggested donation range of $5-20.
Our financial accessibility efforts go beyond the sliding scale to include travel stipends to offset the costs of participant travel to trainings. Working often in rural areas, we acknowledge that lots of folks may have to drive a considerable distance to attend a given training. We provide small cash stipends to cover gas for those who would be otherwise unable to attend. For our regional and national Train the Trainer programs, we have larger travel stipends set aside to facilitate participants coming from all around using planes, trains, and automobiles.
Since the primary measure of success for the Youth TCI program is reaching as many people as possible, ensuring the financial accessibility of our trainings is paramount. We know that the more people empowered with the knowledge that cooperative entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship could be a tool to improve their lives, the more lives are improved and the more our communities are strengthened. All contributions to Youth TCI in the form of partner organization payments and individual participant payments are tax deductible, as Northcountry Cooperative Foundation is a 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit. If you want to contribute to our work and allow us to support more people and organizations in accessing our training offerings, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you set up to give!