The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation Donates $300,000 to JA

Posted in: Partners

A recent study found 8 out of 10 American workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. These issues are even more critical for low-income and ethnically diverse students, as they are least likely to learn financial and career readiness concepts at home or school. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation grant of $300,000 over two years to Junior Achievement of Arizona will ensure financial literacy — including money management skills such as budgeting, saving, and responsible use of credit — are taught to K-12 students throughout Maricopa County.


“Our real-world education is needed now more than ever,” said Katherine Cecala, president of Junior Achievement of Arizona. “Post-pandemic students are graduating unprepared for the workforce and it’s our job to help them navigate the realities they will face as adults and teach them skills to become financially stable.”


Junior Achievement (JA) is filling a critical gap for today’s students who receive limited real-world experience in school, particularly when it comes to money management and career readiness. The nonprofit provides this important personal finance curriculum to kindergarten through high school aged students using a volunteer-led delivery model executed through partnerships with 400 schools, nearly 3,200 educators, and more than 8,000 volunteers throughout Arizona.


As a JA alum, Renee Parsons, co-founder of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, knows firsthand how important JA’s programs are for students.


“Students learn about basic financial concepts and engage in a hands-on experience at JA BizTown,” said Parsons. “There they learn what it takes to manage a business, pay their bills, and balance a checkbook. These are valuable skills that prepare students for a successful future as entrepreneurs, business owners, and employees.”


The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation donation will help fund over 2,500 low-income students with K-12 financial literacy and workforce readiness programming. Additionally, it will support 1,078 students with JA BizTown programming for two consecutive years.


“Financial literacy is not something most kids are learning at home or in school,” said Bob Parsons, co-founder of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. “Junior Achievement is delivering this important piece of education in an easy-to-learn way, preparing kids to succeed as adults.”


JA’s programs seek to narrow income gaps and provide a pathway to the most vulnerable students in hopes of a brighter, more successful, and more just future for all. Their programs are working and it’s evident in some of their recent statistics:

  • 90% of alumni report being confident in money management.
  • 85% of alumni say that JA played an important role in fostering a belief they could achieve their goals.
  • 45% of the businesses started by alumni employ more than 20 people, compared to approximately 12% of U.S. small businesses.
  • 60% of Hispanic alumni, 52% of African American alumni, and 51% of Caucasian alumni have started one or more businesses during their careers.

Bob and Renee Parsons posing for a picture

About The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers support to nonprofit organizations successfully working to empower, educate, nurture, and nourish people during what is often the darkest time of their lives. Founded in 2012 by philanthropists and business leaders Bob and Renee Parsons to provide hope and life-changing assistance to the country’s most vulnerable populations, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers critical funding at critical times to those in need. The Foundation’s giving is driven by the core belief that all people — regardless of race, religion, roots, economic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity — deserve access to quality healthcare, education, and a safe place to call home. Follow @WeDealInHope on social media or visit TBRPF.org to learn more about partner organizations and the important work being done in the community.


About Junior Achievement of Arizona

Junior Achievement of Arizona (JA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that equips Arizona students to succeed in work and life by giving them the knowledge and skills they need to manage their money, plan for their future, and make smart academic, career, and economic choices. Since 1957, JA has taught kids kindergarten through high school about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. The organization’s hands-on, age-appropriate programs are delivered by more than 8,000 corporate and community volunteers. Despite educational obstacles during the pandemic, JA reached approximately 170,000 students in the 2022-2023 school year. Follow @JAArizona on social media or visit jaaz.org/resources for more free online educational tools.