Thunderbirds Charities Grant $50,000 to Junior Achievement Arizona

Posted in: Partners, Support

Tempe, Ariz. (June 21, 2021)Thunderbirds Charities has granted $50,000 to Junior Achievement Arizona (JA) to support JA Biz Town during the 2021-22 school year. The additional funds will allow 556 low-income students to visit JA BizTown and take part in hands-on learning designed to prepare them for their futures.

“JA’s real-word education is needed today more than ever, particularly because of the pandemic,” said Katherine Cecala, president of Junior Achievement of Arizona. “A recent study by the Federal Reserve Board found that 40 percent of Americans were unable to cover a $400 emergency expense, let alone survive a job loss or salary reduction. Making it more critical for low-income students to learn skills at home or school to carry them into the future workforce and prepare them to navigate the realities they will face in adulthood.”

JA BizTown will re-open to schools this fall. It begins with teachers leading their students through 14-20 hours of preparatory lessons in class. During these lessons, students learn about STEM and other high growth careers, paychecks, budgeting, taxes, economics, city government, resume writing, profit and loss statements, bank loans, teamwork, leadership, and how their skills and interests (particularly STEM skills and interests) correlate to careers. After these lessons, students put their new knowledge to the test in a 4.5-hour simulation in a child-sized economy built just for them. There, students are tasked with running businesses for a day, working in teams as CEOs, CFOs, engineers, marketing directors, radio DJs, and many other jobs, to pay back a bank loan and make their businesses profitable. Additionally, the students earn a simulated income and become the consumers of the economy, engaging with the various businesses and employees in JA BizTown.

“COVID-19 forced us to innovate new ways to reach students,” said Cecala. “We created JA BizTown Adventures, a virtual option for students to gain an understanding of various aspects of running a business as they take on the roles of CFO, engineer, technician, doctor, marketing director, and consumer via five online adventures. As we move forward from COVID-19, we plan to continue offering JA BizTown Adventures to students in rural markets who might not have been able to visit JA BizTown due to budget or travel constraints. This grant will help us reach new schools online in the coming year.”

“Thunderbirds Charities is proud to support Junior Achievement of Arizona’s Biz Town programming for the 2021-2022 school year,” said Scott Jenkins, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “This program truly cultivates the next generation of leaders providing lessons and skills that will help them in and out of the classroom.”

About Thunderbirds Charities

Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix.  The Thunderbirds Charities Board consists of 15 board members from varying professional backgrounds.  The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities.  The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona.  The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports.  The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 285 “life” members.  For more information on the Thunderbirds or the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit www.wmphoenixopen.com.  For more information on the Thunderbirds Charities, visit www.thunderbirdscharities.org.

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 more than 65,000 students in the 2020-2021 school year. Follow @JAArizona on social media or visit jaaz.org/resources for more free online educational tools.