Free Programs: How it’s possible

How many times have you heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”?

We are taught from an early age to be skeptical of things that seem too good to be true. So it’s not surprising that we are often asked how it is possible for JA to deliver its 24 kindergarten through 12th grade programs at no cost to students or schools. Following are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions related to funding.

How is JA funded?
As a nonprofit organization, we count on financial support from the business community, private and community foundations, special events and individuals. All money raised is utilized locally to provide programs to Metro Denver, Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming students. JA is designed to complement, not compete, with what educators teach. JA does not receive funding from the government; this has been true since JA was founded in Colorado in 1950.

Who are your largest supporters?
Each year, JA works with more than 500 local supporters that help make JA possible by providing financial and volunteer support. For example, these organizations each provided significant financial support ($100,000+) to Junior Achievement during the 2013/14 school year: The Anschutz Foundation, Daniels Fund, DIRECTV, FirstBank, Great-West Financial, Noble Energy, and Prologis. You can see a more comprehensive list of supporters on our website.

Why do companies choose to support JA?
Supporters range in size from large, national corporations to local small businesses. But they all share the common goal of assisting JA in providing innovative programs that build America’s global competitiveness by inspiring youth to achieve the American Dream. In partnership with JA, businesses actively participate in positively impacting their future workforce. In addition, JA provides a feel-good, skilled volunteer opportunity for employees.

How does JA use its resources?
Eighty two percent of JA’s budget is spent on program expenses. Last year, we were able to deliver programs at no cost to 540 local schools reaching 121,155 students. An additional ten percent of our budget is spent on fundraising expenses and the remainder is on building operations and general administrative costs.

Why does JA need to raise more money every year?
Every year, we receive more requests for JA volunteers than we are able to fulfill. The money we raise enables us to identify and train JA volunteers which enables us to reach more students. In addition, JA-Rocky Mountain is nationally recognized as innovator. We are continuously improving our programs to meet the needs of today’s students. For example, we just launched the new digital and interactive version of JA’s flagship program, the JA Company Program.

How can I help?
Thank your volunteer! Whether your volunteer works for a large organization, a small start-up or is an individual interested in sharing their experiences with the children of their community, please let him or her know that their time is valued. You can also thank our larger JA community by sharing your JA story on our newly launched JA Matters website!

We hope this helps shed some light on how JA is able to consistently deliver high-quality, effective programming at no cost.  If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask your program manager.