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Parsons Foundation donates $300,000 to Junior Achievement of Arizona

InBusiness PHX

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 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 former Junior Achievement 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 Renee Parsons, co-founder, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. “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.”

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. 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, 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 help narrow the income gap and provide pathways for Arizona’s most vulnerable students to overcome inequities. Junior Achievement’s programs are working and it’s evident in some of its 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.

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