Youth Development

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, Inc.

  • Springfield, MA

Mission Statement

JA's mission is to empower young people to own their economic success through the delivery of JA's age-appropriate, hands-on curriculum for students in grades K-12. JA volunteers serve as role models and inspire youth to own their economic success.

Main Programs

  1. Program 1
  2. JA High School Heroes
  3. JA Stock Investing Competition

ruling year


chief executive for fy 2006

Ms. Jennifer A Connolly

Self-reported by organization


education, business, career exploration, financial literacy

Self-reported by organization

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Also Known As

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Business, Youth Development (O53)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

Employment Procurement Assistance and Job Training (J20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Top Accomplishments:Celebrating 95 years of service to the youth of Western Massachusetts.Home to the Birthplace of Junior Achievement, Springfield, MA Increased students impacted by 7% while decreasing expenses by 11%Recipient of a FOUR STAR AWARD from JA USA for meeting/exceeding operational standards for compliance, student impact, operational efficiency, financial stability and sustainability. Received the MetLife Sowing Seeds of Entrepreneurship Award July, 2014Introduced the first JA Capstone Program in Massachusetts- JA Finance Park Virtual- helps students build a foundation for making intelligent, lifelong, personal financial decisions through hands-on, realistic simulation experiences. Held the largest one-day student stock market competition event in the US.Held the first JA EnTEENpreneur Challenge- a Teen Shark Tank Competition62% of the students served are from low-to-moderate income families.Top Goals: Continue to increase the number of students served through moderate growth in key areas.Become recognized by the business and education communities as the financial and career education leader in Western Massachusetts.Continue to secure funding to maintain financial stability and to grow the cash reserves- with a goal of 6 months reserves.Measurable Outcome Goals:70% of the students participating in JA programs (middle and high school) will indicate that JA has had a positive impact on improving their Math skills.84% of JA high school students will be able to connect what they learned in the classroom to real life.76% of the students agree or strongly agree that JA is important to their future.74% of the students agree or strongly agree that their participation in JA will help them get a good job71% of the students agree or strongly agree that the things they learned in JA will help them be successful in life


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Through age-appropriate curricula, Junior Achievement programs begin at the elementary school level, teaching children how they can impact the world around them as individuals, workers and consumers. Junior Achievement programs continue through the middle and high school grades, preparing students for future economic and workforce issues they'll face.



Population Served

Program 2

JA High School Heroes

The High School Heroes Program is designed for the students to deliver the five-week curriculum in one day, a JA in a Day experience. The high school students work in teams of two in each classroom. Before teaching their own JA elementary program, all High School Heroes will complete a JA high school program. After completing the high school JA program, the High School Heroes receive JA Volunteer training. On the day of the event at the elementary school the High School Heroes are supervised by a Junior Achievement staff member. The High School Heroes are at school for the entire day, having ample time to interact with the students within the program structure and outside of it. The High School Heroes Program is designed to engage more high school students in JA programs and provide them with the opportunity to:§ Become involved in community service§ Demonstrate leadership skills§ Develop public speaking skills§ Develop time management skills§ Develop self-confidence§ Serve as role models for younger students


Youth Development, General/Other



Population Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Program 3

JA Stock Investing Competition

The JA Stock Investing Competition provides a unique educational experience for middle grade and high school students. Using Future Financiers, an online program which provides activities that introduce the students to the stock market and the offers online simulations to prepare the students for a live competition. The students in teams of 5 compete to amass the highest net-worth by the end of the 60 day investment period, where each day was only one-minute long! Business and college volunteers serve as traders, using tablets to make electronic trades. Just like in a real trading day, the student teams have access to tips and news that impact the market and influence whether they should buy or sell. Last year over 600 students competed in the live competition. The student teams are sponsored by local businesses. The students compete in the morning and in the evening the business leaders and colleges compete for fun.


Education, General/Other



Population Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    1) Grow # of children reached by 3% annually and # of programs completed by 4% * Drive greater percentage of Middle School grades i. Split of 40%/20%/40% for Elem/Middle/High ii. Focus on Minimum 50% lower income schools with target of 60%. iii. Grow greater Springfield districts by 5% 2) Recruit, develop and maintain a strong, engaged and connected board a. Develop board members that can operate in key spheres of influence 1. Develop 20-30 people in new board with clear plan 2. Fundraising 3. Volunteer Recruitment 4. Event Management and Attendance 5. Community Engagement 6. Strategic Growth ii. Goal of 20% of board members in the C-Suite 3) Develop strong, sustainable fundraising strategy to meet strategic objectives and ensure long term viability a. Develop stronger partnerships i. Grow individual and corporate donors by 10% annually 1. Create a local appeal at the city/town level to find partnerships and give them exposure utilizing a micro-marketing mindset. 2. Leverage our assets including the Stock Market Challenge concept to raise more money through licensing, paid training, partnerships at the national level (Bloomberg) and with local business schools. ii. $100,000 annually in pledges b. Focus on smaller number of highly profitable events 4) Grow brand awareness and increase brand equity to drive growth in programs, volunteers and sponsors a. Develop partnership Strategy b. Develop PR and Marketing Strategy that is aligned with JA USA Brand
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Expanding partnerships with local school districts to deliver JA programs in local schools. Expanding partnerships with local post-secondary institutions- with students serving as JA classroom volunteers and mentors for school-age youth; while highlighting the post-secondary educational opportunities in the areas served. Expanding corporate partnerships to secure financial support for JA programs, recruit employees as JA classroom volunteers, Committee members and Board Members; while highlighting the employment opportunities in the local area. Expand collaborative efforts with other area non-profits to expand programs and secure funding; building on the success and strengths of the different organizations in order to deliver more comprehensive, cohesive programming to constituents.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Strong, effective proven programs developed by national education leaders, through JA USA. 95 years of experience serving the youth of Western Massachusetts, providing financial literacy, entrepreneurship and career/workforce readiness education Hard-working, dedicated professional staff. Proven measureable outcomes tracked locally since 2003-04 and verified by an outside agency. Nation-wide longitudinal studies of program impact conducted by JA USA Strong, dedicated and passionate Board of Directors from corporations and educational institutions throughout the area.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    JA will administer Student Pre and Post Tests. Each JA program provides a pre and post-tests format for teachers to utilize in the classroom to identify quantifiable outcomes. The tests are designed to evaluate the students' knowledge of economically relevant topics including many mathematical operations such as percentages, operations and calculations, prior to the JA lessons and then utilizing the same test, evaluate the knowledge gained at the conclusion of the program. All JA teachers, high school students and JA volunteers are asked to complete an Evaluation form in order to provide quantifiable data relevant to the impact (perceived or actual) on the State's frameworks and the MCAS, citing particular areas including: Language, Reading and Literature, Mathematics, and Social Studies. In addition teachers are asked to identify skills and attitudes addressed by JA including: Problem-solving, Teamwork, Decision making, and Career Exploration. The results of the evaluation forms are then analyzed by graduate students at Worcester State University under the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Wark who worked with JA of Western Massachusetts as a professor at Springfield College for 17 years. Dr. Wark has continued the statistical analysis project with JA at Worcester State for the past five years, because it provides valuable information to our organization and a great learning experience for her students. 84% of the teachers felt JA positively impacted students' problem-solving skills. 89% of the teachers felt JA positively impacted students' decision-making skills. 92% of the teachers felt JA positively impacted students' teamwork skills. 80% of the teachers felt JA positively impacted students' Language skills. 92% of JA alumni indicate they have the confidence that they can compete successfully in a business environment. 88% of JA alumni say JA helped them hone their decision-making skills. 85 % of JA alumni indicate that they have strengthened their interpersonal communication skills through Junior Achievement. 80% of Junior Achievement students agree that participation in our programs reinforces the value of an education and the importance of staying in school. 84% of JA alumni indicate their participation helped them bridge the gap between what they learned in school and how it can be applied in the real world.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Junior Achievement is uniquely positioned to lead a discussion about workforce readiness. JA understands the needs of students—we talk to them every day! And we understand business owners' needs because they are our partners in delivering financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work-readiness programs to over 10,000 K-12 students in Western Massachusetts annually. Junior Achievement is ready to play a part in a solution that makes a positive impact on the next generation of students entering the workforce through its interactive curriculum which engages and excites students, leading to stronger critical thinking and decision-making skills and more confidence. Long-term Goals: * Transform JA to be recognized by key stakeholders as a leader in relevant 21st century learning. * Design, develop, and deploy a comprehensive content and implementation approach that meets the needs of 21st century learners and expands JA's impact on students * Create multiple volunteer engagement opportunities that complement and enhance the traditional JA volunteer role. * Generate financial and volunteer (program, board, fund raising, special event, etc.) resources which build, support, and sustain the transformed organization. * Near-term Progress: * JAWM decreased expenses by 11% in 2013-14 * JAWM Increased students served by 7% in 2013-14 * JAWM increased student contact hours by 20% in 2013-14. * In July, JA of Western MA was awarded one of 4 MetLife Foundation Sowing the Seeds of Success Awards in the world for its Building an Education Ladder to the Future Project. * JA Volunteers can engage via one-day in-school events, after-school programs, once-a-week traditional JA programs, special events such as the EnTEENpreneur Challenge, or with the blended format of the new JA Company Programs that offers the opportunity to engage the students in-person and via the Internet. * Conducted a 3 month review of current JA Special Events to determine profitability and student impact. Eliminate two events and added one new student-centered event- The JA EnTEENpreneur Challenge, which was held successfully in March 2015.

Funding Needs

Non-restricted operating funds: Need to secure $100,000 annually. Program Funding: Need to secure $200,000 in program-directed funding to provide JA programs to youth grades K-12 inWestern Massachusetts. Volunteers: Need to recruit, train and place 400 volunteers annually. Management: Need Board Members who actively help to raise money and awareness of JA. Marketing: Need media partner(s) to promote JA's mission and raise awareness at no cost through in-kind donations.


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Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, Inc.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


Ms. Jennifer A Connolly


BS EducationCertificate in Volunteer AdministrationCertificate in JA LeadershipMBA Elms CollegeWork experience: Overseeing operations of a non-profit organization focusing on financial literacy, work readiness and career development, with a budget of $400,000 and a staff of 3 Fundraising: grant writing, annual campaign; donor recognitionStrategic planningBoard Development, communication, reportingMarketing including social mediaCommunity relations: media, press releases, presentationsProgram development and evaluationStaff development, HR,Budget developmentRecognition JAWM Development Director 2003-2006 JA of Maine Program Manager 1999-2003 Volunteer and teacher recruitmentProgram registrationProgram evaluationCouncil Development and management


"As a JA alumni, I am proud to have the honor of leading JA in its birthplace,Springfield,MA. I feel our organization is a leader in delivering high-quality, relevant educational programs founded on three pillars: financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness. I feel that an investment in JA is an investment in the future. I know because people invested in JA when I was a younger and I feel many of the qualities I bring to my work stem from my JA experiencMore than 95 years ago, three Western Massachusetts leaders: Horace Moses from Strathmore Paper, Theodore Vail, of AT&T and Senator Murray Crane from Crane Paper came together to create Junior Achievement, an organization dedicated to youth development, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. As Mr.Vail noted, ""teaching youth this country's economic way of life and showing them the benefit of hard work will give them self-reliance and independence."" In 1919, JA had three full-time staff members, a $250,000 budget, 22 volunteers and served 50 youth. Today, JA of Western Massachusetts has one full-time staff, 3 part time staff, a budget of $455,000, over 400 volunteers and serves nearly 10,000 youth. JA succeeds through an innovative partnership between the business community, educators and volunteers, helping young people connect with relevant learning and the importance of staying in school. JA inspires students to develop competitive skills and confidence. Their success bolsters the local workforce and contributes to economic growth. Junior Achievement instills confidence, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a competitive edge."



Ms. Darlene Libiszewski

Chicopee Savings Bank

Term: July 2014 - June 2016


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Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?