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Junior Achievement Operations Win Internation Awards for Innovation

MetLife Foundation provides grants to support scalable programs around the globe.

Colorado Springs, CO Eight Junior Achievement (JA) operations won 2012 MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Awards, including grants of $25, 000 for outstanding innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. One JA Area, INJAZ Egypt, received an additional $25, 000 grant for exceptional achievement in these areas. In addition, MetLife Foundation "Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship" Awards were presented to five JA operations. They received grants of $10, 000 each to advance innovative, but untested program concepts. The 2012 winners were announced on Wednesday at Junior Achievement USA's National Leadership Conference held in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Junior Achievement and MetLife Foundation have partnered for more than 10 years to honor and expand exemplary entrepreneurship innovations developed by JA operations around the world.

"MetLife Foundation recognizes the important role that Junior Achievement operations worldwide play in preparing young people to succeed in a global economy and in life, " said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "We are pleased to join JA in honoring 13 operations whose exemplary innovations and entrepreneurship are helping increase their reach and impact on young people."

The top MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Award and $50, 000 went to INJAZ Egypt for "INJAZ Egypt Entrepreneurship Pipeline Pilot."

In response to Egypt's post-revolution needs, INJAZ began generating real sustainable businesses by transforming JA Company Program® and competition into an entrepreneurship pipeline. In 2011, 10 JA Company Program teen-run companies won private sector incubation and seed-funding, and entered a new Start-Up program, which mentors them through legal registration, increasing competitiveness and sustainability.

Additional 2012 MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Award winners include:

  • Junior Achievement Argentina, "Climate Entrepreneurs"

    Climate Entrepreneurs is an educational program that promotes an entrepreneurial attitude in students in an effort to inspire responsibility and cooperation, as well as help them face the challenges of economic development and climate change.
  • Junior Achievement of Delaware, "JA Innovation Hub/JA iHUB Career & College Readiness Experience"

    In the JA innovation Hub (iHUB), students interact with touch-screen technology and discover how they can change the world by pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or math. The exploration produces an educational roadmap leading to a local employer with these types of positions.
  • Junior Achievement of Georgia, "JA Means Success (JAMS)"

    Successfully piloted during the 2010-2011 school year, JAMS is an in-depth, multi-year experience for middle-grades students. JAMS is aimed at providing deep impact and long-term behavioral results, especially in the areas of graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment and work readiness.
  • Junior Achievement of Northern California (San Francisco, Calif.), "Grantwriting Boot Camp: A Turn-key Training for JA Staff"

    Grantwriting Boot Camp is a comprehensive toolkit designed to equip development departments, regardless of size, with resources to maximize productivity and increase revenue from private and community funders. This process quickly trains new development employees to align with the JA brand and includes tools to ensure historical information is preserved through staff transitions.
  • Junior Achievement of Southern California (Los Angeles), "More Mission, More Money!"

    JA of Southern California's More Mission... More Money is a proven fundraising strategy for connecting and cultivating major individual donors to JA's mission. A giving society is established to help cultivate relationships with individual donors.
  • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (Minneapolis, Minn.), "JA Corporate Council Strategy"

    The JA Corporate Council strategy brings efficient and effective structure to corporate partnerships for the purpose of maximizing volunteer and financial resources. Designed to create a cohesive network of JA support within a corporation, the strategy creates meaningful employee engagement that supports JA's mission while furthering corporate initiatives.
  • Junior Achievement Romania, "Invest in Education!"

    Invest in Education! has brought a major shift in the way JA Romania programs are funded, marketed and perceived by the community. JA Romania has integrated the marketing, fundraising and implementation components of its 31 in-school programs into a single large, national campaign in order to gain brand exposure and visibility at an unprecedented level and generate new sources of income.

The 2012 MetLife Foundation "Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship" Award winners are:

  • Junior Achievement Kenya, "JA Mentors On Board (MOB)"

    Mentors On Board aims to connect business experience to rural and disenfranchised schools in Kenya, mentoring one school at a time. Through the acquisition of a nine-passenger vehicle, JA Kenya will recruit mentors who will traverse rural Kenya, mentoring students via JA programs and sowing seeds of entrepreneurship in locations and schools JA would otherwise not reach due to limited capability.
  • Junior Achievement of Oregon & Southwest Washington (Portland, Ore.), "JA Finance Park Paperless Initiative"

    The goal of the JA Finance Park Paperless Initiative is to significantly reduce, or remove entirely, the use of paper during the JA Finance Park simulation by using custom-designed touch technology.
  • Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), "Making it Relevant"

    The project will adapt the JA Economics for Success®, JA Global Marketplace®, JA Personal Finance®, and JA It's My Business® middle-school programs to be more relevant to the circumstances of students in lower socioeconomic situations. Target outcomes include increased student learning outcomes, greater educator satisfaction, and improved volunteer satisfaction.
  • Junior Achievement of San Diego & Imperial County (Calif.), "Junior Achievement C.A.R.E. Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program"

    Junior Achievement C.A.R.E. will be an innovative collaboration with the Credit Abuse Resistance Education program developed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The program will add a supplemental presentation and activity to the JA Personal Finance program in order to educate and train high school students around how to manage credit and credit-card debt.
  • Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia (Roanoke, Va.), "Project Payback"

    Project Payback is a juvenile restitution program established for the purpose of repaying victims of crime for their losses. This is accomplished by attaining 21st -century workforce skills through JA that will generate meaningful jobs and business opportunities. JA programs will create self-sufficiency and enable juveniles to be accountable for their actions.

"The innovation and creativity these JA operations have demonstrated shows the strong alignment between core JA concepts and the business world, " said Sean C. Rush, president and chief executive officer of JA Worldwide. "The winners of this year's awards are effectively driving innovation in program delivery and business processes. Their accomplishments are tangible demonstrations of JA's ability to empower young people to own their economic success."

Building on its 92-year legacy, Junior Achievement continues to deliver innovation to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. The MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Award is a significant way to recognize and drive innovation across JA through funding current programs promoting entrepreneurship.

About MetLife Foundation

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife's longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation's commitment to building a secure future for individuals and communities worldwide is reflected in its dedication to empowering older adults, preparing young people and building livable communities. Since it was established, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $530 million in grants to nonprofit organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. For more information visit

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