Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee (JA) recently received a $500,000 donation from JA board member and Nashville businesswoman Pam Wright. The donation will go toward renovating JA BizTown, a fully simulated, hands-on “city” that helps educate students on entrepreneurship.
JA BizTown serves children in fourth through sixth grades, and allows them to delve into personal finances. They learn to write a check, make a deposit, use a debit card and more. Each child attending JA BizTown has a “job” during his or her visit. The program helps students connect the dots between what they learn in school and the real world, and educates them on how to be financially smart and workforce-ready, and to prosper as an entrepreneur.
“JA BizTown is a wonderful tool that helps us demonstrate to Middle Tennessee students coming through our doors the importance of each of their roles in society and the responsibilities that come with them,” said Trent Klingensmith, president of JA. “Pam’s generous donation will allow us to provide a state-of-the-art program for our students, while continuing to inspire excellence in education.”
Wright, who has been a JA board member for 17 years, is also president and CEO of Wright Airport Business Center and managing partner of Wright Development. As a graduate of JA, she says she was proud to be a part of the continuing success of the program.
“JA was a foundation for me to believe that I could become an entrepreneur,” Wright said. “We hear testimonies from children who tell us how much this program really means to them. Not only is it a fun way to teach kids; but we, as donors, are investing in our social and economic future. It’s all about the kids, and it’s important to remember that.”
Renovations will include new floors, new paint, updated shops, a new City Hall and several other improvements to modernize the space.
About Junior Achievement (JA) USA and JA of Middle Tennessee: Junior Achievement USA® (JA) is the world’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Locally, JA of Middle Tennessee, a franchise of JA USA®, provides in-school and after-school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Through a dedicated corporate and community volunteer network, JA offers classroom-based programs, JA BizTown and the JA Company Program to students in kindergarten through high school, providing hands-on experiences. Founded in Middle Tennessee in 1957, JA now operates in 21 counties in the region, reaching over 33,000 students annually in over 2,000 classrooms throughout Middle Tennessee. For more information, visit www.janash.com or www.ja.org.