A Brief History of the Organization
The Junior Achievement Staff Alumni Network, a Pioneer Legacy, was founded in 1991 and was originally known as the JA Pioneers. Membership was open to professionals who were Chief Staff Officers with more than ten years of experience who had retired from JA.
The original mission was to provide opportunities for fellowship for members, support JA retirees, mentor current JA professionals, support JA USA, JA Worldwide, and local areas when requested, and ensure the preservation of the history of JA.
The current mission of the JA Staff Alumni Network (JASAN) is to provide a network for staff alumni and to further the mission of JA USA.
Preserving JA History
In 1999, the Pioneers Archival Committee was formed and $350,000 was raised to establish the JA Archives and Museum. This fund drive was significantly helped by a $100,000 gift from Jim and Pat Hemak and a $50,000 Lilly Endowment grant coordinated by Pam Hicks (spouse of the late Dave Hicks).
The Junior Achievement Archives were established in 2002 with the signing of a Gift of Deed with Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis where the records are cataloged and retained. A new Deed of Gift was signed in 2014. The Archive can be accessed by anyone. The archive holds one copy of each of the records and photographs pertaining to JA USA. Records for local areas remain in those areas.
In 2002, an oral history project began to capture the reflections of some of JA’s most distinguished professionals and board members. Links to interview transcripts and recordings can be found here.
In 2004, the JA Museum was dedicated in the lobby of the JA USA headquarters. The museum was updated in 2018 and includes photos and samples from our 100 year-history.
Providing a Network for Staff Alumni
Membership is open to anyone who worked at JA for five or more years. There are no dues required to be a member. The organization is 100% supported by an annual fund drive, with an operating budget of less than $25,000.
Members have gathered every year at the annual JASAN meeting during the JA USA National Leadership Conference. Recently we have added online opportunities to gather and catch up.
Strategic planning meetings are held periodically to ensure the organization will have a strong future. An Executive Committee consisting of various committee chairs and two at-large members conduct the strategic work of the organization. All members are welcome to serve on one of several committees.
Several research projects between 2018 and 2020 were conducted to learn how the organization was perceived by non-members, what focus areas members were most interested in, and whether we should consider a new name. This was the impetus to change the name to the JA Staff Alumni Network, a Pioneer Legacy. This new name reflects the diversity of our members while honoring our past.
Communications now include newsletters, an updated website, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, and all-member online opportunities to stay connected. A part-time administrative assistant makes this possible.
Supporting Junior Achievement
JASAN believes it is critical to support the organization that gave us all a great career. Memoranda of Understanding were signed with JA USA in 2013, 2016, and 2018. These codify the role and purpose of JASAN and outline the support that each could expect from the other. Early funding support was provided by JA USA. As the years passed, and the membership grew, an agreement with JA USA was reached that enabled JASAN to become self-sufficient through their own fundraising. Additionally, in 2018, a separate MOU was signed to clarify the roles and commitments to the preservation of the history of Junior Achievement.
Awards and Scholarships
Following the death of Karl Flemke in 1994, $10,000 was raised to establish the Karl Flemke memorial fund and to fund the Flemke Award. This award is given to a JA CEO who has served in that position for less than four years.
Each year JASAN also funds a varying number of scholarships for deserving staff at all levels to attend the JA USA National Leadership Conference.
The Jim Sweeney Scholarship is given to an outstanding high school student in the JA Company Program.
Centennial Celebration Support
In 2019, to support the Centennial Celebration, the JA Staff Alumni Network gave $1,000 scholarships to defray the cost of attending the National Staff Training Conference to ten field staff members selected by JA USA. In addition, we sponsored the Centennial luncheon and a Centennial Celebration party for all attendees.
JA Alumni Connect was a campaign that worked jointly with JA USA to develop a robust, web-based, and social media-driven campaign to identify and reconnect with former program participants. More than 2,000 JA program alumni were identified through the efforts of JASAN.
Support Our Successors (SOS) Fund Development Campaign
In 2020-21, under the leadership of Marty Lee, Chair of the Fund Development Committee, and past JASAN Chair, the JA Staff Alumni Network undertook an ambitious campaign to raise $50,000 to support JA Area Staff to attend the next NLC after COVID lockdowns were lifted. Through the generous contributions of 117 JASAN members and a significant donation of $20,000 from the Achievement Foundation, $175,000 was raised. The first 75 beneficiaries of these scholarships attended the 2022 NLC held in Fort Worth, Texas with the support of a $1,000 scholarship each from this campaign. The scholarship was used to cover a recipient’s lodging for two nights and their event costs. Seeing that the financial burden of the cost of the remaining two nights’ lodging might still hinder an Area Staff member and scholarship recipient from attending, Jim Hemak generously agreed to cover the cost of the additional two nights of lodging for each of the 75 scholarship recipients.
In 2023 and 2024 respectively, 50 additional $1,000 scholarships will be awarded for each of those NLCs.