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The future of our country depends upon making every individual fully realize the obligations and responsibilities belonging to citizenship. Habits are formed in youth ... what we need in this country now ... is to teach the growing generations to realize that thrift and economy, coupled with industry, are as necessary now as they were in past generations

- Theodore Vail, president of American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), and co-founder of Junior Achievement, 1918

Founded by Horace Moses, Theodore Vail, and Sen. Murray Crane of Massachusetts, Junior Achievement started in 1919 as a collection of small, after-school business clubs for students in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The consensus was that Junior Achievement was right for the times. As the rural-to-city exodus of the populace accelerated, so too did the demand for workforce preparation and entrepreneurship. Students were taught how to think and plan for a business, acquire supplies and talent, build their own products, advertise, sell, and balance the books. With the financial support of companies and individuals, Junior Achievement next recruited sponsoring agencies such as New England Rotarians, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, and numerous settlement houses, churches, playground associations, and schools to provide meeting places for the students.

Before long, JA students were competing in regional expositions and trade fairs and rubbing elbows with top business leaders. By 1925, President Calvin Coolidge himself was hosting a reception on the White House lawn to kick off a national fundraising drive for expansion, and by the late 1920s there were nearly 800 JA Clubs with some 9,000 Achievers in 13 cities in Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Today, through the generous support of contributors and more than 112,000 volunteers in U.S. classrooms, Junior Achievement reaches approximately 4 million students in grades K-12 per year. From its office in Colorado Springs, JA Worldwidesupports nearly 150 area offices to deliver more than 20 programs to students nationwide. Its international affiliates take the free enterprise message of hope and opportunity even further, reaching a total of more than 8 million students in nearly 100 countries!

Junior Achievementís Mission:

The envisioned future - what we aspire to become. Junior Achievement maintains an active vision, front and center, on how we can have a positive impact on the lives of more students - guided by our core values:

  • Belief in the boundless potential of young people
  • Commitment to the principles of market-based economics and entrepreneurship
  • Passion for what we do and honesty, integrity, and excellence in how we do it
  • Respect for the talents, creativity, perspectives, and backgrounds of all individuals
  • Belief in the power of partnership and collaboration
  • Conviction in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning

From our values, we articulate our purpose and vision, comprised of our core ideology:


Junior Achievement inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy.


We are empowering young people to own their economic success. Our volunteer-based K-12 programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire kids to dream big and reach their potential.

AAFT and Junior Achievement:

To date The Search for the Southís Funniest Accountant has raised $250,000 for Junior Achievement. Our event is proud to benefit three Junior Achievement locations across the Southeast:

Junior Achievement of Georgia

Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina

Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas