Junior Achievement Receives $40,000 Grant from Bank of America
Making its largest investment in the area of education funding and workforce development this year in the Baltimore area, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has awarded a $40,000 grant to Junior Achievement of Central Maryland (JA).
The grant is part of Bank of America’s effort to help underserved middle- and high-school students stay on the path to academic success through high school graduation, and gain access to college and other post-secondary opportunities.
With this funding, JA will provide financial education and career exploration programs to up to 1,250 youth in a cohort of K-8 Baltimore City schools where students follow a continuum of JA programs to foster and track on-time grade promotion.
“Bank of America has been a wonderful partner to Junior Achievement for more than 15 years, providing us with resources to offer hands-on programs that empower students to make a connection between what they learn in school and how it can be applied in the real world,” said Jennifer Bodensiek, president of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland. “This grant aligns with Baltimore City Public Schools’ focus to enhance the relevance of classroom learning and increase understanding of the value of staying in school.”
According to the City Schools’ annual report of high school performance results, just released earlier this month, the graduation rate is at an all-time high. Bodensiek hopes that, by focusing on making these students more college and career-ready, JA’s partnership with Bank of America will help to continue that trend.
The cornerstone of the grant is to bring JA Finance Park Virtual, a comprehensive, six-week economics education program, to 7th/8th grade students in targeted schools. Supporting new state financial literacy requirements and filling a void of limited resources at the middle school level, the program helps students build a foundation to make intelligent, lifelong financial decisions through a hands-on, online simulation where middle school students apply learned concepts in a life-like “virtual” community.
After being assigned a unique “life situation,” including marital status, number of children, education, employment and income, students will use bank services, contribute to charities, explore higher education, purchase housing, transportation, food, health care and other expenses, make investment decisions, and work to create and balance their personal budgets.
“JA of Central Maryland is an incredible resource and provides innovative programs that augment our educational system,” said David Millman, Maryland and Baltimore market president, Bank of America. “Its programs open students’ eyes to real-world financial challenges.”
He added: “It is also a natural partner because the organization’s three areas of focus—youth development, education development and economic development—comprise a powerful platform to boost performance and, in turn, increase graduation rates.”
Bank of America will continue to support Junior Achievement’s JA BizTown capstone program, which includes a full curriculum of in-class education and culminates in a visit to a 10,000-square-foot replica of an American city, located at JA's Owings Mills headquarters. Through the grant, the Baltimore City school students will complete JA BizTown in 6th grade and further their financial studies with JA Finance Park Virtual.
Headquartered in Owings Mills, Junior Achievement of Central Maryland is dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for kindergarten to grade 12 students which focus on work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Founded in 1957, the non-profit organization now serves more than 33,000 students each year throughout Central Maryland. For more information, visit www.jamaryland.org.
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