Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc.

"What is critical is students discover the link and what they'll be doing — connecting learning with earning. Our area is well-known for our entrepreneurial spirit.

—Kim McGrigg, communications director, Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc.

The mission at Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc. is to prepare young people from K-12 to "thrive in the 21st century workplace and global economy by inspiring a passion in entrepreneurship and free enterprise, and instilling an understanding of personal financial literacy." JA-Rocky Mountain achieves its mission through volunteers, who implement programs that teach three pillars: financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.

JA recruits and trains volunteers from the business community to deliver the curriculum. These volunteers bring their life experience to the classroom; they're able to serve as role models and are a big inspiration.

JA's innovative curriculum helps students develop critical thinking skills. They get to work in teams collaboratively and have the opportunity to practice public speaking; these are life skills.

The "learn by doing" approach of Junior Achievement has a high impact. When asked if being a JA student positively affected their future, 92 percent of JA graduates responded with a resounding "Yes!" JA alumni are more than twice as confident that they can successfully compete in a business environment, compared to adults without JA experience.

In 2015, a third-party evaluator measured JA students’ understanding of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. The evaluator found that

  • JA programs help students gain the skills employers need to grow their businesses.

  • JA students are more confident in their ability to manage and control their finances.

  • JA students embody an entrepreneurial spirit and understand how to leverage resources to launch a business.

Perhaps the most important finding is that JA students are more optimistic about achieving future success. Optimism is the underpinning of advancement — not just material advancement — but also societal advancement and the enrichment of our neighborhoods and schools, and our businesses and communities. 

JA-Rocky Mountain's office, which covers the Denver metropolitan area, northern Colorado, and Wyoming, reached 125,425 students last year. It took 546 schools, 5,699 volunteers, and 949,154 contact hours with students to do that. JA-Rocky Mountain is the eighth largest JA in the nation with a staff of 30 to 32 people.

Kim McGrigg, communications director, sees great value in the services that QuickBooks provides to JA-Rocky Mountain. "We teach students to seize opportunities when they arise. We are able to do the same because TechSoup makes it possible to have a product that helps us achieve our mission at an affordable cost. We have been using QuickBooks for at least 10 years. Why QuickBooks works for us is its ability to grow with us. … Having a system for tracking income and expenses that's easy, fast, and versatile allows us to focus on what's critical … We rely on revenue from donors to fuel our work and it's imperative we are able to track and send reports and make payments through QuickBooks. … [QuickBooks] is incredibly easy to use and easy to teach. … [and it] allows for different users to use it at the same time. We run a lot of special events. It's very helpful to make sure we're keeping on budget. On a practical side, it also allows us to produce invoices; we are able to do that quickly and easily."

The person who uses QuickBooks the most at JA-Rocky Mountain, Controller Lois Leidich-Ross, added, "The thing I like most about QuickBooks is the report feature and export-to-Excel feature. It is easy to create custom reports and export them to Excel."