On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, Spencer Schwartz, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide, the recognized leader in global airfreight and longtime partner of JA New York, was honored with the 2018 Champion Award for his contributions and dedication to Junior Achievement of New York.
Over 150 business leaders and professionals gathered to celebrate Mr. Schwartz and to raise funds to support the delivery of financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness programs to K-12 students the Lower Hudson Valley. The evening's event raised nearly $130,000 to support Junior Achievement programs. A signature annual fundraising event in the Lower Hudson Valley, the Champions Dinner brings together local business leaders, schools, students and Junior Achievement volunteers in an evening of celebration.
Distinguished guests included: Westchester County Deputy Executive Ken Jenkins; Mayor of White Plains Tom Roach; Dr. DaMia Harris, Executive Director of the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau; William J. Flynn, CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide; and Jack L. Kopnisky, President and CEO of Sterling National Bank.
Mr. Jenkins spoke about the importance of JA programs and highlighted the lasting impact of volunteers, who go into the classroom to deliver Junior Achievement programs. Having participated in Junior Achievement as a volunteer, Mr. Jenkins passionately detailed his experience: "You get as much as you give and you learn as much as you teach."
A highlight of the evening included student speeches from Samiha Mohamed of Roosevelt High School and Taevon Allen of Mount Vernon High School. Ms. Mohamed and Mr. Allen detailed their participation with Junior Achievement of New York, providing insight into why Junior Achievement programs have helped shape their futures. Mr. Allen stated, "JA [fills] a gap where the common education system falls short in schools. Educating us on everyday situations regarding budgeting and taxes while engaging us in programs like job shadows, teaching and specially designed financial workshops—this is where JA prospers."
The evening concluded with the formal presentation of the Champion Award. Upon presenting the award, Joseph Peri, President, Junior Achievement of New York, described Mr. Schwartz's longstanding involvement with Junior Achievement. "For many years, Spencer's inspired volunteer commitment to young people has been exemplary. He personally leads the Atlas Air team into the classroom and typically delivers the JA Our City program to 3rd grade students. Spencer's passion, leadership and dedication to JA are unwavering, and we are so very proud to honor him tonight," said Mr. Peri.
Platinum, Gold and Silver Sponsors of the event include: Atlas Air Worldwide, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Morgan Stanley, PwC, Sterling National Bank, Fosina Marketing Group, Frontier Communications, KPMG and Webster Bank.
All event proceeds will be used to recruit, train and deploy business and community volunteer mentor resources to deliver JA programs in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness programs to high-need schools and community organizations in New York City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley.