In 2016, JA of Central PA meged into JA of South Central PA. Basically doubling the number of counties and school districts in our market. At that time JA of Central PA was reaching about 16,000 students and JA of South Central PA was reaching 54,000. The question became what do you do? Do you stay conservative in their area, and hope that eventually things will pick up? Or do you build it?
Our view was that the conservative approach had been used for nearly 60 years. With the small impact it was hard to get financial support to grow. With incremental growth it would take decades to catch up with York and Dauphin counties.
We believed that scale was necessary to get the communities attention and interest. So we embarked in 2016 on a massive expansion of programs. In 2015, a little over 10,000 students were reached in Lancaster County. In 2016 we grew that number to 16,000 and then to 19,000 in 2017. This year, the number will be nearly 26,000 students. That's 40% of the students in K to 12 public and private schools in Lancaster County. (up from 16%)
I would say we built it! In three years we accomplished our goal of positioning JA as relevant in the work readiness space. Now the question was going to be .... "will they come?"
From a financial investment standpoint we raised the funding being put into programs in Lancaster County from $300,000 to $500,000. Unfortunately, we have not seen an increase in business support to match the expense. In fact, funding has remained relatively flat. This year we are about $200,000 underfunded. Clearly an unsustainable level.
Without your support, Junior Achievement is going to be forced to reduce program outreach in the county due to lack of funding. Preliminary program cancellations have been prepared to reduce programs by nearly 6,000 students. This represents only about half the shortfall.
Your company can make a huge difference today. A financial commitment will help save Junior Achievement programs for Lancaster County students. All of your funds will remain in Lancaster County.
There are a number of ways you can support Junior Achievement: specific program support, sponsorship of Lancaster special events, or simple general Lancaster campaign support.