Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (JAUM) announced a campaign to move the organization’s headquarters from Maplewood to the more centrally located Midway neighborhood in St. Paul. The Let’s Build campaign will enable JAUM to double the number of students served by its on-site experiential programs from 17,000 to 34,000. The campaign will also grow the Junior Achievement Foundation of the Upper Midwest, providing the organization with funding to meet new demands for program expansion, operating needs, technology upgrades and the ability to continue providing our programs to local schools at little or no cost. JAUM has purchased an existing building at 1745 University Ave W. in St. Paul, which will be redesigned and refurbished to meet its specific needs. The building — named the Junior Achievement James R. and Patricia Hemak Experiential Learning Center — will house three premier learning labs: JAUM’s existing JA BizTown and JA Finance Park programs and the first-of-its-kind JA Innovation Incubator.
Students will have access to state-of-the-art technology, including a digital business start-up platform, and the opportunity to learn from local entrepreneurs. “Junior Achievement plays a vital role in the education of Saint Paul students,” said Mayor Coleman. “By bringing relevance to learning, helping to address the opportunity gap, and preparing kids for future success, Junior Achievement’s mission reflects the City of Saint Paul’s commitment to ensuring that all children have the tools they need to be successful both in and out of school. I am honored to welcome Junior Achievement to the City of Saint Paul.” The campaign is led by a $4 million gift by retail industry entrepreneur Jim Hemak and his wife Pat, along with more than $1 million donated by the JAUM Board of Directors. The campaign has received support from businesses and city leaders in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. Students from throughout the metro area, as well as from Greater Minnesota, will benefit from the programs housed in the new facility. The urban location and proximity to light-rail and bus transportation make the new facility more convenient for students during in-school and after-school programs.
To date, more than $11 million of the total $20 million has been raised by private donations. The campaign, now in the public phase, will continue to accept gifts of any amount. Gifts can be made in support of the building or directed to the foundation. There are also limited opportunities for sponsorship of the various shops that comprise the two learning labs (JA BizTown and JA Finance Park). “As we’ve experienced continued growth in our on-site programs, we needed to find a larger home that was more convenient to schools and students. We were fortunate to find a central location that can accommodate our needs and future growth,” said Gina Blayney, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest President & CEO.
To learn more about the Let’s Build campaign, or to make a secure online donation, visit letsbuild.jaum.org.