Junior Achievement of Mississippi Dissolved

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

Junior Achievement of Mississippi was dissolved by its board Wednesday because of financial problems created by a large debt on its building and decreasing financial contributions.
The board voted to liquidate all of the organization’s assets, said board chairman David Barrentine. He said the organization intends to operate in its current capacity through Dec. 15 to wrap up the school programs it has already begun.
JA of Mississippi is a nonprofit affiliated with JA Worldwide, which draws volunteers from the business community to teach economics to eighth-graders and seniors. In Lee County, the organization serves about 800 students at Tupelo Middle School, Saltillo High School and Mooreville High School.
Len Blanton, chairman of JA of Mississippi’s Tupelo Advisory Board, said last week that the Tupelo board is negotiating with the national office to continue buying materials and teaching JA on a local level. Blanton could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.
The organization has encountered financial difficulties for several years because of the debt it owes on its building in Jackson. Those difficulties were compounded when corporate donations decreased significantly during the current economic downturn. President and Chief Executive Officer Scherry Gilliland said last week that some companies decreased their donations by 40 or 50 percent.
Besides paying for the building and its upkeep, the organization’s largest expense is purchasing instructional materials from JA Worldwide. The decrease in funding came during a year the organization expanded by more than 80 percent to reach 10,100 students statewide.
The organization largely relied on private donations.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at chris.kieffer@djournal.com.