ACLI Capital Challenge + Junior Achievement = Success

Mar 4, 2022

[IMPACT+: This series features IMPACT posts that take a longer look at vital topics.]

On May 12, the nation’s leaders will gather once again in Washington, D.C. for the ACLI Capital Challenge road race, which supports Junior Achievement USA (JA USA).

ACLI is proud to partner with Junior Achievement. And this year there is a special reason to be proud.

Junior Achievement Worldwide (JAW) has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. JAW is the global organization representing over 340 local offices in 115 countries. All Junior Achievement chapters share the same noble mission of expanding economic opportunity and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit of our youth. 

To be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is an incredible honor. The criteria is reserved for those people and organizations that “have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Junior Achievement definitely embodies the principle that teaching kids how to fish ensures they can fish for a lifetime. What greater empowerment benefit to mankind!

As a former JA’er, participating while still in junior high school, I can attest that Junior Achievement and its cadre of exceptional volunteers, community partners and innovative programming are committed to fostering a winning mentality in young people. JA provides structured opportunities for many kids in the phase of life when they are leaving adolescence and entering their teen years. That’s when kids – are stretching their intellectual muscle to the fullest and figuring out their place in the community and in the world. Their minds are nimble and their future possibilities are endless. Many parents will tell you this is such a critical period where proper influences and good choices can help set a child on a successful lifepath permanently.

I am proud to be one of the millions of Junior Achievement alums who had the opportunity to learn lifelong financial management lessons that also fuel an entrepreneurial mindset. According to an alumni survey, 3 in 4 report JA played an important role in choosing their career path, and 88% report that they are satisfied with their careers. Of course, there are other influences and factors, and I had many at home and in my community that led to my choice to become an attorney—blessed to enjoy a successful career with several iterations. The JA factor is a success multiplier—and JA USA is actively teeing up our youth for successful outcomes in rural, urban and suburban classrooms across the nation — in over 100 chapters reaching over 2.5 million students per year.

JA truly is empowering the next generation of leaders as its research shows that its alums are more likely to have a college degree, feel confident about managing money, have career success and have started a business as an adult. We know that the lack of financial preparedness and know-how stymies individual and community economic growth and creates barriers to intergenerational wealth transfer.  As the great sage and poet laureate Maya Angelou is often paraphrased as saying “…when you know better you can do better….”  It’s clear and simple that Junior Achievement USA and Junior Achievement Worldwide help ensure that millions of our young people learn to do better for a lifetime.

All entry fees from the 40th running of the Capital Challenge 3-mile closed-course race will benefit JA USA. That means runners and walkers from Capitol Hill, the Biden Administration, the judicial branch and the press will be contributing to JA’s important mission. We’ll also be joined by American marathon recordholder Keira D’Amato. We hope you can join us on May 12 for a great run and a great cause. Registration is available at this link.

Kimberly Ross

Kimberly Ross was Senior Vice President, Federal Relations at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). She oversaw ACLI’s federal advocacy on financial services, tax, retirement, income security and DEI issues. Before joining ACLI in December 2020, she served 20 years on the Hill most recently as Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel to Rep. Joyce Beatty.