Affinity Plus Foundation supports Junior Achievement to help strengthen financial literacy programming across Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN (December 7, 2016) — A famous saying suggests people should “think globally and act locally”, as a way to connect day to day life with world issues.

Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (JAUM) has a similar idea – to educate young people locally about personal and business finance, to inspire and prepare them for life in a complex global community.

Because of that decades-long commitment, the Affinity Plus Foundation again has provided funding and expertise to JAUM so Minnesota students can participate in its innovative financial-literacy programming.

“Junior Achievement wonderfully demonstrates how to make financial literacy come alive for young people,” said Amy Hanson, foundation executive director. “Their diverse programming gives students the knowledge, tools and experience to succeed wherever they begin in life, and wherever they may desire to go.”


JAUM, with headquarters in Maplewood, Minn., serves K-12 students and connects teachers to a variety of curriculum options related to personal finance, college and career readiness and entrepreneurship.

President and CEO Gina Blayney said JAUM will reach about 162,500 students in grades K-12 during the 2016-2017 school year with financial literacy, college and career readiness, and entrepreneurship education.

Program options include a variety of in-classroom presentations and hands-on programs held at JAUM’s headquarters, including the unique JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. Students also have opportunities for site-based job shadows, business-planning experiences and summer camps.

Throughout their experiences, Blayney said students have opportunities to learn about:

  • managing checking accounts;
  • balancing personal and household budgets;
  • making personal-finance decisions related to housing, transportation, food costs and healthcare;
  • running a business;
  • evaluating longer-term investment options.

“These types of learning opportunities are so beneficial for students and it’s a great foundation for becoming financially sound adults,” said Matt Thyne, Affinity Plus member advisor and financial educator.


Much of JAUM’S work is carried out by more than 9,000 volunteers, mostly business professionals, who share skills and experience to motivate and inspire students. Those volunteers include Affinity Plus staff, Blayney said.

“I love being a part of these experiences with students,” said Teri Schertz, Affinity Plus investment center coordinator and financial educator. She noted how engaging the BizTown and Finance Park programs are.

“Students are learning without realizing they’re learning,” she said. “It’s such a valuable thing for students to be able to know how to operate in the real world, and learn how to handle financial mistakes or challenges.”

Blayney said the Affinity Plus Foundation reflects “in a very real, dynamic way” the generosity JAUM counts on when helping students develop financial literacy, career readiness and entrepreneurship skills.

“we could not do this work without the spirit, skills and experience we get from affinity plus employees and the affinity plus foundation,” she said.

About The Affinity Plus Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Affinity Plus Foundation is a 501(c)(3) serving Minnesota communities. The Foundation proudly administers its own scholarship program, awards grants to non-profit groups and schools, and supports financial education initiatives through partnerships, presentations and resources. The Foundation operates on funds generated from its annual golf and fishing tournaments; annual silent auction; from Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union; and from generous donations from community members who believe in and support financial education.

About JAUM

JAUM has been serving students in Minnesota, Western Wisconsin and North Dakota since 1949. JAUM was mentioned recently in a Star Tribune article as a leader in providing financial-literacy programming to Minnesota students. More information is available at


Amy Hanson
Executive Director
Direct Dial: (651) 312-9684

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