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Local Junior Achievement program receives grant to grow opportunities for entrepreneurship

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Achievement Foundation awards more than half a million dollars in grants to Junior Achievement offices to expand the JA Company Program.

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Alee'a Ulsh-Cherry has been hired to expand JA Company programming throughout West and Mid-Michigan

Alee'a Ulsh-Cherry has been hired to expand JA Company programming throughout West and Mid-Michigan /Tatelyn Crane

Junior Achievement of The Michigan Great Lakes has received a grant from The Achievement Foundation. The Achievement Foundation has announced the awarding of Hugh B. Sweeny Jr. Grants totaling $585,000 over two years to Junior Achievement offices in 13 communities across the country. The grants will support the expansion of the JA Company Program®, JA's premier entrepreneurship education initiative, which offers teens the chance to start and run student-led businesses. Each JA office will receive a $25,000 grant for the first year, with a second year grant of $20,000. Grants will be used for the hiring of a staff member whose time is dedicated to the growth of the JA Company Program in that community.

Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes has used the grant to hire Alee’a Ulsh-Cherry. “The Company Program is more than just students starting a business; it brings out their strengths while creating opportunities for them to grow as individuals and as leaders. It’s something that every high school student should experience whether or not they decide to pursue entrepreneurship,” says Ulsh-Cherry.  

One event that Ulsh-Cherry is planning is a Shark Tank style “pitch night” where high school students in Junior Achievement programs can bring their entrepreneurial ideas to be judged by local business owners. This event will take place on April 22, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. to be held at the John G. Russell Leadership Center.

"Entrepreneurship is critical to the long-term well-being of our nation," said Gregg Hampshire, Director of Education. "We greatly appreciate the Achievement Foundation's investment in helping our young people discover what it means to be an entrepreneur."

The Hugh B. Sweeny Jr. award is named after Hugh B. "Jim," Sweeny, Jr. who served Junior Achievement for more than 32 years, including many years as National Program Director. During his tenure, Mr. Sweeny managed and expanded the National Junior Achievers Conference from 60 participants in 1948 to more than 3,000 delegates in 1977. 


About Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes, Inc.

Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes is the nation’s 23rd largest JA chapter and an area office of JA USA, the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. The organization offers programs to help prepare young people in Mid, West, and North Michigan for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action and are empowered to own their economic success. Visit for more information.

About the Achievement Foundation

The Achievement Foundation, Inc. was formed almost 60 years ago to receive grants, gifts, and bequests for the giving of financial aid for charitable, scientific or educational programs to groups or clubs of boys and girls for the purpose of encouraging them in productive enterprises. The Foundation is exempt from income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, it is exempt from state and federal income taxes on income related to its tax-exempt purpose and contributions to the Foundation are deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes. The Foundation has had a long-standing (albeit non-exclusive) relationship with Junior Achievement through contributions and providing loans to local JA areas in need of financial assistance. Over the past few years, the Foundation has broadened its programs and activities to include grants.  


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