IN THE NEWS: Calling all alumni of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario (Cambridge Today)

Calling all alumni of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario

JA alumni invited to participate in the creation of a ‘mosaic of stories’
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Junior Achievement South Western Ontario is reaching out to its alumni spanning six decades to collect and celebrate the stories of success, growth, and learning that have emerged from the JA experience. As the charitable organization commemorates 60 years with their Next 60 Starts Here celebration, JA seeks to highlight and celebrate the impact of JA experiences on the professional and personal development of its alumni.

JA has been a pillar of experiential learning in southwestern Ontario since 1963, nurturing skills and insights essential for students in the areas of financial health, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. The stories of JA alumni stand as a testament to the enduring influence of Junior Achievement, demonstrating the transformative power of hands-on learning.

“We encourage JA alumni in our region, regardless of the scale of your experience, to share your story to help inspire local students,” said Karen Gallant, president and CEO of JA South Western Ontario. “We’re filling out our Alumni yearbook with at least one story from each of the past 60 years, but in the end we want to hear from as many alumni as possible. You never know which story is going to connect with a student and motivate them to push through a challenge they’re facing.”

The Next 60 Starts Here alumni initiative aims to showcase the diverse array of experiences and achievements of JA alumni. This mosaic of stories exemplifies the profound impact JA has had on individuals, communities, and the business landscape.

To share a JA story and be a part of this celebration, please visit the website or call 519-439-4201.


Celebrating 2023 Laureates at the Hall of Fame Gala and Announcing 60th Anniversary “The Next 60 Starts Here” Celebration

At last night’s Gala Celebration at RBC Place London, distinguished Laureates Allan Drewlo, President of Drewlo Holdings, and Jill Wilcox, Owner of Jill’s Table were officially inducted into the London and District Business Hall of Fame, honoured for their outstanding contributions to business, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. While hosting the event, Junior Achievement South Western Ontario announced the launch of “The Next 60 Starts Here” – a $3.2 Million 60th Anniversary Campaign.

The London and District Business Hall of Fame Gala annually celebrates individuals who have made remarkable contributions to the London and District community through their commit

ment to ethical business practices. Allan Drewlo and Jill Wilcox have been selected as this year’s esteemed Laureates for their dedication to the world of business and philanthropy. Allan Drewlo has emerged as one of Southwestern Ontario’s foremost figures in the real estate development and property management indust

ry and Jill Wilcox has created a beloved destination for foodies, home cooks, and professional chefs as well as authoring food columns and six cookbooks.

The London and District Business Hall of Fame, established in 1990, serves as a crucial fundraising event for JA South Western Ontario. The event showcases the lives and accomplishments of these Laureates, inspiring the next generation of business leaders. These individuals will join a distinguished list of previous Laureates, whose portraits are displayed in the London and District Business Hall of Fame Gallery at the London Public Library in downtown London.

Nominations are now open for the 34th Annual London and District Business Hall of Fame Gala, which will be held on October 24th, 2024. Visit for more information.

In addition to celebrating the induction ceremony, Junior Achievement South Western Ontario announced its 60th Anniversary “The Next 60 Starts Here” Celebration.

For 60 years, JA South Western Ontario has been dedicated to equipping young people with essential skills in financial health, entrepreneurship, and work readiness, preparing them for the constantly evolving global economy. JA continues to provide relevant hands-on learning to support youth in gaining essential skills, combatting the cycle of poverty.

The anniversary campaign aims to secure $3.2 million in funding to enhance and expand JA South Western Ontario’s reach and impact. These funds will be allocated toward vital areas, including sustainability initiatives, enriching learning experiences, improving IT infrastructure, and expanding facilities.

Andy Spriet and his wife, Helen, have made a significant commitment to the campaign by donating 10% of the fundraising goal. Andy, a former board member of JA South Western Ontario and an inductee into the London and District Business Hall of Fame in 2002, stressed the importance of supporting the organization, saying, “JA is supporting the future of business by teaching future entrepreneurs the skills they need. As a lifelong entrepreneur myself, it’s important to support these efforts. Helen and I hope our gift will inspire everyone across South Western Ontario to help in whatever way they can.”

As part of the celebration, JA South Western Ontario is collecting Alumni stories, aiming to gather at least one story from each of the past 60 years. The organization invites alumni who have participated in JA programs to share their stories, highlighting how JA has helped them achieve their goals and where they are today. This initiative demonstrates the enduring impact of JA’s work in the community.

Karen Gallant, President and CEO of JA South Western Ontario, expressed her enthusiasm for the 60th Anniversary Celebration. “We are incredibly proud of our six decades of empowering youth in South Western Ontario. This celebration is a testament to the lasting impact we’ve had in the region, and we look forward to connecting with our Alumni and the community to build an even brighter future for the next generation.”

To learn more about JA South Western Ontario’s 60th Anniversary “The Next 60 Starts Here” Celebration and how you can get involved, please visit 

IN THE NEWS: Empowering Future Business Leaders The Junior Achievement Way (BizX Magazine)

Empowering Future Business Leaders The Junior Achievement Way By building abilities and nurturing self-belief, Junior Achievement prepares youth for the future of work, ensures they have the tools to be financially capable adults, and teaches them to think entrepreneurially. We explore the importance of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario (JASWO), and how this organization can give students the employment and entrepreneurship skills and mindsets they need to succeed.

A Change to Planned Giving Starts in 2024 

Introduction by 

Heather J. Scott, CFRE
Director, Philanthropy
JA South Western Ontario 

Since 2006, the capital gains on gifts of publicly traded securities to registered charities has been eliminated. Securities eligible are all securities listed on both Canadian and major international exchanges. This includes stocks, mutual funds and bonds, along with a variety of other products. The donation must be made as an ‘in kind’ transfer of the security itself directly to the charity rather than selling the security and gifting the cash proceeds.  

When you make a gift of securities to Junior Achievement South Western Ontario, you are providing financial learning experiences for children from Windsor to Tobermory to Fort Erie, a population of more than 500,000 elementary and high school students. With no government or United Way funding, we rely strictly on donations to provide the programming students rely on for financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. 

For yourself, you eliminate the capital gains tax you would pay if you sold the securities and donated the proceeds. Plus, you receive a charitable tax receipt for your donation. 

Making this donation is easy, but before you do so you should consult your professional team. Working with your financial planner, accountant and lawyer to ensure you have your entire estate picture in view is essential to making the right gift at the right time.  

Any one of these professionals is constantly following legislative changes, tax laws, to ensure your own personal circumstances align with your philanthropic wishes. 

For instance, The 2023 federal budget announced significant changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) system. As Susan Evel outlines below, these changes may affect a donor’s decision to donate a gift of securities after December 31, 2023. 


A Change to Planned Giving Starts in 2024 

By Susan Evel, BA, CFP® CLU, RIS
Owner and Principal
Edgewater Financial Products

Donors are a unique group of people. They are passionate, compassionate and generous. The impact they make is vast, and organizations rely on the support of generous donors to carry on their essential and life-changing work. So, when the Federal government gave notice that it was raising the Alternative Minimum Tax Rate (AMT) in 2024 from 15% to 20.5%, and changing the way donated shares are taxed, charitable organizations took notice. This change could significantly impact charitable contributions from donors who are impacted by the AMT.  Capital Gains Next Exit

While AMT rules don’t apply to charitable donations on death, and most high net-worth individuals have estate plans that include philanthropy, the changes will impact large lump sum donations donors make while living. If a donor has a large gift amount in mind, they will be better under the new regime to donate annually over multiple years, rather than one large lump sum. From a planning perspective, this could be very helpful to organizations, provided the donor continues the annual commitment, but as we know, circumstances change, and these amounts can’t necessarily be counted on. 

The Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) has noted that the pandemic greatly impacted donations and charitable giving has been declining generally over the years. So, it’s imperative donors are aware of the ways in which they can continue to assist, while still benefitting from a tax perspective. 

In the past, donating shares has been a great opportunity. The charity would receive the donation, while the donor received preferential tax treatment as the gains were tax exempt. However, as of 2024, the capital gains will be fully included in the AMT calculation. (It’s worth noting that in most cases, taxpayers subject to the AMT calculation can recover the additional tax paid over several years with proper tax planning). 

There is still a window of opportunity for donors considering a gift of shares. With 4 months remaining in 2023 it would be worthwhile for donors to make the donation prior to the end of the year before the rules change. Not only will they be helping the charity, but they will also receive the preferential tax treatment. All while making an impact.  

JA South Western Ontario is supported by Riverview Gaming Palace

Did you know?  Some of our ongoing support comes through funds raised at Riverview Gaming Centre in Chatham-Kent.  We’re so grateful to the centre and everyone who plays there for helping us to invest in the leaders of tomorrow.

Funds from Riverview have supported programs across all three JA pillars – financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Knowing that funding is there each month has been a huge help in bringing essential JA education to students in our community.

Thank you Riverview!

“Putting for Potential” Online Auction Open to All!

Support local students in Waterloo Region by shopping at our Online Auction, open until noon on October 19th.  We have a wide variety of items including fitness, activities, jewelry, experiences,  and gift certificates. Here are just a few:

  • Blue Jays tickets
  • Foundry Brewery – tasting and tour for 10 people
  • Framed reprints – AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones
  • Paradise Inn – 1 night stay, kayak and fat tire bike rental
  • Rebel Creek Golf Club– golf foursome
  • Westmount Golf & Country Club – Round of golf with Bill Fox for three people

IN THE NEWS: Libro Credit Union is first to invest in Junior Achievement amalgamated charter for greater impact on youth financial literacy

August 25, 2021 

SOUTHWESTERN, ONTARIO – Junior Achievement South Western Ontario received a $114,750 investment from Libro Credit Union, setting even more youth up for success with critical life skills that reduce the likelihood of living in debt and ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty.

By amalgamating with Junior Achievement (JA) Waterloo Region, Junior Achievement South Western Ontario now covers the full southwestern Ontario region. Libro Credit Union, a longtime supporter of JA, also serves the same geographic footprint and has partnered with the goal of enhancing delivery of financial literacy learning. The amalgamated charter was announced in a release earlier this summer.

“This support from Libro will provide essential JA education to students across our region,” said Karen Gallant, President and CEO of JA South Western Ontario. “We are thrilled to be working side by side with Libro to inspire the community builders of the future in the towns where they live.”

Libro’s investment will be directed over a two-year period to fund the delivery of 115 financial literacy programs (55 programs delivered in 2021 and 60 programs delivered in 2022) reaching approximately 2,875 students from Grade 4 to high school.

Financial Resilience and Employment are two of Libro’s key focus areas and some of the biggest challenges facing our region. Canadian youth need financial literacy now more than ever.

With the impact the global pandemic has had on our educational system, we can’t lose sight of the essential proactive education students still need. JA has been filling the gap for over six decades and will continue to work with educators and youth to build these critical life skills. The earlier students learn how to manage money, the greater their chances of lifelong financial success.

Recent announcements from the Ontario Government in 2020 and in 2021 indicate that the math curriculum will be upgraded for the first time in 16 years. This will include significant curriculum changes in Grade 9 and mandatory financial literacy learning in Grades 1 through 8, to build valuable money management skills.

JA programs have been supporting youth development in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship in Canada since 1955. The interactive hands-on experiential learning is age appropriate and engages students with digital tools, resources, relevant content and mentorship from JA trained volunteers.

“Libro has enjoyed a strong partnership with JA for over a decade,” said Shane Butcher, Regional Manager, London-Elgin-Oxford, Libro Credit Union. “We’re looking forward to working with Karen Gallant and continuing our common goal of improving the financial literacy of our youth and developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. Now we’ll have an even greater impact.”

Jordan Moat, Regional Manager, Waterloo, Libro Credit Union adds, “Libro and JA’s aligned values of improving financial literacy and resilience have helped to create an incredible partnership in support of our youth. We’re excited by their recent amalgamation and the synergy this will create amongst our two organizations across southwestern Ontario.”

Libro’s investment will also support the JA London and District Business Hall of Fame and the JA Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame galas, which celebrate local business leaders who have made a positive, lasting impact in their community. These are critical events for the JA community as they inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and provide connections between Laureates and future leaders.

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REGISTRATION IS OPEN! JA Putting for Potential Golf Tournament – Sept. 23rd

Registration is now open for our 29th Annual “Putting for Potential” Golf Tournament in Waterloo Region. Join us Thursday September 23rd at Rebel Creek Golf Club in Petersburg, ON!

Learn more.

IN THE NEWS: “Regional Junior Achievement Charters Merge” – London Inc. Magazine

Junior Achievement South Western Ontario and JA Waterloo Region amalgamate to form one chapter

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT SOUTH Western Ontario announced today that it has officially merged with Junior Achievement Waterloo Region to form one charter.

Formed in 1963 and 1970 respectively, the two organizations will now operate as the amalgamated charter Junior Achievement of South Western Ontario. The new charter’s geography includes the counties of Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford, Huron, Perth, Bruce, Grey, Wellington, Waterloo, Brant, Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara.

Regional Junior Achievement charters merge

JA South Western Ontario has joined with JA Waterloo Region to form one strong and dynamic charter

JA South Western Ontario has joined with JA Waterloo Region to form one strong and dynamic charter.

Formed in 1963 and 1970 respectively, the two organizations will now operate together as the amalgamated charter Junior Achievement of South Western Ontario. Our new geography includes the counties of Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford, Huron, Perth, Bruce, Grey, Wellington, Waterloo, Brant, Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Niagara

Some things will change…

The last year and a half has already brought about many changes.  Our two charters have been working closely together to deliver programs in a virtual format.  This has resulted in some spectacular innovations from our staff, volunteers, and students! This amalgamation allows us to continue building on the success of this partnership as we move forward. We will use our new structure to increase efficiency, share and implement new ideas, and build brand awareness with the ultimate goal of bringing essential JA education to more students.

Some things will stay the same…

JA will still be working locally in many ways. Funds raised in each region will stay within that region. Volunteers will be working directly with schools in their areas. Our three offices in Kitchener, London, and Chatham will be maintained with current staff. And our focus on reaching as many students as possible in each county and school board will remain our highest priority.

The effects of the global pandemic have made it even more clear how important the work of JA is to our local communities. Educating our students in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship will help keep them out of the cycle of poverty and prepared when crises arise. Connecting with youth today means inspiring the community builders of the future, which will be crucial in the years of economic recovery that may lie ahead.

We are so excited for the opportunities that will open up for our students thanks to this merger and look forward to growing JA in every city and town across our new region.


IN THE NEWS: “So You Want My Job: Non-Profit Executive” – London Inc. Magazine

Karen Gallant, the new CEO of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario, chats about working to make a difference, the digital transformation and her short-lived accountant aspirations.

KAREN GALLANT IS the new CEO of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario, replacing Bev Robinson, who retired after running the London organization for nearly 15 years. Prior to taking the role in May, Gallant was a vice-president with Junior Achievement Canada.

JA Waterloo Region 50th Anniversary Campaign raises $170,451!

Kitchener, ON, July 5th, 2021 – After a nine-month celebration and fundraising campaign, Junior Achievement of Waterloo Region has raised over 170% of their original campaign goal with a total of $170,451.


“We’re thrilled to see the community recognize the importance of Junior Achievement and the essential proactive education it brings to our students,” said Murray Flanagan, JA Waterloo Region Board Chair and 50th Campaign Committee Chair.  “This support will go a long way to helping youth prepare for their financial futures, pursuing necessary education along the way, and staying out of the cycle of poverty.”


Since forming on September 22nd, 1970, JA Waterloo Region has provided 50 years of cost-free programming in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship to students in Grades 3-12.  In 2020, with the help of community volunteers, JA quickly pivoted to deliver programs in an online interactive format to ensure that no student missed this important training due to the global pandemic.


In the 2020-21 school year, JA Waterloo Region reached over 6400 students through a variety of virtual programs.  Several programs ran in partnership with JA South Western Ontario, which provided exciting new collaboration and innovation opportunities to students and volunteers across the broader region.


“This outpouring of support through our campaign allows the innovation to continue,” said Karen Gallant, recently appointed President and CEO of JA Waterloo Region and JA South Western Ontario. “Keep an eye out for some exciting new growth in programming in the region over the next few years.”


Gallant wished to thank the members of the campaign committee Murray Flanagan, Ian Cook, and Darrin Snider, as well as retiring Interim President and CEO Bev Robinson for their hard work in bringing this campaign to fruition. She added, “It was wonderful seeing the stories coming in from JA Alumni and volunteers sharing the lasting impact JA has made on their lives.  It really highlighted the importance of this work and how it ultimately lifts our community as a whole.”