Help turn dreams into reality – a message from JA Alum Stephen McCabe
However, it was in high school, during the JA Company Program in 2012, that my JA experience took on a whole new level. I pitched the idea of duct tape wallets to my company, which later evolved into duct tape book bags. Despite facing unexpected challenges during production, our team remained undeterred and eventually pivoted to creative and custom phone cases, aligning with a trend of the time. This experience taught me invaluable lessons in leadership, adaptability, and the importance of a unified vision.
Fast forward to today, and I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Northern Devs, a successful venture dedicated to helping startups and small-medium businesses build apps and websites. Additionally, I serve as a startup and product coach, sharing my expertise with an incubator in Brampton. Most recently, I’m excited to be launching QuickCasa, an AI platform designed to qualify leads for leasing agents in residential leasing.
When reflecting on my journey, I attribute much of my success to the solid foundation laid by JA. From selling energy drinks in high school to leading tech startups, JA instilled in me a deep understanding of business fundamentals and the critical importance of teamwork and adaptability.
Offering advice to high school students, I emphasize two key takeaways: ask questions and just try it. As I’ve come to realize, “Not knowing is never a problem; not learning is always a problem.” I wish I had taken more chances and embraced unique experiences, like the invaluable opportunities provided by programs such as JA.
As JA South Western Ontario celebrates the achievements of countless individuals with their “The Next 60 Starts Here” 60thAnniversary celebration, I invite you to join me in supporting their mission. Your generous contribution enables JA to continue empowering young minds, fostering entrepreneurship, and building a foundation for future leaders.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation before the year concludes by visiting jaswo.org/60startshere. Your support ensures that more students have the chance to experience the transformative power of JA programs and, like me, turn their dreams into reality.
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year.
IN THE NEWS: Geddes Family Foundation Fuels the Future with a Generous Donation to Junior Achievement South Western Ontario
The Geddes Family Foundation, administered through the London Community Foundation, announces a substantial donation to Junior Achievement South Western Ontario (JASWO) in support of the charity’s “The Next 60 Starts Here” 60th Anniversary campaign. Established in 2018, the Geddes Family Foundation is dedicated to supporting education and health initiatives
Brad Geddes, President & CEO ZucoraHome, has a long history with Junior Achievement South Western Ontario. Having served in various leadership roles, including Chair and Past Chair, and recognized as a Director Emeritus, Brad’s connection with JA dates back to 1972-1976 as a student in the Company Program in Brantford, Ontario.
Brad’s JA experience ignited his entrepreneurial spirit, leading to the establishment of multiple successful businesses. He provides invaluable advice to aspiring high school entrepreneurs, emphasizing the importance of finance, law, and a voracious reading habit.
In response to the Geddes Family Foundation’s donation, Karen Gallant, President and CEO of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario, expressed gratitude, stating, “This support allows us to expand our programs, reaching more students and empowering them with essential life skills. We are deeply grateful for the Geddes family’s commitment to fostering the next generation of leaders through relevant hands-on learning.”
“London Community Foundation is proud to facilitate the Geddes Family Foundation’s significant multi-year commitment that will further Junior Achievement’s vital mission,” said Diane Silva, Director of Philanthropy, London Community Foundation. “We applaud the Geddes family for investing in fostering the leadership and entrepreneurial skills of young people who are essential for building strong and thriving communities now and for generations to come.”
The Geddes Family Foundation’s donation comes at a critical time, as JA South Western Ontario celebrates 60 years with a goal to ensure every child is inspired by a JA experience. To learn more and be a part of the celebration, please visit jaswo.org/60startshere or call 519-439-4201.
IN THE NEWS: Calling all alumni of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario (Cambridge Today)
Calling all alumni of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario
JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT SOUTH WESTERN ONTARIO
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 jaswo.org/LBHF 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 jaswo.org/60startshere
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
Heather J. Scott, CFRE
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.
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.
Self-Efficacy: A Critical Skill for Workers Now and in the Future
I’ve spent a lot of my career focused on talent development – either as a people leader, helping companies attract and retain talent, or – most recently – providing opportunities for youth to figure out what they want to do and how they can get there.
As part of this work, I love to stay abreast of trends related to the “future of work”.
In May 2023, the World Economic Forum released the Future of Jobs Report 2023. There was lots of interesting information (and fuel for future blogs!) but I was struck by what was identified as the most important skills for workers in 2023, and how well JA learning experiences help youth develop those skills.
According to the Future of Jobs report, the top two skills for workers in 2023 are analytical and creative thinking skills. The most important skills all relate to self-efficacy: resilience, flexibility and agility; motivation and self-awareness; and curiosity and lifelong learning.
Albert Bandura and Icek Ajzen pioneered the idea of self-efficacy: that people who believe they will succeed are more likely than others to actually succeed. (You can read more about self-efficacy in Asheesh Advani’s 2017 post here).
In Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, Bandura suggested four ways to increase self-efficacy:
- Mastering skills through hands-on experience
- Observing others with self-efficacy achieve success
- Hearing that others believe in one’s ability to succeed
- Rerouting negative thoughts into positive ones
Through JA’s immersive, hands-on learning experiences, students have an opportunity to master skills – everything from budgeting to starting a business – which is one of the most important ways to develop self-efficacy. I love to see when a student has an “a-ha” moment or shares the sense of satisfaction they’ve achieved by overcoming an obstacle. Those are the signs they’re developing self-efficacy…a vital skill for now and in the future.
As leaders, you may have seen your staff exhibit signs of self-efficacy (probably a lot during the pandemic, but hopefully you’re still seeing them on a regular basis). How do you help them develop those attitudes and behaviours on a regular basis?
Over the coming months, we’ll be posting regular blogs about JA’s three pillars: financial health, work readiness and entrepreneurship. We hope you’ll learn something or be inspired to share our vision of a world in which young people have the skillset and mindset to create thriving communities.
President and CEO
JA South Western Ontario
Systems Upgrade Underway
Starting the week of June 26th, JA South Western Ontario will be transitioning to a new database system in order to better serve our mission. We anticipate our new system being fully operational August 1st, but in the meantime there may be a few gaps in our ability to send out external communications about our programs and initiatives. You can stay up to date with the latest news on our website and through our social media. And of course, please reach out to us anytime with questions. You can find our team members here: jaswo.org/about-us/staff-board/.
IN THE NEWS: Honouring tech leadership – Joseph Fung and Sandvine founders inducted into Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame (Communitech)
Honouring tech leadership
Joseph Fung and Sandvine founders inducted into Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame
The Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame has honoured six influential founders who have contributed significantly to the tech ecosystem over the past three decades.
This year’s inductees – known as “laureates” – include the five co-founders of Sandvine and serial entrepreneur Joseph Fung.
The six tech leaders were honoured this week by Junior Achievement of South Western Ontario, which has sponsored the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame awards since 2015.
The Hall of Fame “celebrates local business founders who have made a positive, lasting impact in our community,” according to Junior Achievement.
This year’s laureates have demonstrated “incredible vision” and “strong leadership” within multiple organizations, said Karen Gallant, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of South Western Ontario. Moreover, “a common thread for all of the inductees was their mentorship of others within the community – helping to raise those within and outside of their organizations to success.”
Ontario Trillium Foundation recognizes Financial Literacy work done by JA South Western Ontario for local high school students
Kitchener, ON – May 3rd. At the virtual JA Personal Finance Event, Junior Achievement South Western Ontario was pleased to recognize a $151,600 Grow grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to expand the reach of their financial literacy programs to high school students in Waterloo Region and Wellington.
“JA South Western Ontario offers programs that help young people develop skills and knowledge to support their financial independence and enhance their economic wellbeing. It is encouraging to see this Grow grant was able to support the successful development and delivery of its Personal Finance programs for high school students. Congratulations on the receipt of this grant and your continued success!” said Catherine Fife, MPP for Waterloo.
JA South Western Ontario received the Grow grant in 2020 to support the expansion of its Personal Finance programs, which help high school students develop skills such as budgeting, saving, investing, and understanding credit. These skills are essential for navigating the complex financial landscape of today’s world and building a strong financial foundation for the future. With support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, JA South Western Ontario has been able to expand the reach of these essential programs significantly, and has helped 1,875 youth throughout Waterloo and Wellington achieve greater financial independence.
“This grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will have a substantial impact on the future of local students and our community,” said Karen Gallant, President and CEO of JA South Western Ontario. “Ensuring our young people are prepared with tools for financial health will help keep them out of the cycle of debt and allow them to contribute back to society in a meaningful way.”
JA South Western Ontario is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Their work bridges the gap between education and the real world by delivering specialized programs both in school and after school in the areas of financial health, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. For more information about JA South Western Ontario, please visit their website at www.jaswo.org.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grantmaking in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit otf.ca to learn more.
JA Announces 2023 Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductees
Junior Achievement (JA) South Western Ontario is excited to announce this year’s inductees into the 2023 Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.
This year’s Hall of Fame will honour Don Bowman, Dave Caputo, Tom Donnelly, Marc Morin, and Brad Siim co-founders of Sandvine, as well as Joseph Fung, founder of TribeHR, Kiite and Uvaro.
All six inductees will be honoured at the 11th Annual Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Gala on May 31st, 2023 at Bingemans Conference Centre.
The Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame supports the work of JA South Western Ontario, which provides local students with relevant hands-on learning in financial health, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. It was created to honour exceptional entrepreneurs in Waterloo Region’s business community, past and present, for their outstanding contributions to business, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
This signature gala event showcases the entrepreneurial journey of the inductees, allowing attendees to learn about their achievements and how they have developed and nurtured their legacies. The 2023 Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductees will be joining a distinguished group of well-known business leaders, including Carl Dare (Dare Foods), Joseph Seagram (Seagram and Sons Limited), Alan Quarry (Quarry), Carol Leaman (Axonify) and many others. For a full listing please visit https://jaswo.org/ehof.
“We’re very excited to celebrate this year’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductees. Waterloo Region has a long history of entrepreneurship, and this year’s class of inductees reinforces this. Many of the inductees have founded multiple companies, inspiring other entrepreneurs and creating a legacy for our community as a result” said Karen Gallant, President & CEO of JA South Western Ontario. “To highlight and celebrate their collective achievements and impact is inspiring.”
Tickets to the event are $1,200 for a corporate table or $150 per ticket for individuals. For tickets and sponsorship information, visit https://jaswo.org/ehof/.