JA History :: Our Story
August 1916 - The Eastern States Agricultural and Industrial Exposition in Springfield, Mass. hosts a conference of 300 agricultural and business leaders. The goal of their meeting is to work on the general advancement of activities for boys and girls. Several committees, including the Boys’ and Girls’ Bureau, are formed to raise funds for implementing solutions.
1919 - Despite World War I, the Boys’ and Girls’ Bureau, headed by Theodore N. Vail, president of AT&T, moves ahead. Its 22 committee members raise a $250,000 and hire Mr. O. H. Benson who previously worked to establish 4-H clubs in Ohio.
February 27, 1920 - The committee changes its name to the Junior Achievement Bureau.
October 1920 - Horace A. Moses, president of the Strathmore Paper Company, becomes chairman of the Junior Achievement Bureau. He goes onto serve in this capacity for 27 years. Along with pledging money to the Junior Achievement Bureau, he builds the Achievement Hall in Springfield, Mass. to serve as a central institution for all Achievement Club activities in the Northeastern states.
1925 - 1927 – Horace Moses again heads up a major fund drive by pledging $100,000. The Bureau determines that local foundations will be created in cities or counties where conditions warrant, and will be autonomous and independent. Most of the actual work with boys and girls is to be done through these local foundations, supported by local funds
Horace Moses, President of Strathmore Paper Co. and Co-Founder of Junior Achievement
"The future of our country depends upon making every individual fully realize the obligations and responsibilities belonging to citizenship. Habits are formed in youth what we need in this country now is to teach the growing generations to realize that thrift and economy, coupled with industry, are necessary now as they were in past generations."
- Theodore Vail, president of
1928 - Moses and his board directs headquarters’ staff to study what changes are needed to accelerate enrollment and to keep youth interested and excited about the program. The study shows that 8-to-12-year-old students are too young for the Achievement Program, and recommends a broader appeal for 16- to 21-year-old students. It also determines that the program be centered in metropolitan centers. The new program is to be called Junior Achievement Companies.
While Junior Achievement was started in 1919, its first official home was not ready until 1925. The original JA headquarters building was located in Springfield, MA.
Read the book Junior Achievement: A History by Joe Francomano and Wayne & Darryl Lavitt to learn more about the history of Junior Achievement.