Type of Work: Community Outreach Initiative
Client: Junior Achievement USA\
KPMG has a strategic focus on supporting education and its relationship with Junior Achievement USA is an important part of that strategy.
KPMG professionals have donated more than 15,000 hours in the past year, and the firm and its employees contributed nearly $700,000 through corporate philanthropy and fundraising. KMPG has been involved with the organization since 1989, and has 50 professionals that serve on the JA board nationwide.
It’s something that’s really core to what KPMG is all about as a firm, says Suzanne Townsen, Partner and Chair of KPMG’s Women’s Advisory Board. “We believe it provides innovative, hands-on work readiness, financial literacy education, and that really aligns with what we believe is important at KPMG,” Townsen says. “We’re really committed to building a sustainable and diverse talent pool for tomorrow’s work force.”
KPMG volunteers work with students enrolled in JA’s various programs, including JA Finance Park and Biz Town.
“We’re very much a purpose-driven organization. We want our people to everyday think about the value we bring to society, not just the markets, but it’s important for us to be connected and committed to our communities,” Townsen says. “As a Big 4 accounting firm, we see ourselves as stewards of the markets and our people are really focused on working with organizations that provide them purpose and meaning, so JA is a perfect partner organization for us.”
As part of KPMG’s and the KPMG Foundation’s ongoing commitment to workforce readiness, and through funding from the Foundation, KPMG recently expanded its affiliation with JA to include the redevelopment of JA Finance Park. Established in 2013, JA Finance Park is one of JA’s most successful programs with more than 1 million students across the United States having completed this hands-on curriculum, Townsen says.
The program provides middle and high school students with a 13-lesson personal finance curriculum delivered by their teacher. Following the classroom work, students travel to a JA Finance Park location—in some cases virtually—where their new money-management skills are put to the test with the assistance of their teachers and KPMG volunteers.
To enhance the JA Finance Park experience, KPMG recently introduced a redeveloped digital curriculum and accompanying technology for the program. The new digital curriculum and custom software allows students to engage in real-world financial activities such as online banking and paying bills via tablet PCs, while learning about concepts like insurance, credit and long-term investments.
By supporting JA in the redevelopment of their curriculum, KPMG is helping to better prepare students for financial success through technology they’ve become accustomed to using on a daily basis. “It gives our people a way to go in and effect change and help children in traditionally underserved areas, and that’s powerful,” Townsen says. “JA’s such a great organization and we’re so proud to be aligned with it.”
KPMG is dedicated to ensuring that all students have the tools they need to be financially literate and make smart budgeting and saving decisions, says Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA.
“While the redeveloped JA Finance Park cirriculum has only been in use for a year, we already have heard wonderful feedback from the students, volunteers and teachers who love using the tablets,” Kosakowski says. “Integrating technology into our programs allows the students to learn in a 21st century environment, making learning fun and more relevant to them. We are thrilled to receive this gift from KPMG on behalf of America’s students.”