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After another loss, JA plans for recovery

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After three years of financial losses, plus turmoil among its leaders, Junior Achievement of Central Indiana unveiled a recovery plan at its annual meeting Thursday that includes a fundraiser led by Myra Borshoff Cook, head of the state's largest public relations firm.

"Individually and collectively, we can polish up this brand and make it stronger than ever," Cook said during a pep talk for the board of directors. Cook, principal of Indianapolis-based Borshoff, is leading a fundraising committee of business leaders whom Junior Achievement has recognized with its Hall of Fame awards.

CEO Jennifer Burk said the extra fundraising, plus a host of other efforts, will put the organization in the black for the 2011 fiscal year, which ends June 30. "We just are digging out of a hole and we've made progress in doing that, but it's been a rough spell," she said.

JA is counting on personal donations from each member of its board of directors to land a major challenge grant from an anonymous donor. Burk declined to disclose the amount of that grant. She said 70 percent of the board already has made commitments.

The new board chairman is Harry Danz, a partner with That's Good HR.

The overall fundraising effort may get a boost with the hiring of a full-time development officer, Alyssa Krachon, who came from JA of Chicago.

The 2010 fiscal year that ended June 30 was the third consecutive year in the red for JA. It reported a deficit of $389,000. That was smaller than the prior year's gap of $540,000. Burk said the 2009 deficit was mitigated by multi-year sponsorships, for which revenue was counted in one year.

The not-for-profit ended 2008 with a $396,000 deficit, according to its federal income statement for that year.

Burk said the 2011 budget is still in development. The prior year's budget was about $2 million.

Junior Achievement has financed its losses with a $1 million line of credit, which Old National Bank recently agreed to convert to a term loan. Another financial liability was the organization's guarantee of $6.2 million in real estate debt for the headquarters building at 7435 N. Keystone Ave. The Experiential Learning and Entrepreneurship Foundation, which owns the building and supported JA operations, has released JA from that guarantee.

The annual meeting on Thursday took place inside BizTown, the simulator that fifth-graders visit after six weeks of classroom work. BizTown continues to be JA's biggest draw, with more than 10,000 of the roughly 17,500 children who took part in JA programs last year spending a day in BizTown's brightly colored storefronts, offices and city hall.

Burk, a former Duke Realty executive who was a longtime JA board member, became CEO on July 1, 2009, after Jeffrey Miller retired in 2008. The organization's financial struggles came to light late last year, after the Central Indiana Community Foundation stopped payment on a grant for construction of an addition to the JA building.

CICF's Glick Fund ultimately pulled back the grant because it was being processed by the Experiential Learning and Entrepreneurship Foundation. Miller, who led both JA and the foundation, is pursuing defamation lawsuits against JA, Burk, CICF and its president, Brian Payne.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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