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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. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

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