JSA Now! Newsletter
Junior Statesmen Foundation Donate Now!
Volume II, Number 2 - February 8, 2010

A Busy Month for Active and Engaged JSA Students

Upcoming Events

Winter Congress

Washington, D.C.

Feb. 26-28, 2010

March 10-14, 2010
Midwest, Ohio River Valley, Southeast
(Rescheduled from Feb. due to snow)

Long Beach, CA
Feb. 13-14, 2010

Dallas, TX
Feb. 20-21, 2010

Portland, OR
Feb. 20-21, 2010
Pacific Northwest

Dave Viotti
JSA teams up to
empower youth and
listen to what
they have to say

Giving Youth a Voice

DAVE VIOTTI: JSA is launching the first statewide California Youth Summit in Los Angeles in April in partnership with the Endowment for California Leadership, California Youth and Government (YMCA), and the Chicano Youth Leadership Project. Two-hundred-fifty student leaders from these organizations will identify the major concerns facing California's youth and propose policy recommendations. In July, JSA will also host the California Leadership Institute at Stanford, which will provide training on state and local government and issue advocacy. A big part of our mission is to teach young people how to make government work for them and their communities. We hope this collaborative project will give youth a greater voice during a critical year in California. Our students have designed a California Youth Poll, which you can view here: emcresearch.com/youthpoll.

Spencer Gottlieb
JSA Alum, David Cole
encourages you to donate
and make every penny count

Leverage Your Donation with a Matching Gift

BY DAVID COLE: Alumni and friends know the important work of JSA: training the leaders of tomorrow and educating high school students on the importance of democracy. If you went to a JSA summer school, you know how transformative the experience was for you and you probably knew at least one kid whose time at summer school meant the difference between going to college or ending their education at high school.

It's important that JSA continue and grow. That is why I would like to share with you a story about a way that you can maximize your giving to JSA through your employee's giving program.

Like me, I suspect that your first foray into supporting a community group wasn't the help you provided JSA - I had raised funds for the American Red Cross while still in elementary school and the Boys Club of America (now the Boys and Girls Clubs of America) while in junior high.

Nor was JSA the last non-profit in which I was involved: two years after graduating high school I helped launch a not-for-profit magazine about California journalism that was called feed/back. I spent almost a decade editing and managing that magazine but in many ways, what I remember most was the fund-raising (or, as my colleagues said at the time, "fun-raising").

We held annual parties that had a little food, a hefty door charge and what many in journalism call the worst phrase in the English language: a no-host bar.

I was reminded of one of these events recently when somebody slipped me an article that David Cay Johnston-- late of the New York Times-- wrote back in 2008 about donating to non-profit organizations.

I remember now, close to 30 years later, Johnston in his white suit and hat making the pitch to donate to feed/back to a roomful of jaded journos: First, donate to the magazine; second, leverage those donations.

Johnston's theory is that most who work for corporations can make the dollar they send to a non-profit go pretty far. As he points out, the dollar, in fact, is more like 80 cents, because of the breaks you get on both federal and state income taxes.

But if you or your spouse work for a corporation, there is probably a donation-matching program available. Further, there may be other community foundations in your area that will match what you and your company put in, increasing the total donation even more.

In Johnston's 2008 article, he says that he pledged $1400 a year for 20 years to a non-profit group called the Investigative Reporters and Editors. "After tax," he wrote, "the cost was just $70 a month." His company's foundation matched his donation at 1½ times, making the total $3500. A second foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, then matched that total 50 cents on the dollar.

Johnston's out-of-pocket $840 a year ended up representing $5,250 for his charity. In recent years though he has continued his $1400 pledge, the Times cut back its matching to dollar-for-dollar (further, he no longer works for the Times) and in 2011 the Knight Foundation will be ending its matching pledge to IRE, so the total leverage of his gift has gone down.

But still.

Unfortunately, feed/back died an untimely death in 1986, so I won't be arm-twisting you to make a donation there. But JSA needs your support as much today as any time in its existence.

Please take some time to investigate whether there is a gift-matching program where you or your spouse work (and if there are programs at both, give as a couple and use both matching programs).

If there is, please write a check to JSA and make sure your employer knows about your giving, so that your dollars can be leveraged as much as possible. And if enough of you do it, I won't be forced to don a white suit and fedora (a sight none of us want to see) at the next JSA fund-raiser.  

Donate NowHelp promote democracy

How Can I Help JSA?

Annually, thousands of JSA alumni and friends donate their time, talent, and treasure to support the program. Please contact Matthew Randazzo, Chief Growth Strategy Officer, if you wish to volunteer, reconnect with the program, or make a gift to JSA. mrandazzo@jsa.org or 800.317.9338. Read More

Justice O'Connor
Despite heavy snowfall,
JSA students still make
it to the Supreme Court
to hear O'Connor speak.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Speaks at NE Winter Congress

BY JUSTIN FLETCHER, NE STUDENT: Two-hundred and twenty Northeast JSAers traveled to the chamber of the Supreme Court on Friday, February 5, 2010, during the NE Winter Congress to hear a speech from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Long-time summer school faculty member, Dr. Jim Todd, was central in getting Justice O'Connor to speak to the students. She spoke about her history on the Court, the evolution of the Court, and students' responsibilities to teach others about how government works, specifically to educate the youth.

A focus of Justice O'Connor's speech dealt with her desire to educate the youth of America on how government functions. She recently established www.ourcourts.org, a website that contains games, simulations, and other opportunities for the youth, mostly middle-school age, to learn about the nature of government. As she concluded her speech, she expressed hope that the Junior Statesmen would serve as her "ambassadors." She hopes the Northeast JSAers will spread her message about the saliency of youth awareness about government to others. Read More

Dan Hoffmann
Summer school helped one
student revive his chapter
and become active in the
Junior State of America

From "Argument Club" to an Official Fundraising JSA Chapter

SUMMER SCHOOL HELPS ANOTHER JSA STUDENT: Last school year, the Tamalpais High School JSA chapter in Northern California took a vote on a name change. They didn't understand why the club was called Junior Statesmen of America and thought "Argument Club" was a more accurate reflection of what they did. Then about a year ago, its chapter president, Adam Berman, found out about the JSA summer school at Georgetown. While attending the first session of Georgetown over the summer, he learned all about JSA and the national organization. He brought back the excitement he gained at summer school to revitalize his chapter and, has become the Northern California State's director of debate.

Now an official JSA chapter, the Tamalpais High School JSA is conducting a fundraiser to raise money for scholarships to get more students to attend Spring State in April. They are auctioning a membership to the Bay Club Marin, normally a $750 value after being on a long waiting list. The students will take the best offer on the membership in order to get as many students as possible to Spring State. If you would like more information, click here to contact Adam Berman.

Karen Prosser
Updates about JSA
alumni from Karen Prosser
Are you an alum?
Send in Your Updates

Karen's Corner

BY KAREN PROSSER: Congratulations Mike! Mike McCurry, (Chair of the Board of the Junior Statesmen Foundation, JSA Governor 1971-72, and 1970 Junior Statesmen Summer School alumnus) who served in the Clinton White House as Press Secretary, is replacing Paul Kirk as the Democratic Representative on the Commission for Presidential Debates.

McCurry is particularly focused on using the internet for future debates. He wants to "encourage young people to actually participate, give us ideas and talk about how the web could make the presidential debates in 2012 more accessible to you."

Kudos to JSA SoCal Program Director, Tracy Poindexter, for putting on a phenomenally successful alumni event: Public Communication Bootcamp with Richard Greene. On the dais with Greene was JSA alumnus Stefan Weitz, Director of Bing Search for Microsoft. Stefan was active in the JSA program in the Pacific Northwest.

Congratulations Joe! I hope, dear reader, that you saw the New York Times article last Sunday on California Sen. Joe Simitian, titled, A Practiced Politician Who Doesn't Look It. Sen. Simitian, an emeritus member of The Junior Statesmen Foundation Board of Trustees, was JSA State Speaker 1969-70. He's a rumored candidate for the U.S. Congress. JSA alumni have been all over the media lately with rave reviews of their new books.

Greil Marcus, (JSA Governor 1962/63) is a widely published author, music journalist and cultural critic who has edited a book titled, A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press Reference Library). "Greil Marcus," one critic has written, "is simply peerless; not only as a rock writer but as a cultural historian."

Ethan Watters is the author of Crazy like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche. Before that he authored Urban Tribes , an examination of the mores of affluent "never marrieds" and coauthored Making Monsters, a groundbreaking indictment of the recovered memory movement. A frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men's Journal, Details, Wired, and PRI's This American Life, he has appeared on such national media as Good Morning America, Talk of the Nation, and CNN. He is a co-founder of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, a cooperative writing workspace. Ethan is a JSA Alumnus from Chico, CA and a Junior Statesmen Summer School grad.

I'm off to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and American Samoa next week to recruit U.S. territory students to the states for JSA Summer School scholarship program. This is the 19th year of our partnership with Interior to bring outstanding territorial students to the States to participate in The Junior Statesmen Summer School. Seventeen hundred territorial students have graduated from our Summer Schools. In the Interior office in American Samoa, the woman helping me with my recruitment visit is Tapuitea McMullin. Tapu attended the Summer School session at Stanford University in 2002.

Mindy Montford, JSA Texas alumna and Summer School grad, is running for district judge in Travis County, Texas. She graduated from Westwood High School and received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas. Montford started her legal career as an assistant district attorney in Harris County, Texas. In 1999, Montford accepted a position with the Travis County District Attorney's Office where she served as a prosecutor.

If you'd like to share an update for the next issue of Karen's Corner, send your news to Karen at kprosser@jsa.org

JSA Poll
This month's poll asks
a question that has been
around about as long as
democracy has been.

This Month's JSA Poll

YES OR NO: Should voters be required to pass a civic literacy test? 

Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo recently sparked controversy in his speech at the National Tea Party Convention calling for a civic literacy test for voters. Supporters view a civic literacy test as a necessary check against the uninformed impulses of the masses. Critics view a civic literacy test for voters as undemocratic and discriminatory.

What do you say? Answer Now

--This month's newsletter by: Dave Viotti, David Cole, Jeff Dunn, Alanna Lee, Karen Prosser