Betty Capaldo '12

President (reitred),
Junior Achievement of Rhode Island

Award Profile

Courageous Thinking and Action
During her tenure as President for Junior Achievement of Rhode Island, Betty Capaldo served on numerous commissions and panels that directly aligned with the JA mission. In 1996, Governor Lincoln Almond selected her to serve on the Rhode Island Goals 2000 Panel. The Governor charged the panel, with active collaboration with the Board of Regents, to develop an action plan called the Comprehensive Education Strategy (CES). This critical policy document prepares all the state’s children to be lifelong learners, productive workers and responsible citizens. The panel’s work, with Betty’s contributions gained tremendous support from the governor and in 1997 the General Assembly enacted into law the Rhode Island Student Investment Initiative.

Vision & Innovation
Betty’s passion for youth education led the way for JA of Rhode Island to be recognized early-on as a leader in curriculum development at JA USA®. In 1987, education and community leaders approached JA to assist in helping reach Rhode Island’s at-risk youth populations with a workforce development program. With her teaching background, she designed and modified existing JA curricula to create a new pathway for student success. The program was highly successful in Rhode Island and it caught the attention of JA USA®. Betty was honored with the National JA Innovation Award. Today, JA Success Skills® is taught in high schools around the world in over 142 countries.

Inspiring Leadership
As the leader of the state’s largest business and education partnership, Betty worked tirelessly to advance the JA mission—to inspire and prepare young people to succeed. For nearly 30 years, she inspired community stakeholders, governors, university presidents, CEOs, foreign heads of state, JA staff and thousands of volunteers and donors to join with her to be an active force that believes in the boundless potential of Rhode Island’s young people through the JA mission. Through her leadership more than 180,000 students participated in Junior Achievement and experienced success.

Community Mindedness
Betty has been an active volunteer in the Rhode Island community for many years. She believes that giving back helps a community thrive. As a parent she was involved in her daughters’ PTA and extracurricular activities, and an active member of her church serving as a moderator, treasurer and has served as chairperson for numerous committees including pastoral search, Christmas bazaar, and finance. She was a dedicated board member and past president of the Community College of Rhode Island Foundation. She has a passion for singing and has been very active in local community choruses through the years. Most recently, she is a founding director and the immediate past president of the Chorus of East Providence. Additionally, she continues to volunteer for JA teaching second graders about the responsibilities and economic opportunities within a community.

JA Mission Moment
From the first moment Betty stepped in to a JA classroom, she fell in love with the JA program. Her first JA class was teaching eighth graders JA Project Business® at Aldrich Junior High school in 1980. She knows first-hand the impact JA volunteers make on a young person’s life and believes that success can be taught. Some of her proudest moments are when JA alumni - both students and volunteers - talk about their experience with the JA program and the impact the JA made in their lives.