In 1727 in colonial Philadelphia, a young Benjamin Franklin formed a group of twelve visionaries for the purpose of mutual improvement. They called themselves the “Junto,” which means together.

To be impactful, Franklin recognized that he needed help. He couldn’t do it alone, nor could he rely on large institutions; he realized crowds are rarely conducive to personal development. Indeed, he frequently fought to limit the number of members into the Junto.

He devised a plan to create a collaborative club to amplify his own dynamic abilities, far-reaching knowledge, and desire to innovate. Franklin’s intentional design of the Junto relied on discovery sessions and experiential interactions. The members shared knowledge and resources, and they favored a focused pursuit of truth over chaotic argument. The Junto helped to collectively direct intentions.


Over time, the collaborative efforts and ideals of the Junto spilled into the broader community. Today, America’s hospitals, public universities, volunteer firehouses, and even our public library system all trace their roots back to its initiatives.

Franklin’s forming of the Junto, developing trusted friends, was prophetic of his great future. The Junto changed the course of American life.

We can all benefit from Essential Services, based on Franklin’s vision of the Junto.

“Nothing in Franklin’s entire career is more significant than this founding of the Junto.”

— American Philosophical Society

To learn more about our adoption of the ideals of the Junto, see our Oath.




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