Adam Smith’s Non-Profit
Gerald Chertavian is the CEO and Founder of Year Up, a non-profit organization that provides intensive professional education to urban young adults. His organization was recently recognized by Fast Company and The Monitor Group as one of the top 25 organizations in the nation using business excellence to engineer social change. Prior to starting Year Up, Chertavian co-founded Conduit Communications and served as the head of marketing at Transnational Financial Services in London. He has been an active member of the Big Brother mentoring program since 1985, and was awarded New York’s outstanding member in 1989. He was also awarded the 2003 Social Entrepreneurship Award by the Manhattan Institute and the 2005 Freedom House Archie R. Williams, Jr. Technology Award. A graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Business School, Chertavian was born and raised in Lowell, MA.
Question: Is the sense of social responsibility increasing among your colleagues?
Gerald Chertavian: When I was at Harvard Business School back in 1990, there were probably eight people in the non-profit club. And I think we were looked at slightly askance by the folks because it wasn't the venture capital club or the finance club. Now today on campus, the largest single club at Harvard Business School is the social enterprise club. So in 20 years, or less than that, you have had a shift in something pretty fundamental in this country around, I think, young people wanting to take more responsibility for those around them, seeing the responsibility slightly more broadly defined than just motivated self-interest, and getting involved. So we have so many more young folks in our colleges, in our grad schools today, mentoring our students, volunteering, getting involved in service movements like AmeriCorps and Vista.
So I think the pendulum is certainly swinging to a direction where many young people are taking more responsibility for those around them and realizing that's not at odds with, you know, good old motivated self-interest and free-market capitalism. And in fact, you know, we all remember that Adam Smith wrote a book called The Wealth of Nations and talked about free markets and capitalism and why they were good ultimately for our society. He also wrote another book. He was talking about the theory of moral essentials. And what he said is, you can have a free market, and it's going to work best, but at the same time, at some point you have to realize that just getting more and more and more is actually not in society's best interest. So even Adam Smith, as our free-market economist would say, there's a concept of being responsible for others and wrote a book about that equally. I think we don't remember. He actually wrote a few books. One of them talked about moral essentials and the dangers of just seeing an accretive process without any sense of what's enough, or any sense of distribution that I have the opportunity how to help others. You know, that's equally part of keeping a very strong and well-functioning capitalist society in check.
Question: Is the rise in people heading into non-profits sustainable?
Gerald Chertavian: Certainly many, many more grad schools are offering loan forgiveness or a loan reduction for those going into the nonprofit sector, and I do think with the rise of social entrepreneurship, the rise of non-profits, hiring better and better people, growing more quickly, we are attracting incredible talent into this sector. And the reality is, people are getting paid more and more, so the gap between the nonprofit and private sector is shrinking. And certainly in the last ten years it's shrinking from when I started back in 2000. The other way I think about the pendulum is, I'm not a huge proponent of handouts, so I have not seen, with people who are able-bodied and able-minded, where handouts are producing good outcomes. And a sense of entitlement is a very destructive sentiment. And if you ever want to play the victim, you're not going to get ahead.
So when I think about that pendulum, there's a lot of personal accountability that has to be invested in any nonprofit organization, I think, that is serving someone who is able-bodied and able-minded. I mean, there are needs for charitable acts, or needs for handouts for someone who really cannot provide for themselves or has slipped to a place where they literally cannot take care of themselves. But that's not a majority, I think, of what we're trying to do here, especially at Year Up. We believe you've got to combine deep personal accountability -- taking charge of yourself, not saying woe is me, but saying I want a chance; I want an opportunity. I mean, America needs to be an opportunity society. And so the young adults we serve want an opportunity. They do not want a handout; they want a hand up. And so my belief is that pendulum, in terms of maybe reaching out and supporting others, also has to be balanced by a healthy dose of personal accountability for those being helped. And without which I don't think the system will ever work well.
Recorded on: October 29, 2009
Though the father of modern capitalism is generally associated with the virtues of self-interest, he also possessed a deep moral concern for our responsibility to help others. According to the founder of Year Up, this second aspect of the free market system is finally taking hold, and its effects on society will be momentous.
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A tourist generally has an eye for the things that have become almost invisible to the resident.
A large new study puts caffeine-drinking moms on alert.
- Neuroregulating caffeine easily crosses the placental barrier.
- A study finds that the brains of children born to mothers who consumed coffee during pregnancy are different.
- The observed differences may be associated with behavioral issues.
A large study of nine- and ten-year-old brains<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY3NzIyOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDk5MjQ0N30.UCu1Ygfi_rmO-xLpW-KOgCX-MJ3bfqjzfIVg4Kmcr9w/img.jpg?width=980" id="d2e15" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c96aa86f8dbe08aa8536502ac1769497" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: myboys.me/Adobe Stock<p>For the study, its authors analyzed brain scans of 9,000 nine and ten-year-olds. Based on their mothers' recollections of their coffee consumption during pregnancy, the researchers found that children of coffee drinkers had clear changes in the manner in which white brain matter tracks were organized. These are the pathways that interconnect brain regions.</p><p>According to Foxe, "These are sort of small effects, and it's not causing horrendous psychiatric conditions, but it is causing minimal but noticeable behavioral issues that should make us consider long-term effects of caffeine intake during pregnancy."</p><p>Christensen says that what makes this finding noteworthy is that "we have a biological pathway that looks different when you consume caffeine through pregnancy."</p><p>Of children with such pathway differences, Christensen says, "Previous studies have shown that children perform differently on IQ tests, or they have different psychopathology, but that could also be related to demographics, so it's hard to parse that out until you have something like a biomarker. This gives us a place to start future research to try to learn exactly when the change is occurring in the brain."</p><p>The study doesn't claim to have determined exactly <em>when</em> during development these changes occur, or if caffeine has more of an effect during one trimester or another.</p><p>Foxe cautions, "It is important to point out this is a retrospective study. We are relying on mothers to remember how much caffeine they took in while they were pregnant."</p><p>So as if being pregnant wasn't difficult enough, it sounds like the most conservative and safe course of action for expectant mothers is to forgo those revitalizing cups of Joe and switch to decaf or some other uncaffeinated form of liquid comfort. We apologize on behalf of science.</p>
A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.
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- The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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Can playing video games really curb the risk of depression? Experts weigh in.
- A new study published by a UCL researcher has demonstrated how different types of screen time can positively (or negatively) influence young people's mental health.
- Young boys who played video games daily had lower depression scores at age 14 compared to those who played less than once per month or never.
- The study also noted that more frequent video game use was consistently associated with fewer depressive symptoms in boys with lower physical activity, but not in those with high physical activity levels.
How do video games and social media impact young kids?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY3NDY2Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjM5OTQwMn0.FUGlBVN0uGa9jYXpbSjHssFpcdJGcpM-hsA8vJb1mJc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C488%2C0%2C111&height=700" id="d4200" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6a1be92721c981f409d8c9efb574fe45" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="two kids sitting on the couch playing video games together" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
The study gained interesting insight into the link between depression rates at age 14 and video game usage a few years earlier.
Credit: Pixel-Shot on Adobe Stock<p>The study's lead author, Ph.D. student Aaron Kandola, explains to <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/ucl-bwp021721.php" target="_blank">Eurekalert</a>: "Screens allow us to engage in a wide range of activities. Guidelines and recommendations about screen time should be based on our understanding of how these different activities might influence mental health and whether that influence is meaningful."</p><p><strong>How this study was conducted: </strong></p><ul><li>These findings come as part of the Millennium Cohort Study, where over 11,000 (n = 11,341) adolescents were surveyed. </li><li>Depressive symptoms were measured with a Moods and Feelings Questionnaire (age 14). </li><li>"Exposures" were listed as the frequency of video games, social media, and internet usage (age 11). </li><li>Physical activity was also accounted for on a self-reporting basis. </li></ul><p><strong>When comparing young boys (age 11) who played video games to those who don't, the study showed interesting results: </strong></p><ul><li>Boys who played video games <strong>daily</strong> had 24.3 percent lower depression scores at age 14 (compared to those who played less than once per month or never). </li><li>Boys who played video games <strong>at least once per week</strong> had 25.1 percent lower depression scores at age 14 (compared to those who played less than once per month or never). </li><li>BOoys who played video games <strong>at least once per month</strong> had 31.2 percent lower depression scored at age 14 (compared to those who played less than once per month or never). </li></ul><p><strong>When comparing how depression impacted young girls based on their social media usage, the researchers found that:</strong></p><ul><li>Compared with less than once per month/never social media usage, using social media most days at age 11 was associated with a 13% higher depression score at age 14. </li></ul>