Year Up and Gerald Chertavian

"I really feel that this is about the students, staff, volunteers, and corporate partners of Year Up. We have more than 320 staff across the country with 10,000 young people, 1,000 volunteers, and hundreds of corporate partners all of whom come together to create and provide mobility in order to close the opportunity gap for our urban youth."

- Gerald Chertavian

Year Up LogoGerald Chertavian is dedicated to closing the Opportunity Divide that exists in our nation. Determined to make his vision a reality, Gerald combined his entrepreneurial skills and his passion for working with urban young adults to found Year Up in 2000.

Year Up is a one-year, intensive training program that provides low-income young adults, ages 18 to 24, with a combination of hands-on skill development, college credits, and corporate internships. The Year Up program emphasizes academic and professional rigor, setting high expectations for quality of work and professional behavior. A strong structure guides students through the steps necessary for achieving success in the classroom and the workplace.

For the first six months of the program, students develop technical and professional skills in the classroom. Students then apply those skills during the second six months on an internship at one of Year Up's 250+ corporate and government partners. Students earn up to 23 college credits and a weekly stipend, and are supported by staff advisers, professional mentors, dedicated social services staff, and a powerful network of community-based partners. Since its founding in 2000, Year Up has served more than 6,000 young adults, and it currently has sites in Atlanta, Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, New York, Providence, Puget Sound (Seattle), Baltimore, Miami and Washington, D.C.

With its annual operating budget of $61 million, Year Up is one of the fastest growing nonprofits in the nation. It has been recognized by Fast Company and The Monitor Group as one of the top 25 organizations using business excellence to engineer social change. Year Up has also been named one of the nation's top 50 non-profits to work for by The Nonprofit Times.

Gerald Chertavian PhotoGerald's commitment to working with urban youth spans more than 25 years. He has actively participated in the Big Brother mentoring program since 1985 and was recognized as one of New York's outstanding Big Brothers in 1989. He is the recipient of the 2003 Social Entrepreneurship Award by the Manhattan Institute and the 2005 Freedom House Archie R. Williams, Jr. Technology Award. In 2006, Gerald was elected as a fellow with the Ashoka Global Fellowship of social entrepreneurs, and in 2008, he was appointed by Massachusetts' Governor Deval Patrick to serve on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Gerald began his career on Wall Street as an officer of the Chemical Banking Corporation. Following graduate school he co-founded Conduit Communications and fostered its growth to more than $20 million in annual revenues and more than 130 employees in London, Amsterdam, New York, and Boston. From 1993 to 1998, Conduit ranked as one of the U.K.'s fastest growing companies. Following the sale of Conduit to i-Cube in 1999, Gerald turned his full attention to opportunities for others.

Gerald earned a B.A. in Economics, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, from Bowdoin College and an M.B.A., with honors, from Harvard Business School. He has received honorary doctorates from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and Mount Ida College. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, a former Board member of The Boston Foundation and an Emeritus Trustee of Bowdoin College. His 2012 book, A Year Up, was a New York Times best-seller. Gerald; his wife, Kate; and their three children live in Cambridge.

For more information about Year Up visit their website at

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