Gerald Chertavian is the Founder and CEO of Year Up, one of the nation’s largest youth workforce development programs. Chertavian was a successful technology entrepreneur and Wall Street banker, but it was through his many years as a Big Brother that he found his true calling. The young adults he met had immense talent, yet all too often they were stranded outside the economic mainstream. Chertavian saw that when given a fair chance, with challenging standards and high support, these young people could accomplish anything.
“I thought it was so wrong that the opportunities David had access to in life could be limited by things like his ZIP code, the color of his skin, the bank balance of his mother, or the school system he attended.”
In 2000, he dedicated his life and business expertise to closing the “Opportunity Divide”, and Year Up was born. Since then, Year Up has become one of the fastest growing non-profits in the nation and has been recognized by Fast Company and The Monitor Group as one of the top 25 organizations using business excellence to engineer social change.
In 2008, he was appointed by then-Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick to serve on the Massachusetts State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. In 2013, he was appointed by Governor Patrick to serve as chairman of the Roxbury Community College Board of Trustees and reappointed to that role by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in 2016. Gerald earned a B.A. in Economics, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, from Bowdoin College and in 2017 he was awarded the Bowdoin Common Good Award. He received his M.B.A., with honors, from Harvard Business School and in 2014 received the Distinguished Alumni Award. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative and a former member of the World Economic Forum’s Youth Unemployment Council. Gerald is also an Emeritus Trustee of both Bowdoin College and the Boston Foundation. His 2012 book, A Year Up, is a New York Times best seller.
Awards and Recognitions:
2002: Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40
2003: Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneurship Award
2005: Freedom House Archie R. Williams, Jr. Technology Award
2010: Honorary Doctorate from William James College
2012: Honorary Doctorate from Mount Ida College
2013: Jefferson Award for Outstanding Service by an Entrepreneur
2013: YouthJobs+ White House Champion of Change
2013: Top 25 Most Influential People in Boston Philanthropy
2016: Distinguished Alumni Award, Harvard Business School
2017: Bowdoin Common Good Award
2021: Glassdoor Employee’s Choice Top CEO at an SMB