Harvard club donates money to nonprofits

In downtown Concord, at a recent party flush with crimson sweaters and hats, volunteer teachers, graduating students and representatives from local charities gathered to celebrate the completion of another successful year of the Management Development Program run by the Harvard Business School Club of Charlotte, and to hear what charities would win a portion of the program's $51,000 tuition surplus.

The winners?

"Everyone involved," Juergen Seybold, president of the club, said. "We are all winners tonight. Our students win by learning to become better leaders. As teachers, we win by keeping our minds focused and skills sharp. And our local nonprofits - the people who truly make a difference in our community - win ... support for their efforts."

This year's tuition surplus - students' tuition money left over after the programs expenses are reimbursed - was donated to crisis-intervention centers in the Charlotte region: Goodwill Industries, the Urban Ministry Center, the Cooperative Christian Ministry, Thompson Child & Family Focus, the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter, Pat's Place, Crisis Assistance Ministry, the Charlotte Rescue Mission, Catherine's House and A Child's Place.

"In a country as rich as this one, food, clothing and a place to stay shouldn't be a problem," Seybold said.

E.J. Underwood of the Charlotte Rescue Mission said, "After 20 years of only having 12 beds for abused women and their children, we're opening a 120-bed facility this year. The Harvard Business School Club, he added, "has donated annually toward making that dream a reality."

Jack Burke, an HBS alumnus and director of the Management Development Program, thanked the charities: "We are honored by your presence and your work."

The $51,000 was a record annual total for the club. It brought the club's charitable contributions to $250,000 total over the nine years they've taught the course.

The course is described as a "mini" masters of business taught by volunteers, local alumni of Harvard's MBA program. Using Harvard's famous case-study method, the one-night-per-week, 13-week course has attracted students from the executive ranks of more than 50 companies in the region, including Bank of America, Wachovia, Duke Energy, Microsoft and TIAA-CREF.

It was a night Harvard could be proud of. Lessons had been taught, educations were enriched, and many in the Charlotte region who weren't at the party will benefit from this course this coming year, in the form of a bed to sleep in and food to eat. Those are profits that can't be quantified by mere numbers, even by Harvard MBAs.