Chris Stevens teaches the basic principles of management to sophomores and a few juniors at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. But along with topics such as organizational behavior and management theory, the assistant teaching professor adds a twist: Each semester, his classes have to come up with a nonprofit organization or cause to support.
“The project is in keeping with the Mendoza mission to ‘Ask More of Business,’ or to utilize business as a force for good in the world,” said Stevens. “Business creates the wealth of the world, and business needs to do more to support those in need.”
For the spring semester, students researched a number of options and ultimately chose two efforts: the Logan Center and a 15-year-old victim of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The Logan Center is a local nonprofit that supports individuals of all ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Headquartered in South Bend, the organization provides a broad range of services and therapy. It also operates group homes in the surrounding communities, as well as autism learning centers in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and Granger, Indiana.
Students have set up a GoFundMe page for Logan Center. Some volunteer there, as well.
“We looked into this organization and saw all the good they were doing for the South Bend community through their support of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families,” said Nolan Adams, a sophomore finance major at Mendoza. “They are committed to spreading love around the community, and it seemed like a great cause to support.”
The other student team chose to support Anthony Borges, who was shot five times as he shielded classmates during the Feb. 14 mass shooting at his Parkland, Florida, high school. Currently hospitalized, Borges’ recovery is expected to be lengthy with substantial medical expenses. The team also set up a GoFundMe site for Borges.
“Right now, we are fundraising for Anthony, but we have gotten involved helping local businesses in the South Bend community,” said Ryan Kempin, also a sophomore finance major. “Just recently, we had a consulting project with many local South Bend businesses, including Real Services, which is one of the largest meal providers to seniors in need in the South Bend area.”
In addition to these projects, Stevens’ classes have provided a broad range of assistance to the community, including free consulting services for businesses and nonprofits. They also participate in service days where they provide mentorship and help with food distribution efforts – even taking meals to a local well-known developmentally disabled man “Daniel,” who regularly positions himself at a street corner just a few miles from campus.
“Professor Stevens showed us that we don't have to choose between a monetarily successful career and a fulfilling life of helping others,” said Kempin. “These two concepts are not mutually exclusive. We can marry the two if we have ethical and socially responsible business practices. Helping others is a massive step in the right direction to becoming better leaders, which is the end goal of our class.”
“I appreciate the fact that we do this in our management class, because it is a reminder that no matter what position we have, or where we are in the world, we have an obligation to help those that are less fortunate than us,” added Adams. “The only way to create a positive shift in the values of the top business leaders of the world is by instilling them in the minds of future business leaders before they are at the top, and that is what Professor Stevens is doing in his class.”
To contribute to the Logan Center fund, visit https://www.gofundme.com/NDLoganalliance.
To contribute to help with medical expenses for Anthony Borges, visit https://www.gofundme.com/NDforAnthony