Michael Gursha


Twitter: @mgursh

Profession: Entrepreneur-in-Residence @NewhouseSU

Location: Syracuse and New York City

What is your early memory of philanthropy?

An early memory was hearing about both my grandfathers and their commitment to give their time to organizations that they really cared about. The importance of giving back was something I heard repeatedly over the years.

Higher education is a priority for your philanthropy. Tell us about your commitment.

Syracuse University has been a large and meaningful part of my life. It really set the foundation for who I am and my career thus far, so I feel a very special connection to it. One of the reasons I took the entrepreneur-in-residence role at the Newhouse School was to give back to a place that gave me so much. My role at Newhouse is to help students, faculty and staff understand what entrepreneurship is about and translate it into real value. I’m doing everything from mentoring students one-on-one, lecturing in classes across campus, to working with faculty and researchers on a variety of other initiatives. Entrepreneurship is all about problem solving and creating value, which is an essential part of anything you will do in life. I think it is so important to share my experience so students can have every extra advantage as they pursue their dreams.

You mentioned a passion for tech. How do you give back to the field?

One example of giving back to the technology field is my involvement with New York on Tech, a non-profit focused on preparing the next generation of technology leaders emerging from New York City. We are committed to developing, mentoring and providing support to students interested in the field of technology who might not otherwise have access to those types of programs. New York On Tech is building an amazing organization that is filling a gap in technology education. My role as an Advisory Board Member is to help with strategy and growing the organization. What initially drew me to them is their mission and the two co-founders, who are extremely passionate about their cause and motivated to make a difference.

Who inspires you to give?

It really stems from my family and how I was raised by my parents. Kindness was always present and giving was just an extension of that. It has been something I’ve understood since I was a child. Both my mom and dad are great role models.

What would you do to encourage others to give?

It’s all about finding something you really care about. I am motivated by other people’s passion to change the world. There is no greater feeling than helping someone with a vision to do great things.  I would encourage others to find an organization and people who they really believe in, and get behind them in any way you can. It is definitely not just about money, it is about time, which is the most valuable thing you can give. By giving your time, you can make a significant impact.

 


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About

Julia Levy, Founder, has a decade of development experience, including working for a philanthropist, a small nonprofit and now a large nonprofit. She has raised significant dollars for numerous causes, from education to religion and from donors of all ages. Julia holds a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Julia has taught fundraising workshops, most recently at Brooklyn Brainery and coached development professionals.


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Why We Give tells stories of ordinary philanthropists, making a difference, dollar by dollar and hour by hour.  

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