Changing Lives Near and Far

Changing Lives Near and Far

Alumnus Launches Nonprofit to Boost Community Service

November 2015  |  Online Exclusives, Profiles

“The World is Falling Apart.” These are the first words that greet you when visiting the home page for Art of Men, a nonprofit founded by proud Baruch alumnus Arthur Gurwitz (MBA ’77). But while its lead sentence may sound pessimistic at first glance, Art of Men is focused on putting the world back together, by having men and women change their communities in a real, tangible way.

“Statistics show that 75% of community volunteers are women,” Gurwitz explains. “For some reason, there is a psychological aspect at play here: Men want to help in their communities, but they don’t know how. And that’s what Art of Men solves, enabling guys to take that first step toward service and to put their own skills, experience, and expertise to good use.”

Originally aimed toward men over the age of 50 (but now inclusive of men and women of all ages) Art of Men uses a comprehensive database to notify users of service projects right in their neighborhoods, and they match volunteers to projects based on their skills and interests.

“Let’s say you’re a carpenter,” Gurwitz says. “More likely than not, we’ll find out that the church right around the corner from you needs your help. We literally have hundreds of projects in our database, and most people don’t realize there’s such a glaring need for service right around the corner from where they live.”

Art of Men is simple and convenient, providing an easy way for people to get involved in community service.

“The hope is that after you participate, you want to do it again and again until it becomes part of your existence,” Gurwitz notes. “Some people have offered to donate money to our organization, and that’s great, but we really don’t want that. We want your time and effort – getting people off their butts to make a tangible impact.”

By day, Gurwitz serves as chief operating officer at Proskauer Rose LLP, overseeing the law firm’s worldwide operations. He credits his MBA from Baruch, including class with the legendary Professor Abraham Briloff (’37, MSEd ’41), with helping him achieve his success.

Gurwitz’s interest in community service, though, jumped to the forefront about five years ago on one fateful night spent with about a dozen of his friends.

“We were chatting about a variety of things,” he recalls. “What I found is that a lot of them were either dissatisfied, still searching for fulfillment, or flat-out unhappy. And this was a group of people that was successful by every standard, so this sat with me for a while. What was going on, and how could we fix this?”

Art of Men has been a rousing success and held its largest service project–the Everybody Eats campaignthis past July, providing meals to 3,500 New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs. The program garnered major media attention, including a feature on NY1.

Gurwitz will expand Art of Men throughout the United States in 2016 and eventually expand internationally. He also hopes that his fellow alumni—and the entire Baruch community—will join him in making a difference.

“At the end of the day, two things are going to happen,” he says. “Somebody else’s life will be better because of what you did to help them, and you will feel better about yourself. It’s a win-win.”

—Gregory M. Leporati



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