April 07, 2006

Kevin McCardle with SJC exectutive director Rhona MeisterLOS ANGELES - Right from the beginning, Prof. Kevin McCardle was impressed with the way the St. Joseph Center (SJC) in Venice went about its business.

SJC provides a range of social and educational programs to poor and homeless families and individuals in West Los Angeles. But after becoming familiar with them via a fundraiser at his children’s school, McCardle not only saw an organization doing much needed work, he saw an organization doing good work and doing it well. “It’s an organization of compassionate people doing great work that goes unrewarded,” McCardle told the Daily Bruin.

“They put a lot of thought into what they were doing,” says McCardle. “They know what they have to give away and they optimize the way they do it.” He cited the center-run Bread and Roses Café, which serves hot meals to homeless persons. The café not only serves the meals, it requires reservations. The reservations enable the staff to then ensure that each diner is taking advantage of other services the center offers or governmental services for which the other person is entitled.

Since that chance introduction in 1999, McCardle has become deeply involved with SJC. He serves as an ambassador, introducing those in his personal and professional circle to the center. He’s served meals at the café and distributed bags of groceries at the pantry. He sits on St. Joseph’s Board of Directors and chairs its audit committee. He’s recruited his faculty colleagues; Prof. Steven Lippman is also on the audit committee and Senior Lecturer/retired Senior Associate Dean Bill Broesamle (who once directed placement services at UCLA Anderson) assists elderly individuals with counseling and job placement. He’s inspired faculty to give monetarily as well.

As a result of all of these efforts (and others too numerous to list), McCardle is one of four recipients of the Anne C. Rosenfield Distinguished Community Partnership Prize. He received the award alongside Susan B. Edelstein (UCLA TIES for Adoption), Michael Prelip (UCLA School of Public Health) and Concepcion Valadez (UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Science). The Rosenfield Prize honors UCLA faculty and staff whose partnerships with community organizations have made a positive difference in the lives of Southern Californians. Four cash awards of $25,000 are made to recognize collaborations of UCLA and community partners that “epitomize the spirit of UCLA in LA.”

McCardle’s work at SJC has not only impacted the center, but the center has impacted his professional work.

After noticing that some of the center’s legal expenses were handled pro bono by a prominent, local law firm, he wondered whether accountants and auditors provide similar services without charge to charitable organizations. The answer he got was “no,” an answer confirmed for him by members of the accounting faculty at Anderson.

He also wondered whether or not members of his own profession – operations research and management science (OR/MS) provide no cost services to charities. The answer was “not much, and certainly not a matter of stated policy.”

“I think of myself as a professional,” McCardle said. “The work we do is professional work.” And with that in mind, McCardle believes that he and others in operation research and management science should “behave like professionals” and do pro bono work as lawyers and physicians do.

McCardle jokes about using lawyers as examples of professional behavior, but he’s serious about the issue. “Attorneys do an enormous amount of pro bono work. The law firm that serves St. Joseph Center has logged $750,000 in attorney time donated. Physicians see indigent patients for free or volunteer at places like the Venice Family Clinic.”

“I believe business school faculty ought to do pro bono work, too.”

To that end, McCardle penned an editorial for OR/MS Today.  In it, he concluded, “by adopting the stance of professionals who take seriously their role in public life INFORMS (The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the largest professional society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research) would help shake the nerdy image we currently have and show that ‘the science of better’ involves not just better for corporations, but better for the public good.”

Visit the St. Joseph Center Web site.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world.  Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment.

The mission of UCLA Anderson School of Management is to be a global leader in management education, research and service. Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs. UCLA Anderson alumni number more than 34,000 graduates around the world dedicated to continued networking, professional development and educational activities.

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