Profiled Youth Leader
"This Is Not About Charity"
Selected excerpts from an August 21, 2000 article in Forbes magazine
written originally by Ann Marsh
At age 17 she (Anna Ouroumian) arrived alone in the U.S. Five years later
she graduated at the top of her class at UCLA and detoured into philanthropy;
one day she aims to get a Harvard M.B.A. and pursue a career in business.
Ouroumian runs the nonprofit Academy of Business Leadership (ABL), a tiny
charity that drills into kids the notion that they can create their own
wealth. "I tell you guys, I know I'm going to be very rich one day." she
exults, throwing her arms out wide. "Maybe someday we can do business
Over a seven-week summer session, the youngsters break into groups and
write 50-page business plans for their dream companiesŠ They visit Los
Angeles companies and hear success stories from executives who came from
nothing, and those who came from privilegeŠ Some get mentors and internships.
ABL was formed in 1992 by an executive at Southern California Edison and
in 1998 Anna Ouroumian was hired to revive the tiny charity (full time
staff: three). It had run up a $40,000 defecit, and even its own board
worried it wouldn't survive. Since then she has doubled annual fundraising
to $700,000, tripled student enrollment to 329 and added a year-round
mentoring program. Six college campuses participate, up from just two.
Her salary has risen from $45,000 to $64,000.
Anna Ouroumian can empathize. When she was growing up in Beirut. "None
of us could see a future for ourselves," she says. Her first orphanage
had no electricity or running water. in grade school she moved to an orphanage
on the battle line dividing warring Christians and Muslims. The kids slept
in empty theater that also served as a makeshift hospitalŠ
Note: this profile is of a young Armenian who was willing and able to
take control of her life. Her attitudes and approaches should be used
as a role model for those youth and adults who wish to make a change in
their own lives and in the lives of members of their community. Her accomplishments
show the importance of education, ambition, and belief.
To read the complete story from Forbes magazine click
Other resources for Young Entrepreneurs
Young Entrepreneurs Organization - A global non-profit educational
organization for young entrepreneurs
Entrepreneur Network - Information and counsel for startups, "grass
Entrepreneur.com - Starting
a business? They have many of the resources you may need- from home office
supplies for starting your own small business to financincing and marketing
Counsel - Online resources for Christian entrepreneurs
Partners - a Venture Capital Fund focusing on Internet/Intranet and
Communications startups with some online resources