Middlebury Institute finance professor Constantin Gurdgiev recently lent his expertise to an Irish non-profit start-up designed to help homeowners who encounter financial difficulties stay in their homes—and students will have the chance to gain practical experience as a result.
Beyond serving on the board of iCare Housing himself, the professor/practitioner is asking students who are active with the school’s “Impact Hub” to develop an extensive social impact audit framework for the organization and to provide annual social impact audits going forward.
“One of the great things about the Institute is the way we bring the real world into the classroom, and then bring students out into the real world to put the skills they are learning to work with real external clients, while achieving tangible positive impact through their engagements” said Professor Gurdgiev, who is originally from Russia, but received his PhD in macroeconomics and finance from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where he taught for 17 years prior to joining MIIS in 2016.
The new non-profit’s strategy is to assist homeowners who are have defaulted on their mortgages by purchasing their home, relieving the outstanding debt, and renting the home back to them on affordable, government-regulated terms, with the owner-turned-tenant retaining the right to purchase the home back from iCare in the future.
Gurdgiev says that “iCare will be the first Irish non-profit/charity to create a formal, external social impact audit framework and annual impact assessment reporting.” The organization is aiming to “set an entirely new bar for impact reporting in Ireland” and the Institute’s faculty-student team will be leading this “pioneering” work.
“The goal is not only to inform the iCare decision-making processes in terms of social impact of the organization and its strategies,” explains Gurdgiev, “but also to create a higher degree of transparency and public disclosure for an Irish NGO in the age when the NGO sector in Europe is experiencing issues relating to public trust and transparency.”
iCare is the second non-profit that Gurdgiev has co-founded in Ireland, along with the Irish Mortgage Holders Organization, which he says could also potentially benefit in the future from social impact audits conducted by Institute students.