PRESS RELEASE: Blackboard Inc. CEO Michael Chasen to be honored at Dare to Dream Gala


Contact: Hope Katz Gibbs
Inkandescent Public Relations
Phone: (703) 346-6975

CEO of the education company that generated $377 million in revenue last year to be highlighted at 15th anniversary of nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurship to students

Washington, DC, April 23, 2010 — Anyone who has been following the fast-moving education technology company Blackboard Inc., knows of its savvy president and CEO Michael Chasen ( He took Blackboard from a start-up company with just one product and a handful of clients to a publicly held company, with thousands of clients, offering software and services used by millions of people around the world.

On April 28, the national nonprofit organization the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship ( will honor Chasen at its 13th annual Dare to Dream DC Gala, being held from 6-10 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in DC (

This year’s event, which marks the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s15th anniversary, will also honor Alper Family Foundation’s Vice President Patty Alper, and the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The keynote speaker will be Chris Gardner, the self-made millionaire, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist who, during the early 1980s, struggled with homelessness while raising his toddler son, Christopher, Jr. Gardner’s book of memoirs, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” was published in May 2006 and later that year became an internationally acclaimed motion picture starring Will Smith.

“We are thrilled to be honoring all of these wonderful business leaders who are incredible role models for the students we serve in our program,” says Julie Kantor, executive director of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington. “Michael Chasen, in particular, is an entrepreneur who has taken an idea and turned it into an organization that makes a difference in so many young people’s lives. He truly embodies what we teach at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and it is our honor to celebrate his success at our April 28 gala.”

About Michael Chasen

Together with Blackboard Chairman Matthew Pittinsky, Chasen founded the company in 1997. Chasen brings a solid mixture of business development and Internet engineering skills that have been critical to Blackboard’s success. During his tenure, he has provided both strategic and tactical direction for every department in the company. Chasen oversees the day-to-day business in addition to developing and implementing Blackboard’s vision and business strategy.

Before founding Blackboard, he served as a member of the Higher Education Practice at KPMG Consulting, the world’s largest professional services firm serving colleges and universities. He worked closely with several universities and colleges to implement wide-ranging software systems and also managed high-profile online development projects within the U.S. Department of Education.

Washington SmartCEO magazine selected Chasen as its first “CEO of the Year” in 2006. Ernst & Young named Chasen and Pittinsky “Entrepreneurs of the Year for Emerging Companies in Washington, D.C.” The Kilby Awards Foundation also honored Chasen and Pittinsky as “Young Innovators” for having recognized and delivered on the demand for a high-quality, easy-to-use, and cost-effective online educational software platform.

Recently named one of DC’s most-admired bosses by Washington Techway Magazine, and one of the area’s rising stars by Washington Business Forward, Chasen has been featured in print, broadcast, and online media, including CNNfn, Fox News, Sam Donaldson’s,,, Associated Press, Forbes, PC Magazine, WUSA-TV (CBS),, Beyond Computers, Technology & Learning, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Chasen holds an MBA from Georgetown University and an undergraduate degree in computer science from American University.

“NFTE is doing incredibly important work to expose more young people to quality teaching and mentorship that encourages them to start early, take the right steps and follow their dreams,” said Chasen. “Their efforts can make a big difference not just in the lives of these individuals but in building stronger communities that will be strengthened over time through innovation and entrepreneurship.”

About the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington

Since 1987, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship ( has provided entrepreneurial education programs to more than 280,000 youths in 21 states and 12 countries. Its mission is to work with young people from low-income communities to show them that entrepreneurship is a pathway to prosperity.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington is currently working with 800 students in 17 schools, and since 1994 has served more than 21,000 students in the region.

For more information about the program and the annual business plan competition, contact Julie Kantor, executive director of NFTE’s DC program, at

To buy tickets for the Dare to Dream Gala, visit