The Greater Good

The Greater Good

Evan Tahler (E'06, MET'08) found his creative niche at Carnegie Mellon University and its Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). The dedicated alumnus is now working to give back to his alma mater and the larger community with the Creative Good Fund.

Launched in 2013, the fund sponsors ETC student internships with nonprofit organizations such as museums, libraries and human services groups.

These valuable public resources often struggle financially to keep up with rapidly changing education and entertainment technology. The fund not only allows ETC students to gain experience with real-world location-based entertainment but also helps deserving nonprofits better enrich their communities.

Tahler conceived the idea and with the help of ETC classmates, staff, Director Drew Davidson and Associate Professor Brenda Harger (A'00), the Creative Good Fund was born.

"Evan was instrumental in getting this started — making sure it happened, including setting up the website and gathering the stories," Harger said.

While earning his CMU undergraduate mechanical engineering degree, Tahler fulfilled his creative side by running cmuTV and helping to market the robot-racing Red Team. Looking to combine his interests in engineering and entertainment, he chose the ETC for his master's degree.

During school and after graduation, he spent time at Disney where he worked with Blu-ray technology and earned a couple of U.S. patents, co-founded a startup and worked at online retailer ModCloth, also founded by two CMU alumni.

With social good in mind, he became the director of technology at TaskRabbit in 2011. The company is an online marketplace for outsourcing small jobs.

"We are creating tools for anyone to find work in a safe, trustworthy way — especially for those who might not otherwise," Tahler said.

The loyal alumnus already has recruited three classmates to TaskRabbit and credits his CMU years with much, including excellent training and an irreplaceable network.

"Many of my present friends have come through the ETC and most of my career choices were affected by those friendships," he said. "There's something special about creating a place for a subset of like-minded people to come together."

Tahler notes that the ETC provided him with both "production skills" to manage people, time and projects and "practice skills" to build a successful portfolio and uncover his ultimate career path.

"I also can't downplay the importance of my mechanical engineering training," he added. "The analytical way of approaching problems and complex systems has been invaluable."

For these reasons and more, Tahler continues to give back to the university through his support of the Creative Good Fund.

In the Fund's first "trial-run" year, two students enjoyed internships at Give Kids The World, a storybook resort providing free lodging to seriously ill children and their families.

Efforts are now underway to endow the fund, insuring the program's continuation. The team is working to raise $25,000 that with an alumni couple's 11:1 gift-match offer would mean $300,000 for the fund.

Tahler can't hide his excitement for the students.

"How often do you get the chance to propose a project to help the charity of your choice and get advised by both alumni and world-class faculty?" he said.

To contribute to the Creative Good Fund:

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Related Links: The Creative Good Fund | Entertainment Technology Center

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