Penn Center for High Impact Philanthropy Creates Guide for Donating Funds to Combat Substance Abuse

Jeanne Leong | jleong@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-573-8151
Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a free online guide for people who want to save lives by reducing illness and homelessness related to drug or alcohol use, and help more people access the care they need to get better more quickly.

The guide, “Lifting the Burden of Addiction: Philanthropic Opportunities to Address Substance Use Disorders in the United States,” offers tips to donors on ways to address the negative impact of substance abuse by donating money to organizations and programs that prevent death from drug overdose, increase access to effective treatment and build the evidence around what works to prevent substance addiction in teens.

Available on the center’s website, the guide helps donors choose organizations that can make a big difference in the lives of people who struggle with substance use, today and over the long term.

“Addiction isn’t a problem just for the poor, or the inner-city or rural communities,” said Katherina Rosqueta, founding executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy and an author of the guide. “The costs are enormous in terms of families destroyed, emergency room visits and lost productivity. For those who want to help, this guide shows how.”

The team analyzed the results and cost effectiveness of organizations and programs across the country and found over a dozen with a track record of success. They also identified promising targets for prevention and treatment research. 

“There are many tools available that can help substance users, beyond the 12-step programs that many people are familiar with,” said Cecily Wallman-Stokes, lead author and senior analyst at CHIP. “Those programs can be helpful for many people, but we found a wide range of additional tools, like case management, cognitive behavioral therapy and medications like naltrexone and buprenorphine, that are effective and cost effective. Using philanthropic funds to expand access to the full range of therapies could make an enormous difference, now.”

The guide provides information on more than 20 organizations featured, including the Harm Reduction Coalition, Pathways to Housing Philadelphia and the Legal Action Center.

The guide also highlights related resources such as mapping tools and national coalition websites to make it easy for visitors to find organizations in their own communities.

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy, a collaboration between Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice and alumni of the Wharton School, provides independent guidance, education and other tools to help donors to make effective philanthropic decisions.