Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy: Focus on Housing, Health and Hunger During Economic Crisis

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto-Haines | | 215-898-4820November 16, 2009

PHILADELPHIA — The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania has released an investment guide identifying where donors can make the greatest difference helping those suffering in the current economic crisis.

“High Impact Philanthropy in the Downturn: Focus on Housing, Health & Hunger” targets three issues: preventing foreclosures, sustaining primary and preventive health programs and ensuring access to food.

“This year, we’re entering the traditional giving season with foundation assets reduced by a third, municipal and state budgets drastically cut and non-profits facing heightened demand for their services precisely when their resources have shrunk,” Katherina Rosqueta, CHIP executive director, said. “These specific areas are where individual donors can obtain a ’big bang for their buck‘ now and prevent enormous costs and suffering later.”

While researching the guide, the Center’s team found that in these areas the need has spiked as a result of the downturn. In addition, the Center found that donors can leverage recent federal commitments and that effective, cost-efficient non-profit solutions exist.

“For as little as $300, donors can prevent a family from losing a home to foreclosure by supporting effective housing counseling. For less than $600 a year, the community-health-center model can deliver high-quality, comprehensive primary and preventive care to a newly uninsured person,” Rosqueta said. “For less than $50 a week, innovative emergency food providers are deploying new strategies to feed the growing number of families unable to meet a basic need, food.”

“High Impact Philanthropy in the Downturn” provides descriptions of high-impact models for donors to fund, “cost per impact” estimates for each philanthropic opportunity, tips on finding and assessing local agents and contact information for leading non-profits and referral sources.

“Our hope is that by doing much of the legwork, we provide philanthropists the kind of independent, practical advice that will move them from having concern and good intentions to having actual impact,” Rosqueta said.

“High Impact Philanthropy in the Downturn” is available at

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy is a multi-disciplinary resource center established by alumni of Penn’s Wharton School and housed at the School of Social Policy & Practice at Penn. By providing independent analysis and decision-making tools, it enables philanthropists and their advisors to understand where philanthropic capital can make the biggest difference in improving lives.