Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy Launches Development of Child-Survival Tool Kit for Donors

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | | 215-898-4820May 3, 2012

Each year, before reaching age age 5, almost 8 million children die from preventable causes. The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the School of Social Policy & Practice is doing something about it.

Researchers are cultivating a series of online investment guides for donors who are interested in improving child-survival rates in the developing world.

They’re compiling research about best practices, evidence-based models, additional resources and how to best donate with cost and impact information –- all designed for donors who wish to make the biggest impact when it comes to decreasing the number of preventable childhood deaths around the globe.

The Center is focusing on the things that can have the most impact in people’s lives given the resources available.   That’s the meaning of high-impact philanthropy: “getting the most bang for one’s charitable bucks.”

Carol McLaughlin, a specialist in global public health and the Center’s research director, is leading the team for this initiative.  They are gathering evidence from nonprofit organizations, researchers, stakeholders, philanthropists and more to develop a donor tool kit, which will roll out in phases over the next year on the Center for High Impact Philanthropy’s Web site.

"Individual donors can invest in proven tools and community-based approaches that can prevent and treat diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria,” McLaughlin says. "Over the next year, our tool kit will provide evidence-based approaches that match the needs on the ground with examples of how organizations effectively and efficiently deliver these solutions, including their estimated impacts and related costs."

The kit will focus on three strategies for high-impact philanthropy: treating and preventing now, building long-term systems and future innovations

“Treat and Prevent Now” highlights ways to deliver life-saving interventions like providing antibiotics for pneumonia and rehydration medication to treat diarrhea in children in their own communities plus providing information about early newborn care and breastfeeding to new moms through mother-to-mother community education programs, which can go a long way, McLaughlin says. 

In “Build Systems for the Long Term,” the Center will address how donors can enhance health-system and human-resources capacity to ensure long-term program sustainability.  For example, creative partnerships between universities, governments, nonprofit organizations and the private sector can assist with providing and retaining health-care providers in the developing world.  It will also focus on overcoming geographic barriers with technology, getting timely information to remote communities, providing improved health care in distant areas, strengthening the health-care workforce and supply chain as well as delivery systems for vaccines.

And in “Innovate for the Future,” the team suggests developing and testing new strategies for health-care delivery for those who live in specific areas, such as the poorest of urban and rural areas.  For example, effective models that a donor might choose to invest in include micro-credit lending groups to reach women and their children with health-care services or franchised private-sector medical clinics.

"Our initiative will highlight the strategic roles individual donors can play in ensuring the health and well-being of women and children,” Katherina Rosqueta, executive director of the Center, says. “They can be key partners in global child survival efforts.”" 

The research team will post information, tips for donors and the cost-per-impact on the Center’s Web site as they go along.

Posting its research online is not the only way that the Center is getting the word out to potential donors about high-impact philanthropy.  It also will share these important developments as they emerge through its many social media venues.

Each time a new model or organization is featured on its Web site, the Center will share through its Facebook, Twitter and other social-media outlets.  There will also be a series of interviews posted on the Center’s blog, featuring leading practitioners, experts and funders.