Organizational Profile

Center for High Impact Philanthropy, University of Pennsylvania


The Center for High Impact Philanthropy has emerged as a unique and trusted authority for donors around the world who are seeking to maximize the social impact of their funds. In areas as diverse as closing the achievement gap in the U.S., effective disaster relief, and major global public health issues such as malaria and child mortality, the Center translates the best available information into actionable guidance for those looking to make the greatest difference in the lives of others. Our work includes independent analysis, educational programming, and custom engagements for individual donors, institutional funders, advisors and philanthropic intermediaries.

Our story: Providing actionable and evidence-based guidance

Founded as a collaboration between the University’s School of Social Policy & Practice and alumni of the Wharton School, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy is dedicated to enabling donors and funders to achieve more good. Our multi-disciplinary team’s work is characterized by:

    1. A focus on social impact – a meaningful improvement in the lives of others
    2. An approach that leverages the best available information
    3. A commitment to making our guidance available and actionable for a wide-range of impact-focused funders

To meet our goal of providing smart, practical guidance to donors who care about impact, we synthesize the best available information from three domains: research, informed opinion and field experience. We believe the most promising opportunities exist where the recommendations of these three domains overlap.

Our target: Individual donors and their advisors

In the U.S. alone, nearly $291 billion dollars comprise the U.S. philanthropic capital market. Individual donors represent the vast majority of that sum—73%, or $212 billion. Additionally, 71%, or $37.5 billion of all philanthropic giving from developed to developing countries comes from American donors. High net worth individual donors are also more likely to give a larger percentage of their incomes to nonprofits.

Although we target this strategic group, our work has helped many others—non-high net worth individuals, institutional funders and policymakers—understand how their funds can make a greater difference in the lives of others.

Our focus: impact

While there is an increasing number of organizations supplying information and advising services to philanthropists, our approach is uniquely guided by our focus on social impact and the necessity to be both actionable and evidence-based. We start by asking and answering a series of questions:

  • Is the change/impact meaningful?
  • What do we know works? What doesn’t?
  • How much does change/impact cost?
  • What organizations are best positioned to deliver this change/impact?

Contact Information:
Legal Status:

Nonprofit, Academic Institution

Target Audience: Donors, Advisors

Services Provided: Consulting, Conferences, Resources

Geographic Scope: Local, State, National, Global

View Resources from this Content Partner