Learn about student programming, events, and other ways to get involved with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative for the Spring 2020 semester.

Penn and Wharton students: Start the new decade by learning more about the intersection of social impact and business. From exciting programs with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, events with industry experts, diverse courses, and more, here are a few opportunities to explore this semester.

1. WISE Fellowship

Make meaningful social impact with this paid research and consulting fellowship. WISE Fellows will work with the Philadelphia Zoo, Penn Medicine, WIRED (an impact investing database), and more this semester. WSII is recruiting new Fellows for three of those projects — explore open projects and apply by January 27.

2. Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize

First-year MBAs, do you have plans to launch or expand your social enterprise? The Jacobs Impact Entrepreneur Prize can help power your education-focused startup. Three awardees will receive funding ($5K–$50K) to sustain the development of their venture, connect with a global network of supporters and advisors, and travel to Switzerland for a weeklong networking and learning session. Learn more and apply by February 1.

3. Social Impact Courses at Wharton

It’s not too late to sign up for a class! Wharton offers numerous courses that will help you understand and tackle many of the most pressing social and environmental challenges in the world. We’ve highlighted just a few of the many courses available, including Prof. Katherine Klein’s Knowledge for Social Impact, a class that examines two critical challenges in the U.S. today: 1) barriers to college access and completion, and 2) recidivism and barriers to employment following incarceration. This class is open to students across Penn, not just Wharton students.

4. WSII Bendheim Externship with Firework Ventures

Firework Ventures (a new venture capital fund) is seeking one grad student to help build their fund. Advances in automation, digitalization, and AI are changing the economy at a rapid pace. Firework Ventures — co-led by Ashley Bittner, a Wharton MBA alum and current WSII Bendheim Fellow — sees this as an opportunity, and invests in entrepreneurs helping people thrive in this changing economy by focusing on the “human side” of the future of work. In addition to working with a Wharton alumna, you’ll source and conduct due diligence on potential investments, work on market mapping, and engage with entrepreneurs. Apply by January 31.

5. Nazarian Social Innovator in Residence

Every year, we invite a leader working in social impact for a multi-day visit at Penn. While they are on campus, Nazarian Social Innovators engage in a range of activities, including meeting with and coaching students individually, hosting small-group events, and leading discussions or workshops. Stay tuned: more information about this year’s Innovator in Residence will be announced soon — sign up on our student email list to be in the loop. In the meantime, check out this video with last year’s Innovator, Joey Hundert, CEO of Sustainitech.

6. Pop Up Lunches and Events

Over the last year, we had engaging discussions about impact investing and responsible business with special guest speakers. We heard from Vincent Stanley (Director of Philosophy at Patagonia), Dr. Dinah Koehler (Executive Director of Sustainable Research at UBS), and more. We’ll send you updates throughout the semester as other industry experts join us on campus.

Space is always limited, so be sure to RSVP early. Sign up to be in the loop on events.

7. Dollars and Change Podcast

Have you checked out our podcast, Dollars and Change? Grab your headphones and a coffee, and catch up on episodes with leading industry experts who are changing the world through social enterprises, impact investing, corporate social responsibility programs, social impact research, and more.


— Nisa Nejadi

Posted: January 14, 2020

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