An Integrated Approach

The Lipman Family Prize was created with the goals of using competition to identify and reward excellence within the social sector, facilitating the transfer of best practices, and inspiring Penn students to enter the field. Its success relies on the integration of four components: PhilanthropyStudent EducationKnowledge Sharing, and a Partnership with the University of Pennsylvania.


An altruistic desire to promote positive and sustainable social impact is evident in all of the individuals and organizations that touch the Lipman Family Prize: from the alumnus who created it, to the organizations that apply, to the members of the Penn community that support its development. The original idea and generous donation from Barry Lipman (W ’70) and his wife Marie are complemented by a continual investment of time and intellectual horsepower from members of the Penn Community – faculty, staff, and student Lipman Fellows. These team members evaluate hundreds of applications each year from groups already making an impact and sharing insights for positive results in humanitarian fields like healthcare, safe water, and education.

Once a winner is chosen, Penn’s philanthropic commitment continues through projects that include promotion of best practices, creation of case studies, and participation in field consulting projects. This commitment and partnership extends beyond just the winner – it applies to each of the three honorees that are selected each year.

Student Education

Early training in the social sector sets the stage for more of what the world needs most – a lifelong commitment to the greater good.

Case studies, field consulting projects, and classroom discussions that result from the Lipman Family Prize provide students with unprecedented opportunities to gain in-depth knowledge of the challenges that face the social sector and the skills required to lead its organizations and obtain measurable results. These experiences also support the Prize’s goal of inspiring Penn students to enter the field either upon graduation or at another point in their career.

Our students are invaluable members of the Lipman Family Prize community and are trusted to make thoughtful contributions throughout the course of their involvement.

Students throughout Penn are encouraged to apply to be Lipman Fellows. In addition to participating in the selection process for the finalist organizations, Lipman Fellows also receive leadership development opportunities and the opportunity to personally interact and learn from pioneers in the social sector.

Knowledge Sharing

While the Penn community benefits from the knowledge gained from the Lipman Family Prize, the University is also committed to leveraging its resources to share this information throughout other organizations within the social sector.

In turn, the Lipman Family Prize enriches the social sector by resourcing the promise and potential of innovative people and practices around the globe.

Knowledge@Wharton, the award-winning online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with 1.9 million subscribers worldwide conducts in-depth interviews with winning organizations, discussing the impact of their work in the social impact space.

Partnership with Penn

The success of the Lipman Family Prize and its ability to affect positive change throughout the social sector depends largely on an interdisciplinary approach and contributions from several schools, programs and departments all dedicated to Penn’s original goal of education for citizenship and service. They include The Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the Master of Science Program in Nonprofit/NGO Leadership, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, the Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management, the Wharton Leadership Program, and the Wharton Program for Social Impact. Through this interdisciplinary approach, Penn can leverage its intellectual strength and global networks and ensure the goals of the Lipman Prize are achieved.