By Matthew Brodsky
Sure, the Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize is a joint initiative between the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School. But in two fast years, the program has become a showpiece for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII).
“We like to say social impact is in our DNA,” says Katherine Klein, vice dean of the initiative and the Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management, speaking at the award dinner in late April.
To Klein, the Lipman Family Prize is proof.
All good things do not come without effort. Sitting on this year’s prize committee reminded Klein of one of her mentor’s sayings; it was a “happy headache.” All of the choices were worthy: d.light Designs, Microclinic International and READ Global.
Barry Lipman, W’70, whose “joy of volunteering,” as he described it, led to the creation of this unique prize, agreed that this year, as with last year, choosing a winner was not easy.
The Lipman Family Prize Committee looks for organizations already gaining attention for their innovative and effective models and focused missions. Not only do these organizations have a track record of success, their programs are sustainable and transferable.
As Umi Howard, director of the Lipman Prize, put it, this year’s three Lipman Prize Finalists for 2013 “don’t just put a Band-Aid on people’s lives.” They are aiming to solve a social ill at its root.
In the case of finalist—and ultimate winner—READ Global, it develops community-owned, self-sustaining libraries.
Editor’s note: This post first appeared on the Wharton Magazine blog on May 13, 2013. To read the full story, visit Wharton Magazine.