Social Impact by the Numbers: 2015 in Review

Resized Alumni Reception

It’s been a busy year at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative! From on-campus speaker series to international events, our work drives us to develop and promote business strategies for a better world. Through research, consulting, hands-on training, and outreach, this year we made great progress in our mission to advance the science and practice of social impact. We’re honored by the continued passion for social impact at Wharton and beyond, and look forward to what the next year will bring.

Here’s a quick look back at 2015, by the numbers:

250+ students attended MBA preterm events to learn more about social impact. That’s over a third of the incoming class.

8,800 social media connections and climbing! You’ve stayed in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on our monthly newsletter.

50 undergraduate and graduate students from across Penn worked on 15 strategic projects with WSII this fall semester through the Social Impact Fellowship. These projects spanned our work in impact investing, impact entrepreneurship, strategic corporate social impact, Philadelphia, Africa, and women and girls.  And 31 undergraduates from across Penn are current members of the Turner Social Impact Society, a community of students united by their passion for building a better world and their commitment to gaining the skills and knowledge to do so.

100 undergraduate and MBA students held events designed to strengthen the student social impact community at Wharton. At the undergraduate level, the Social Impact Advisory Board organized an “Impact Investing 101” session featuring WSII staff, co-hosted a social impact open house, held focus groups to gather live feedback from students, and launched the WSII Impact Certification program with five undergraduate clubs. At the MBA level, various social impact-themed clubs came together for an inaugural Cross-Club Social Impact Happy Hour.

1,000+ students across Wharton and Penn listened, interacted, and learned from campus visitors including Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Joey HundertBill Ackman, and Bobby Turner through fireside chats, small group lunches, and interactive workshops.

50 episodes of “Dollars and Change” on SiriusXM Business Radio. Our weekly show has been recording live every Thursday morning since March 2014, welcoming CEOs, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and social impact visionaries to share their knowledge on the air. (Listen to exclusive “best of” audio clips here.)

250 industry practitioners, academics, and students attended the Wharton Social Impact Conference on Oct. 29, which was jointly organized by WSII, the MBA Wharton Social Impact Club, and students from the Executive MBA program in Philadelphia.  The event covered topics around successful models for social entrepreneurship, innovative financing for social impact, and strategic partnerships for corporate social impact and featured keynotes Ron Cordes and Iqbal Quadir.

600+ participants are enrolled in the next cycle of the MIINT, from top business schools across the country and in Europe.

100 + blog posts published by students, staff, and alumni. Be sure to browse our archives for b-school insights you won’t get elsewhere.

80,976 miles traveled by the team as we represented Wharton around the world. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Capital for Social Impact Series brought us to New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Miami, London, and Hong Kong, where we met with more than 1,000 alumni to discuss the future of impact investing. Our work also led us to events and convenings in Zürich, Switzerland; Bellagio, Italy; and Rwanda. In November, Katherine Klein, Nick Ashburn, and Mukul Pandya also traveled to Marrakech, Morroco to represent Wharton at ALN’s annual gathering of 300+ leaders from across the continent.

1,900,000+ readers reached online surrounding the launch of “Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance,” WSII’s research report on impact investing. Read more about the findings in The Atlantic.

Top row: Nick Ashburn, Sandi Hunt, Stephanie Kim, Tyler Hoffman, Harry Douglas. Bottom row: Katherine Klein, Jacob Gray, Sherryl Kuhlman (not pictured: Allie Ilagan)
Top row: Nick Ashburn, Sandi Hunt, Stephanie Kim, Tyler Hoffman, Harry Douglas.
Bottom row: Katherine Klein, Jacob Gray, Sherryl Kuhlman (not pictured: Allie Ilagan)

But that’s just a snapshot of all that we’ve done — thanks to your help. Interested in getting involved in 2016?

We will be posting Spring 2016 Fellowship opportunities, among other positions, on our job board in mid-January. Keep up with the rest of our work via our newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter and reach out to with any ideas/thoughts – we’d love to hear from you!