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Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy:
Guiding Global Health Philanthropists Toward Curbing Malaria
March 3, 2009, Volume 55, No. 24

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania has released an investment guide to help philanthropists combat malaria, a treatable and preventable disease and major global health problem. Lifting the Burden of Malaria: An Investment Guide for Impact-Driven Philanthropy offers independent, practical guidance on how individual donors can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who are at risk of contracting the disease.

According to the World Health Organization, every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria, despite the existence of effective and low-cost tools to fight the disease.

“Bill Gates’ unleashing a swarm of mosquitoes at the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference earlier this month is just the latest in a series of high-profile calls to invest in malaria control,” Katherina Rosqueta, the executive director for the Center, said. “But for individual philanthropists who want to help, two questions naturally arise: Given the big players like the Gates Foundation and Global Fund, can I really make a difference and, if so, how? Our guide provides practical answers to those questions.”

In this guide, the authors examine high-impact philanthropic opportunities that address the needs of individuals who seek to go beyond charity by maximizing the impact of charitable dollars. The guide provides practical advice on getting started, examples of promising practices, recommended strategies and information on how to evaluate potential investments and assess post-donation impact. Lifting the Burden of Malaria and a brief executive summary are available at no charge at www.impact.upenn.edu. It presents a “back of the envelope” cost-per-impact estimate in several examples. By linking costs and results, these estimates offer a starting point for philanthropists to understand what their dollars can achieve. The guide outlines three strategic entry points at which a philanthropist can make an effective impact: treatment and prevention now, building long-term systems and future innovations.

“Despite the existence of effective, low-cost tools for preventing and treating malaria, too often these tools don’t reach those who need them most,” Carol McLaughlin, the lead author of the guide and the Center’s director for global health, said. “It’s the classic last-mile problem. The good news is there are models that individual philanthropists can invest in that we know can overcome those delivery obstacles.”

The Center was established by alumni of Penn’s Wharton School and is housed at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice.


Almanac - March 3, 2009, Volume 55, No. 24