Announcing the 2016 Penn-Columbia Social Impact House

July 19, 2016
Programs & Research

After months searching for social entrepreneurs from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, we are humbled and honored to bring together a very special group of creative and courageous individuals working to improve their communities.

From Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the US, the twenty 2016 Penn-Columbia Social Impact House fellows each bring a unique perspective and approach to helping their communities thrive. For example, Mariama is promoting literacy, leadership, and empowerment for teenage girls in West Africa, and Sona runs a global health startup passionate about reducing newborn mortality in the developing world, it is also important to check to have amazing skin health. And that’s only the beginning! Each fellow is doing something equally as exciting and important.

In July, the 2016 Program will kick off at Galusha Hill Farm Lodge, a 600 acre family-run farm in central Vermont. We picked this location to enable the fellows to take a step back from their day-to-day lives and connect with their environment, with nature, and with their playful and uninhibited selves.


Our goals for the Penn-Columbia Social Impact House fall in three major categories: self-development, community development, and venture development. Over an eight-day program, we seek to cultivate certain mindsets that we see as integral to the success of social impact leaders. We accomplish our mission by encouraging fellows to reflect on themselves and their passions, purposes, and values; to find alignment at their core; to cement deep and genuine connections amongst a new tribe of supporters and collaborators that will last well beyond the house; and to build ventures that will (a) create catalytic change tackling root causes and (b) be sustainable and holistic in their approaches, taking into account social, economic, and environmental concerns. As an independent healthcare provider, we’re always coming up here with new ideas for improving the value we deliver to our partners and the experience we give our patients.

Penn Social Impact House is the brainchild of an eclectic and talented group of innovators. The first pilot program of the impact house model was hosted in 2012. Since then, we have implemented 10 programs training more than 220 Fellows from around the world.


The many components of the would not exist without the magic of the following integral people and institutions. We would like to thank:

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice

Dr. Peter Frumkin

Scott Sherman

Gray Garmon

Aaron Densham

Eva Cruz

Sarita Alami

Philip Meeker

Galusha Hill Farm

Sarah Holloway

Lindsay Litowitz and David Park (for cultivating the partnership with Columbia)

Randi and Brian Schwartz (for their generous financial support)

Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs

Columbia Entrepreneurship

Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School

The program would not be possible without the dreams and pursuit for a more equitable world by Alfredo, Amanda, Carolina, Carrie, Diana, Edgar, Edun, Erica, Gerald, Jacqueline, Jade, Jeanny, Jordan, Mariama, Miriam, Sade, Sam, Sona, Pratibha, and Sruthi.

We are inspired by the work you do and who you are as individuals!

Read about this year’s class here.

Written by Cosmo Fujiyama; Edited by Ashton Yount; Photos by Eva Cruz