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Penn’s newly released online food guide will help donors “navigate” various existing food charities.

The Food Funder Compass — which was released by the University’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy last week — will provide information to members of the public on how they can contribute their money to food-related charities in a way that will create the greatest impact.

The Compass is one of Penn’s many free online guides dedicated to help donors answer the question: “How do I do the most good with the most money I have?”

More: Center for High Impact Philanthropy aims for social impact

CHIP’s Director of Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives Carra Cote-Ackah said that the idea sprouted from several local funders who aimed to clarify approaches to food-related issues — referred to as “the food space.”

Many donors seek guidance for putting their money into organizations and charities that help reduce hunger, obesity and waste, CHIP Research Director Carol McLaughlin said. However, “they felt like it took them too long to start understanding the space,” she added.

Using a compass to indicate direction for donations, the guide acts as a framework for donors to “understand the issues and jump [into the process] faster,” Cote-Ackah said.

Although the guide focuses on only food-related issues, the approaches bring attention to four primary impact areas: Health and Hunger, Environment, Vibrant Communities and Rights and Equity.

Two of the nonprofit organizations included in the guide’s Health and Hunger impact area are MANNA and Philabundance, which deliver “emergency food” to those who need it.

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Other organizations include Farmworker Justice and the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which work to improve worker conditions under the area of Rights and Equity.

But what makes this compass different from prior tools is that many of the outlined approaches in the guide touch upon multiple areas at the same time, integrating different relief methods.

“It intentionally highlights approaches that are achieving an integrated impact,” Cote-Ackah said.
For example, according to the guide, donors can impact all four areas by “engag[ing] diverse community members and stakeholders to support local farms and to develop a local, integrated food system.”

“This is the culmination of our work, yet we’re not done,” Cote-Ackah said.
In 2009, CHIP included a section on hunger in one of its online guides. It has also written several blog pieces since then.

Cote-Ackah mentioned plans about moving forward by “look[ing] into promising approaches trying to reduce child obesity in the greater Philadelphia region.”

Katherina Rosqueta, executive director of CHIP, explained that the ultimate goal of this guide is to shorten the time required to make a meaningful impact.

“The promise of this guide is that by synthesizing all this knowledge and making it available to any donor who cares about these impacts, we’re helping them get to [make an] impact faster,” she said.

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