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Everyday, Katherina Rosqueta works on solving the “million dollar question” — if you have a million dollars, how do you spend them so they do the most good?

Rosqueta, a 2001 MBA alumna and founding executive director of Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy, will be speaking about her work at the TEDxPhiladelphia conference this Friday.

During her tenure at CHIP, Rosqueta created donation guides and occasionally worked with individual philanthropists to help them give their money in a way that has the maximum impact per dollar. Once the center helps a donor find the best way to give their money, the information becomes publicly available.

“We have more and more information that can help donors get to impact faster,” she said. “Our ‘customer’ is always an individual donor who’s got some money to give and trying to give it in a way that makes as big of a difference it can in the life of somebody else.”

Available for free on their website, CHIP creates donor guides outlining which types of organizations to look for when making donations. On March 20, the center finished a piece focused on preventing childhood obesity using Philadelphia as a case example.

“[Philadelphia] is one of the few regions that has reduced obesity rates for one of the hardest to help populations,” Rosqueta said. She added that the work Philadelphia has done to lower obesity rates is “relevant and instructive for other regions.”

The guide recommends a three-pronged approach to tackling childhood obesity: starting early, enabling healthy choices and increasing access to healthy foods and exercise. Each suggestion includes a “cost-per-impact,” which describes the price of creating a desired action.

Using Philadelphia as a case example is the subject of the upcoming TEDxPhiladelphia conference, themed “the new workshop of the world.”

“It really is Philadelphia’s legacy,” Rosqueta said. “It is the source for some of these new ideas that shaped this country and that other countries adapted.”

In her talk, Rosqueta will discuss how the concept of high impact philanthropy fits in with the idea of Philadelphia as the world’s workshop.

In spring 2006, Rosqueta left McKinsey & Company to return to Penn to help found CHIP. Since then, the center’s approaches to philanthropy evolved from an 100 page donor guide to videos and social media in order to reach donors interested in making a difference.

Currently, Rosqueta and a team from CHIP are developing a course for fall 2014 on social impact analysis and the economics of opportunities that will be open to students from all schools.

“The only way to get that answer to that million dollar question is to have that multidisciplinary course,” she said.

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