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Penn Medicine on Nov. 13, 2021. Credit: Riley Guggenhime

Harris Philanthropies, a nonprofit founded by 1986 Wharton graduate and Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris and his wife Majorie Harris, has invested $1 million into four startups that the Penn Medicine - Wharton Fund for Health has selected. 

First announced in August 2021, the Fund for Health is a collaboration between Penn Med and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. This fund invests in businesses that try to improve the social support systems surrounding the health and well-being of Philadelphians who are economically disadvantaged. The fund is committed to a $5 million investment over three years.

Harris Philanthropies aims to support initiatives that strengthen the community through providing grants and investments that aid at-risk youth, promoting health and wellness, and fostering community growth.

To date, the Fund for Health has invested $850,000 across four companies: Kinvolved, a software that helps school systems improve family engagement and attendance; Lula, an all-in-one delivery solution for family-owned convenience stores; Uptrust, a software that aids individuals to stay out of the criminal justice system; and RecoveryLink, a peer recovery support platform.

The investment is the latest continuation of Harris Philanthropies’ work with Penn Med, having previously collaborated with Sixers Co-Managing Partner David Blitzer and Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid to provide $1.3 million to distribute COVID-19 antibody testing to Philadelphia healthcare workers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“We are thrilled to continue collaborating with Penn Medicine through the Fund for Health to improve the health of Philadelphia communities, particularly underserved communities that may not have access to the same resources,” Josh Harris said in Penn Med’s news release. “The goal of this initiative is to invest in innovative companies that are directly addressing the issues that lead to health inequities and support them as they scale."

Research from Penn Medicine’s 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment report stated that in Philadelphia County, more than 25% of residents live in poverty, 20% are coping with food insecurity, and nearly 15% of its residents are uninsured.

Kevin Mahoney, CEO of Penn Med, stated that “tackling longstanding, systemic problems requires a creative approach and diverse expertise – two factors which were at the foundation of [the] creation of the Fund for Health."

Mahoney expressed his appreciation to Harris Philanthropies, who share the Fund for Health’s mission of targeting health inequities. 

“[Fund for Health] can make an even greater impact when like-minded collaborators who share [its] mission also decide, following their own diligence, to make follow-on investments,” Mahoney told Penn Med. “I am thrilled Josh and Marjorie Harris will be joining forces with us in this way to propel our vision to improve the social determinants of health in our city."