Top 10 Social Issues for the President’s First 100 Days

As the only university-based center focused on how philanthropy can attain greater social impact, CHIP is deeply invested in education, for both Penn students and the broader audience of those interested in positive social change. Likewise, the leadership of our home school, the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), is committed not only to teaching on campus, but to taking knowledge beyond its walls and making it widely available. To that end, SP2 is launching a new online course addressing what the faculty believe to be some of the most pressing social problems facing our country today, and examining the role of government in addressing them.

There are many ways that donors can create positive social change, including volunteering, funding direct service organizations, and supporting research and innovation. For those interested in advocating for policy change, this course will give useful context on ten important issues, including ending homelessness, transforming our work society, and addressing child poverty.

We are excited to be part of a school researching solutions to some of the most important issues facing our country and our world, and invite you to enhance your journey towards impact by learning from our colleagues.


By John L. Jackson, Jr., PhD, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice

On Friday, January 20th, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office and become the 45th President of the United States. Following the inauguration, he will work with Congress to pass new laws and to implement new policies that will impact all of us. As the President, he will work to lead a national conversation on what he and his administration believe are the nation’s highest priorities.

What happens if the issues you want discussed are not part of that national conversation? What happens if the challenges facing you are not being addressed? Does that mean that we shouldn’t talk about them? We think not.

In a way, the first 100 days of a presidential administration is a sampling of what we can expect for the full term. At the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), we believe the issues that should be discussed are the ones that directly impact you.

Last year, as the campaigns were gearing up, the faculty at SP2 identified what they saw as some of the “Top 10” social justice and policy issues facing our country. The ideas ranged from ending homelessness to transforming “work” to addressing child poverty. While these are not always the same issues dominating current news cycles, they are still critically important to our society. Regardless of what issues are being discussed at any given time, it is clear that right now is the precisely the right time to talk about issues that are of concern to you and your community. This is not the time to sit back and see what happens. Your participation in a national conversation will be what turns good policy into impactful practice.

From research on in-depth social issues to advice on how to engage in national conversations about the issues you care about, we encourage you to enroll in our edX course, The Top 10 Social Issues for the President’s First 100 Days. The discussion starts on January 20, 2017 and runs through May 1. Along the way, we will continually update the materials and make sure you know, in real time, what is unfolding on the national level on the issues presented here. We will post pertinent articles and thoughtful commentaries, and we hope you get involved.

Join the national conversation today and register for the Top 10 Social Issues for the President’s First 100 Days here.