Wireless Philanthropy and Social Impact

Today’s Almanac announced a Verizon Wireless cell phone drive in cooperation with HopeLine, which benefits victims of domestic violence. One of the beneficiaries of this effort is the Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center, led by Dr. Susan Sorenson, in the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2). The cell phone drive is scheduled to run until Saturday, November 7, 2009, and the Penn community is encouraged to participate by donating old cellular devices to the newly opened Verizon store at 3631 Walnut Street in University City. Read more here: https://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v56/n04/hopeline.html After reading this announcement, I began thinking of the technologically-driven campaigns for social impact. Yesterday, while on twitter, I came across a tweet pointing to a Reuters news article about an awareness drive in Ethiopia in which free HIV/AIDS tests are being advertised via text message (SMS) to cell phone holders in Sub-Saharan Africa. More here: https://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5874V720090908. Earlier this year, the FastCompany blog featured three winners of a contest for a Wireless Innovation Project to address social issues such as education, economic development, and health, sponsored by the Vodafone Americas Foundation.The winners were also highlighted at the Global Philanthropy Forum’s 2009 Annual Conference in April of this year. These are but a handful of examples of how technology is being used to address the serious challenges we face today. As a follow-up to last week’s post on how nonprofits are or are not using social media, we welcome your thoughts on how to best integrate technology and social impact for the benefit of disadvantaged populations in the U.S. and abroad.