Image from OFTW (http://www.1fortheworld.org/)
Most Penn students want to make a positive difference in the world, but many aren’t sure where to start. One For The World (OFTW) is a Penn-founded organization that makes giving back easy. Their goal is to encourage students to pledge 1% of their future incomes to effective charities that are in desperate need of help. These charities are carefully reviewed and selected each year by a group of Penn PhD students, along with Wharton MBAs and undergrads. The OFTW concept was originally intended for MBA students, but has since expanded to undergraduates thanks to two current seniors, Lauren D’Amore and Shayna Fertig. The MBA students have been extremely successful in encouraging fellow graduate students to take the pledge, rallying as many as half of MBA students to take the pledge. Last Fall, the MBA chapter raised $28,000 during pledge week. Now the undergraduate co-presidents Lindsey Li (W’19) and Lauren O’Mara (C’19) are trying to increase the numbers of undergraduates taking the 1% pledge. They have had success with many students, especially seniors, and are looking to reach more seniors as graduation approaches. Li and O’Mara interviewed two seniors who have taken the pledge, Lindsey Sawczuk and Kyle Kroeger. The co-presidents hope to inspire other Penn students to take the pledge after reading the firsthand perspectives of Sawczuk and Kroeger.
Lindsey Sawczuk Kyle Kroeger
Major: Biological Basis of Behavior (Minor: Bioethics) Major: BS in Economics
Hometown: Alexandria, VA Hometown: New Providence, NJ
Q: What will you be doing after graduation?
Lindsey Sawczuk (LS): Next year, I will be taking a gap year before medical school and will be enrolling in a post-baccalaureate program.
Kyle Kroeger (KK): I will be attending graduate school at Oxford University.
Q: How did you first hear about One for the World?
LS: I first heard about One for the World through a few friends who are current student ambassadors. After attending a OFTW dinner, I immediately knew that I wanted to become a student ambassador myself.
KK: I first heard about One for the World from the past president – Lauren D’amore – in my junior year. We were talking about career goals and where we saw ourselves a couple years down the road.
Q: Why did One for the World appeal to you?
LS: The organization works to promote making effective philanthropy a part of the daily lives of college students. While at times we may not all consider where our future incomes will be going, taking the pledge is a simple way to ensure thoughtful and meaningful giving to a group of charities that maximize the number of lives saved per dollar spent.
KK: I think everyone has heard some of the horror stories that have come with misdirection of funds in certain nonprofits. Supporting a hand-picked, constantly-updated, and data-driven list of nonprofits is a no-brainer for me. I really like the idea of stretching a dollar to go the furthest it possibly can in improving the lives of people around the world.
Q: How were you involved as an undergrad?
LS: I have been a two-year student ambassador and helped to spread the movement among the undergraduate and alumni communities at Penn.
KK: I was also a student ambassador as an undergraduate for OFTW.
Q: Why did you decide to take the 1% pledge?
LS: I decided to take the 1% pledge because working to improve the health and longevity of the world’s poorest individuals and ending easily preventable deaths is something I firmly support. Taking the pledge also allows me to apply my passion for social impact and healthcare, as the yearly research process ensures that giving goes to the charities with the most impact.
KK: Making an impact is something that I think everyone in our generation feels that they should do — but also may not know where to start. After one year of grad school, I see myself entering the workforce, probably in a demanding job more focused on skill and career development than one focused on having direct social impact.. One for the World allows me to continue focus on what I am best at and work to develop career capital while still maintaining an ability to have a positive impact.
Q: What would you say to a fellow graduating senior (or any undergrad student) who is on the verge of pledging, but has some reservations?
LS: I would encourage them to take the pledge, regardless of what their future looks like. The donation process is easy and by pledging, you are providing life-saving solutions to impoverished communities and are joining a culture of giving that is widespread.
KK: I think there are two convincing statistics that really got me on board with OFTW. First is that 1% is such a small amount. In an eight hour workday, less than 5 minutes of salary is what you are giving up. The second is the percent of income that the average person typically donates anyway. If you are planning on giving to charities, why not do that in a way that helps the most people? It is really hard to talk to people about money. I understand that students have a lot of college debt, and thinking about the 1% number on a yearly basis can be challenging. But when you frame it as the decision to skip out on Starbucks, or buy one less drink when you go out, it is such an easier hurdle to jump over in your head.
Find out more about OFTW here: http://pennea.org/one-for-the-world/
And check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/onefortheworldhere/
If you are ready to take the pledge, check out this page: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/onefortheworld