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June 27, 2022

Josh and Marjorie Harris announce new funding initiative with Penn Medicine

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Joshua-Marjorie-Harris-Sixers Alex Subers/via Sixers

Marjorie and Joshua Harris.

Sixers managing partner Joshua Harris and his wife Marjorie have announced a new initiative where they will invest $1 million in companies funded by the Penn Medicine-Wharton Fund for Health. The goal of this undertaking is to improve the livelihood of Philadelphians while focusing on the social determinants of health.

More info from the Sixers is available below:

Philanthropists Josh Harris, managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, and his wife, Marjorie Harris, plan to invest $1 million in companies funded by the Penn Medicine – Wharton Fund for Health, a collaboration between Penn Medicine and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School that invests in early-stage businesses working to improve the social determinants of health of economically disadvantaged Philadelphians. The initiative was first announced in August 2021, with initial plans for a $5 million investment over the following three years.

“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,” said Josh Harris, Managing Partner of the Philadelphia 76ers. “There are so many factors that contribute to overall health and well-being – 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.” 

Social determinants of health include issues such as food insecurity and lack of access to quality healthcare or stable housing, which affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. Philadelphia County is among the hardest hit cities in the nation by the toll of these disparities, with more than 25 percent of residents living in poverty, 20 percent coping with food insecurity, and nearly 15 percent of its residents uninsured, according to Penn Medicine’s 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment report. 

“No one’s zip code should determine whether they're able to live a healthy life, but tackling longstanding, systemic problems requires a creative approach and diverse expertise – two factors which were at the foundation of our creation of the Fund for Health,” said University of Pennsylvania Health System CEO Kevin B. Mahoney. “We can make an even greater impact when like-minded collaborators who share this mission also decide, following their own diligence, to make follow-on investments. 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.”

The four companies who this far have received funding are Kinvolved, Lula, Uptrust and RecoveryLink:

Kinvolved, a leader in developing communications software to reduce absenteeism in underserved school districts, which has subsequently been acquired by PowerSchool, a cloud-based K-12 educational software provider.

Lula, which provides a platform and support for small, often family-owned convenience stories pharmacies and other brick-and-mortar stores to deliver to customers via apps like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber EATS.

Uptrust, a customer relationship management tool that helps keep people out of the criminal justice system by avoiding unnecessary technical violations, like missing court dates or probation appointments.

RecoveryLink, a telehealth and electronic recovery records platform that improves the availability and delivery of recovery support services to people experiencing substance use and mental health disorders.

This continues a pre-existing relationship between the Harris' philanthropy efforts and and Penn Medicine that previously helped deploy COVID-19 antibody testing to Philadelphia doctors and nurses early in the pandemic.

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