Three Pillars, One Award

Barry Lipman, W’70, seeks to change the world. After co-founding Goldfarb & Lipman LLC, a successful real estate firm, Lipman sought to make an impact through nonprofits, serving on the boards of multiple organizations, including the San Francisco Zoological Society and the Homeless Prenatal Program. But he set his sights on something bigger: the creation of a prize that can have a global impact.

“I wanted the prize to be more than identifying and rewarding one organization,” Lipman says. “I hoped it could be a force for greater good in and of itself.”

“Barry and Marie were really quite thoughtful in outlining their vision for this prize, which…tied into the three pillars,” says Wharton Dean Thomas Robertson. Robertson affirmed the School’s three pillars—innovation, global presence and social impact—in 2007.

This year’s finalists for the inaugural Lipman Family Prize—iDE, Komaza and MedShare—certainly embody all three pillars. (For more information, read out earlier blog post “Three Finalists Named for Lipman Family Prize.”)

While all finalists were worthy, there can only be one winner. This year’s winner is iDE. Upon hearing this, iDE’s CEO Al Doerksen expressed a great deal of gratitude and excitement.

“We’re community of investors,” Doerksen said. “We consider this an investment in our program. We will do you proud.”

The iDE team at the award presentation ceremony, with Barry Lipman, W’70, (far left) looking on. Photo credit: Shira Yudkoff

Finalists were drawn from a pool of nearly 300 applications, each thoroughly evaluated. A student selection committee analyzed all applications and recommended less than 10 percent to the prize committee. The prize committee then cut this number nearly in half. Three finalists were selected after a follow-up round of questions. Teams of students and faculty members traveled to Cambodia, Kenya and Georgia to perform site inspections and additional evaluations. While arduous, the finalists found value in the evaluation process.

“I think any time that you get to go through a process like this, you learn something about yourself as an organization, and it pushes you to be clearer and crisper about where you have strengths, and where you need you to improve, and why you make a difference,” MedShare CEO Meridith Rentz said.

This introspective analysis does not end because the selection process has. All three finalists have entered into a partnership with Wharton and Penn, which leverages the knowledge and abilities of Wharton and Penn, thus amplifying, not just recognizing, organizations’ good work.

Lipman added, “While the award culminates our search, it is, in reality, only a beginning.”

Editor’s note: Georgette Chapman Phillips, David B. Ford Professor of Real Estate and vice dean of the Wharton Undergraduate Division, discussed iDE and the Lipman Prize in a Wharton Blog Network post on April 5. Read more.

We will also provide a more in-depth look on the first annual Lipman Family prize in a feature-length article in the upcoming issue of Wharton Magazine.

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