College Grad Challenges Alumni to Give Now

By Elizabeth Pokempner

Adam Levin, C’05, WG’09, wants Penn Arts and Sciences alumni to know that now is the time to give back. “Many young alumni want to support Penn but think they should wait until they are older,” explains Adam. His recent gift, which provides matching funds to alumni donors giving to the Arts and Sciences Annual Fund, seeks to change that.

Adam’s challenge will supplement gifts to the Arts and Sciences Annual Fund from alumni who are beginning their philanthropic relationship with Penn and will qualify them for inclusion in the Benjamin Franklin Society (BFS). The BFS honors Penn’s most generous supporters of unrestricted annual giving funds across the University. “I hope this challenge inspires more young alumni to step up and support Penn Arts and Sciences annual giving,” says Adam.

How it works: A donor commits to supporting the Arts and Sciences Annual Fund with a gift of $1,500 for five years. Adam’s challenge fund matches the gift with $1,000 per year, helping the donor to have an annual impact of $2,500 and a total impact of $12,500 over five years. This opportunity is available to new donors to the Arts and Sciences Annual Fund, or to those who have given at a lower level and want to increase their giving.

For Adam, who works in private equity at an investment firm in Los Angeles, the impetus to give back to the School came as he began to reflect on his time there and the far-reaching impact it has had on his life. “It was a wonderful experience and transformative in so many ways,” says Adam. An English major who was active in a range of activities as an undergrad, including serving on the Undergraduate Advisory Board for the Department of English and participating in Penn Humanities Forum seminars and programs, he went on to receive his M.B.A. at Wharton.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t feel the effects of my time at Arts and Sciences. My ability to analyze and problem-solve comes from there,” says Adam. So does his appreciation of the importance of a dynamic undergraduate educational experience.

“When you are a student at Penn, the resources are so vast, the opportunities so great, the energy of innovation and creativity so strong, and it’s all there for you to take. As an alum who realizes how much I got out of Penn and the School specifically, I see the other side: I understand now that that kind of environment doesn’t happen on its own, and I want to ensure it continues for students today.”

For Adam, gifts to the Arts and Sciences Annual Fund are the best way to do that. The Annual Fund supports scholarships that uphold the promise of a Penn education for extraordinary students regardless of income, bold programs based in new ways of thinking and doing, and path-breaking faculty and student research. This source of flexible funding helps the School respond to unexpected challenges and opportunities that demand immediate action, enabling it to remain a place of unprecedented possibility.

“We are grateful for Adam’s gift,” says Dean Steven Fluharty, “which will provide important support for the School and offer alumni a new dimension in their relationship with Penn.”

“I wouldn’t want Penn to stay the same,” says Adam, who describes it, 11 years after he graduated, as a changed school. “Today, it is an even better version of itself. Gifts to the Annual Fund help make that possible. We’re supporting its drive to be better, to always innovate and reinvent.”

To learn more about how to support the Arts and Sciences Annual Fund, contact Robbie Hain at 215-746-8208 or, or visit