Penn President Liz Magill and Wharton dean Erika James are delighted to announce a $10 million gift to establish the Robin S. Wolpow, and Marc B. Wolpow, Fund for Healthcare Entrepreneurship at Venture Lab, the center for student entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania. The Wolpows’ landmark gift, facilitated through the Arbour Way Foundation (AWF), will create vibrant programming focused on health care innovation and co-curricular learning and collaboration across the University of Pennsylvania.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to Robin and Marc Wolpow for sharing in Penn’s goal to ignite innovation across disciplines,” said President Magill. “Their visionary gift will provide the resources for students and faculty to develop, test, and scale more of their innovative ideas to have a long-lasting impact on health care. It will spur the launch of startups that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and the broader community.”
The Wolpows’ commitment will establish and enhance connections across Penn to nurture student opportunities in health care entrepreneurship. With the Wolpows’ gift, Venture Lab will invite seasoned executives with experience in entrepreneurship to lead a health care vertical and provide invaluable insights to students. It will create a launchpad for student exploration through events, workshops, and internships—as well as awards and prizes supporting pre-seed startup development and discovery costs. An incubator and accelerator will engage Penn faculty and alumni experts and support student ventures in the health care space. The Wolpows’ gift will also fund case studies, research, a dedicated course, and an acceleration lab enabling students to examine alumni ventures and undertake consulting projects.
“I am deeply grateful for Robin and Marc’s devotion to expanding upon the Venture Lab ecosystem through health care entrepreneurship,” said Dean Erika James. “Venture Lab is a true destination for incubating and launching startups, providing Wharton and Penn students with the tools and the support they need to bring their ideas to fruition. The Wolpows’ philanthropic vision and involvement will match the entrepreneurial ambitions of students, bringing them together with one another as well as alumni and faculty leaders to tackle problems and create imperative solutions in health care.”
This leadership donation from the Wolpows coincides with their establishment of The Arbour Way Foundation, which supports health equity, educational opportunity, reproductive rights, and environmental defense. While Marc Wolpow earned his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School in 1980, he started his Penn education as a student of arts and sciences, with the intention of studying medicine. Wolpow went on to lead a purposeful career in finance and private equity and remained strongly interested in health care.
The Wolpows have been dedicated champions of health care and the arts, as well as loyal and committed sponsors of Wharton and Penn. The Wolpows are joined in their support of Penn by their daughter and Penn alumna, Nina W. Rosborough, who currently serves on the advisory board for Kelly Writers House.
“Student entrepreneurs at Wharton and Penn possess unparalleled drive, enthusiasm, and creativity,” said Lori Rosenkopf, vice dean of entrepreneurship, Simon and Midge Palley Professor, and Wharton faculty director at Venture Lab. “I am thrilled to partner with the Wolpows in offering these new opportunities to Venture Lab’s innovators. The health care space is one that is ripe for disruption, and I know we will see impactful businesses, products, and ideas launched in the coming years.” Rosenkopf continued, “The Wolpows have extended their generosity of time and insight from the start, providing a sturdy foundation with a multitude of supportive resources to build momentum in the years ahead.”
The Wolpows have been deeply involved with Penn and Wharton for decades, making diverse contributions to various causes. They have strengthened creative programs at Penn through several initiatives, including the Kelly Writers House, the RealArts Internship Fund, the Creative Ventures Fund, and the Wolpow Family Support Fund. These programs provide support for Penn undergraduate student summer internships, projects, programs, and mentoring. Additionally, the Wolpows have established the Wolpow Family Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students at Wharton, and the Wolpow Family Faculty Scholar Award for junior faculty at the School. They are also loyal donors to The Wharton Fund and the Penn Fund, which provide important unrestricted funding for the School and University, respectively.
“We are delighted to provide foundational support to the Venture Lab and to partner with Wharton and Penn in creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem that spurs innovation in health care,” said Marc Wolpow. “Robin and I want to provide an enduring platform that catalyzes collaboration and allows budding entrepreneurs and students to push the boundaries of what is possible and bring their most audacious ideas to life. With this gift, Robin and I hope to provide opportunities and help support future leaders, as much as future businesses.”
Marc Wolpow is co-chief executive officer and co-founder of Audax Group, a leading alternative investment manager with offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and London. Marc and Robin launched AWF in 2022 and over the past year, the foundation has supported Boston Children’s Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The American Civil Liberties Union, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), among other philanthropic organizations. Marc has extensive experience serving public organizations through prior memberships on the boards of trustees of Boston Children’s Hospital, Dartmouth Health, The Belmont Hill School, and The Park School. He is also an emeritus member of Wharton’s Undergraduate Executive Board.
Venture Lab, housed in one of the University’s newest buildings, Tangen Hall, is a partnership of the Wharton School, Penn Engineering, and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design. The program initially launched as Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs and evolved into Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship before being revamped as Venture Lab. Though Venture Lab is the newest incarnation, it has been the home of entrepreneurship on campus with a 50-year history.
Through Venture Lab and its former iterations, Wharton and Penn have supported many young entrepreneurs in dreaming up and starting their new business ideas, giving founders the knowledge, experience, and backing necessary to bring innovation to the world.