News Details

Taking Ideas to the Next Level

NPL Candidate Casey Combs

Authored by: Rose Bender

Gifts & Giving


NPL candidate Casey Combs said his experience at the Schwartz Family Penn Social Impact House took his idea for a nonprofit to the next level.

Combs, who works at the Philadelphia Zoo as the Corporate and Foundation Relations Associate, is slated to open his own nonprofit, Philly PlaceMakers that will empower communities to create public spaces in their neighborhoods.

“I have always been interested in creating resiliency in communities and urban environmentalism,” Combs explained. “I love the outdoors and the vibrancy of cities and firmly believe they don’t have to be exclusive of each other.”

Combs previously worked with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society where he helped to created three pop-up gardens in Philadelphia.

The Schwartz Family Penn Social Impact House brings together Penn students and recent alumni for two weeks to design effective solutions for social change. Expert mentors in entrepreneurship, design thinking, and strategy and operations provide tools, skills, and networks to activate these ideas.

“We helped young social entrepreneurs transform their initial ideas into a detailed plan for social action,” explained Peter Frumkin, PhD, Mindy and Andrew Heyer Chair in Social Policy, Faculty Director and Founder of the program. “Living together for two weeks can lead to some powerful relationships, network, and community.

For Combs, the program was an opportunity to craft his message and connect with like-minded individuals and mentors.

“I came with a basic idea of what I wanted to accomplish and left with a clear plan,” he explained.

Combs heard about the program during a course in Social Entrepreneurship taught by Dr. Frumkin.

“I would recommend [the Schwartz Family Penn Social Impact House] to anyone that has an idea and is interested in taking it to the next level,” he said.

Combs plans to complete his Master in Nonprofit Leadership this fall.