The Caps to Community Fund will allow University of Pennsylvania graduates to re-affirm commencement traditions while taking part in collective action to mobilize untapped resources on behalf of Philadelphia. Through an alternative approach to graduation regalia we are creating a sustainable annual fund to support the immediate neighborhoods around campus.
While the minimum amount that Caps to Community is positioned to raise annually—$12,000—is not insignificant, it is also, like the wearing of graduation regalia, a symbolic act. We are embracing that Penn is a deeply interconnected part of a larger community, we are acknowledging the brokenness and inequality that exists in Philadelphia, as well as the abundant beauty and opportunities to take constructive action, and we are hopeful that Caps to Community will be one of many efforts to live in a just, joyful, and empowering society.
Through this act, we uphold the values established by Benjamin Franklin in his 1749 proposal that led to the founding of this University:
With the whole should be constantly inculcated and cultivated, that Benignity of Mind, which shows itself in searching for and seizing every Opportunity to serve and to oblige... The Idea of what is true Merit… should indeed be the great Aim and End of all Learning.