Penn's Fels Institute of Government Announces Winner of First National Invitational Public Policy Challenge

PHILADELPHIA -- The Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania announced that team Kinvolved from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service has been selected the winner of the inaugural National Invitational Public Policy Challenge ( held on Sunday, April 22, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.


The winning proposal detailed a mobile app to empower caregivers of students in the New York City Department of Education with timely student attendance information to ensure that all children are present in school all day, every day. The proposal was presented by NYU team members Miriam Altman, Barrie Charney Golden and Alexandra Meis.


The National Invitational Public Policy Challenge, presented in celebration of Fels’ 75th anniversary year, is a student-led, public policy competition for undergraduate and graduate students from invited universities across the country. Each team presented a comprehensive policy proposal or civic campaign to address an issue specific to their university’s community, with topics including education, environment, and healthcare. The National Competition followed up on the success of Fels’ third annual Public Policy Challenge, open specifically to students at the University of Pennsylvania. The winning team from the Public Policy Challenge, Closing Schools, Opening Opportunities, represented Penn in the National Competition.


“The students that participated in this competition are a testament to the fact that young people can do more than just sit it out,” said David Thornburgh, Fels executive director. “In a time where so many young people are feeling disenfranchised, these students are taking proactive and productive steps to better our communities. We commend all the participants on their passionate and insightful proposals and congratulate the Kinvolved team on their exciting win.” 


Judges for the National Invitational Public Policy Challenge were Wanda Gibson, director, Information Technology Department, Virginia; Parris N. Glendening, former governor of Maryland; Bill Leighty, former chief of staff to former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia; and John Gibbons, federal consulting leader and principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. 


The other teams that participated in the National Competition were:


  • Closing Schools, Opening Opportunities from Fels
  • Washington Biogas and Renewable Energy Coalition from the Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington
  • Three Rivers Bike Share from the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Eco-Drive Chicago from the Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago 


The Kinvolved team received a $15,000 prize, $7,500 for team members and $7,500 to put their proposal into action.


The National Invitational Public Policy Challenge is presented by Deloitte Consulting Group, as well as The Knight Foundation, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal and G. Geoffrey Cromarty and Loredana Cromarty.