Benjamin Franklin Society

Established in 1955, the Benjamin Franklin Society (BFS) is the University of Pennsylvania’s leadership annual giving circle. Members of the Benjamin Franklin Society generously contribute $2,500 or more annually to The Wharton Fund. Recent MBA graduates, 0–4 years since graduation, are able to join with gifts of $1,000 or more. Wharton thrives on the generous leadership support of BFS members.

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Percentage of total dollars raised that came from BFS donors in Fiscal Year 2021.
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Number of BFS donors in Fiscal Year 2021 – the highest number on record to date.
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Percentage of donors who gave at the BFS level in Fiscal Year 2021.

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Benjamin Franklin Society membership levels at the Wharton School are:

YOUNG FRANKLIN SOCIETY

Eligible for Wharton Graduate Alumni 0-4 years since graduation, the Young Franklin Society is for recent graduates who want to be philanthropic leaders immediately after graduation.

ASSOCIATE

The Associate Level is the entry point to membership in the Benjamin Franklin Society.

FELLOW

The Fellow Level is for donors who wish to take their commitment to the next level. This level is most utilized by those making a sustaining impact with a $25,000 commitment over five years.

FOUNDER

The Founder Level is the society’s most rapidly growing level of membership. This level is ideal for those considering a sustaining impact with a $50,000 commitment over five years.

JOSEPH WHARTON SOCIETY

Named for the School’s founder, the Joseph Wharton Society is one of the society’s most impactful levels due to the number of members and the generosity of their contributions. This level is ideal for those considering a sustaining impact with a $125,000 commitment over five years.

ANVIL SOCIETY

The Anvil Society is named after the anvil, a symbol of the Wharton School, which is an homage to Joseph Wharton’s contributions to the metal industry. This level is ideal for those considering a sustaining impact with a $250,000 commitment over five years.

DEAN’S CIRCLE

The Dean’s Circle represents a small, elite group of the School’s most generous leadership donors who make up less than one percent of all Wharton Fund donors, but whose contributions account for a substantial portion of the Fund’s total giving. This level is ideal for those considering a sustaining impact with a $500,000 commitment over five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

▼ How do I become a Benjamin Franklin Society member?

Donors who make one gift, or a combination of gifts, to The Wharton Fund, equal to or in excess of $2,500 in a single fiscal year are automatically recognized as members of the Benjamin Franklin Society.  For recent graduates (0-4 years out), the minimum annual donation amount is $1,000.

Donors always retain the right to be anonymous members and this does not affect their status as a Benjamin Franklin Society member.

The University and the Wharton School’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

▼ How are BFS members recognized?

Benjamin Franklin Society members receive recognition at University and School events and in publications such as Wharton’s annual Donor Honor Roll.  To view the School’s most recent Donor Honor Roll, click here.

Benjamin Franklin Society members also enjoy benefits such as early access to events and seminars, and an invitation to the annual BFS reception, as an added thank you for their generous leadership support of the School.

▼ What gifts are included in the BFS?

While the Wharton School is grateful for support of any kind, only those gifts designated to The Wharton Fund make a donor eligible for the Wharton’s School Benjamin Franklin Society membership.

Gifts toward any annual fund across the University qualify a donor for membership in the University’s Benjamin Franklin Society.

▼ Is there a minimum gift to qualify for BFS membership?

Yes.  Donors must make one gift, or a combination of gifts and pledge payments, equal to or in excess of $2,500 to The Wharton Fund in a single fiscal year to be recognized as a member of the Benjamin Franklin Society.

For recent graduates (0-4 years out from graduation), the minimum annual donation amount is $1,000 or more to The Wharton Fund to qualify for the Young Franklin Society.

The University and the Wharton School’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

For more information about the Benjamin Franklin Society, or questions regarding your support, please contact us at whartonfund@wharton.upenn.edu, or call +1.215.898.7868.

Thank You to Our Benjamin Franklin Society Donors

Your leadership as a member of the Benjamin Franklin Society is critical to Wharton’s ability to build on its tradition and legacy of excellence. BFS participation has an undeniable impact on the School’s ability to remain dynamic, resilient, and at the forefront of global business education and thought leadership.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin Signature

Stories

Campaign in Review

Experience Impact in Action

The world and its complex challenges require innovative solutions. The More Than Ever campaign positioned Wharton to meet these challenges head on. Philanthropic support during this campaign significantly increased Wharton’s capacity to incubate ideas, power insights, and create leaders who change the world.

Ways to Give

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact The Wharton Fund at +1.215.898.7868 or whartonfund@wharton.upenn.edu

The University's fiscal year is July 1 – June 30.

▼ Give by Phone

Call The Wharton Fund at +1.215.898.7868

▼ Give by Mail

At this time, we are asking that all checks be sent directly to the bank for processing. Please include your name (and your spouse’s name if applicable), affiliation(s) and how to allocate your gift (ex. The Wharton Fund).

Make checks payable to
“The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania”

For USPS
University of Pennsylvania
Office of the Treasurer
PO BOX 71332
Philadelphia, PA 19176-9913

For FedEx and UPS Deliveries Only
University of Pennsylvania
Wharton External Affairs
Suite 300 FMC Tower
2929 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

▼ Gifts of Cash

Cash gifts can be made by check or charged to a credit card. Charitable gifts of cash are deductible up to 60% of the donor’s adjusted gross income in the year of the gift with any balance carried forward up to five more years. In valuing any charitable gift for tax purposes, the donor must reduce the gift amount by the fair market value of any goods or services received from the charity.  Wharton’s Fiscal Year is July 1- June 30.

Use Our Secure Giving Site

▼ Donor-Advised Funds or Private Foundations

Recommend or direct gifts through donor-advised funds or private foundations.
Penn’s Tax ID/EIN is 23-1352685
Make donations payable to “The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania”
Designate gift to The Wharton Fund.

▼ Bank Wires

Send your gift via a bank wire to:
Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104

Account Name: The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania – Gifts Accounting
Account# 2000030009956
Reference: Name and Affiliation (example: Susan Lee, WG’99)

For Domestic Wires and ACH’s
ABA Routing #: 121-000-248

For International Wires Only
SWIFT CODE: WFBIUS6S
CHIPS: 0407

▼ Appreciated Securities

The transfer of stock from a donor to Wharton is a fairly simple transaction. Morgan Stanley serves as the University’s main brokerage firm. You will need to work directly with your broker to complete a transfer form and initiate a transfer of stock to the University of Pennsylvania. If you hold the certificate, it is best if those certificates remain unendorsed and you complete a separate stock power form authorizing transfer of ownership from the donor to Wharton.

▼ Charitable Gifts Through Your IRA

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, has extended the IRA Charitable Rollover permanently. The extension allows individuals age 70½ and older to donate up to $100,000 from their IRAs to The Wharton School tax-free. You do not receive an income tax charitable deduction. This provision allows you to transfer money from your IRA directly to Wharton, without having to recognize the transfer as taxable income. You should consult with your tax advisors about your specific situations.

The sample letter can be used to send to your IRA plan provider.

▼ Matching Gifts

Don’t miss the unique opportunity to increase the impact of your giving through a matching gift program. To find out if your employer participates and learn more about how to apply a match to your Wharton Fund gift, visit Penn’s matching gifts database. Most matching gifts are made by companies employing Wharton alumni, including:

  • Bank of America
  • Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Wells Fargo
  • And many more

For more information concerning the Matching Gifts Program, you can call +1.215.898.5069 or contact devgifts@dev.upenn.edu.

▼ Giving from Outside U.S.

If you live outside the United States and are considering a gift to Wharton, please visit Penn’s Giving from Outside the U.S. website. If you are a taxpayer in one of the following areas, please visit our country-specific giving pages before making your gift as your contribution may qualify for tax benefits in your home country.

Canada
Europe
Hong Kong
United Kingdom

▼ Planned Gifts

Planned gifts can be made through bequests, unitrusts, life insurance, pooled income funds, and real estate. If you are interested in learning more about planned giving opportunities, call +1.215.898.6171 or click on the link below.

Learn About Planned Gifts