About us

"It's amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit."

-Harry S. Truman


Collective Cause is a 501c3 nonprofit that was founded in the summer of 2018 by students at the University of Pennsylvania. Our sole mission is to advance sustainability at the city level.


Generational issues of sustainability — including climate change, food insecurity, equitable access to healthcare, and responsible production and consumption — necessitate local, creative solutions. There are many ways to tackle such challenges, but Collective Cause mobilizes students in cities for two reasons. Students, who comprise the tail end of the Millennial generation and the front lines of Generation Z, view sustainability as a personal issue that holds consequences within the span of their lifetimes. Furthermore, cities represent the densest locus of population growth, energy consumption, natural resource consumption, technological innovation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, if any effort towards sustainability must be focused, it ought to occur in major cities across the US.

What do we do?

Collective Cause unites students, educators, municipal authorities, and businesses to tackle the most pressing sustainability issues in cities. To that end, Collective Cause houses a Challenge Center, which is an open-innovation platform designed for sustainability, and we learn and apply existing solutions from other cities to advance sustainability in Philadelphia. In the same vein, we open-source all of our solutions from our Challenge Center for other municipalities to leverage.

How can I get involved?

We are currently looking for three types of individuals: problem solvers, challenge creators, and project partners.

Problem solvers include students who would like to join Collective Cause's effort to tackle systemic sustainability issues in Philadephia. If you are currently a student in Philadelphia with a passion for sustainability, please introduce yourself to team@collectivecause.org with the email subject "Solver Introduction: [INSERT YOUR NAME]".

Challenge creators include individuals or organizations that would like to frame a challenge for our Challenge Center. After the challenge has been posted, Collective Cause's student body will tackle the challenge. This serves as a great way to engage students in sustainability challenges that will make a difference in society. If this interests you, please introduce yourself to team@collectivecause.org with the email subject "Challenge Introduction: [INSERT YOUR NAME OR ORGANIZATION'S NAME]".

Project partners include any individual or organization who would like to work with Collective Cause to bring a solution to Philadelphia. For example, if you or your organization has an innovative solution for Philadelphia's stormwater management system, Collective Cause will help you bring your solution in front of relevant stakeholders (e.g. Philadelphia Water Department). If this applies to you, please introduce yourself and your project to team@collectivecause.org.