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Why I Helped Launch a Student Impact Investing Fund at Yale SOM

Leon Meng ’97 recently made a generous gift to Yale SOM to help launch the Meng Impact Investing Fund, a new student-run fund that will enable students to gain experience in making investments in companies with a social purpose. 

Leon Meng giving a video address
Leon Meng addresses the Impact Investing Conference via video.

Transcript of remarks delivered on April 22, 2023.

Today I’m very honored to join the 2023 Yale Impact Investing Conference. It has been my great pleasure to work with the faculty and students at Yale SOM to prepare for the launch of Meng Impact Investment Fund for the past few months. I know today is like a “dream-come-true” moment for many of us at Yale SOM who have been passionate about impact investing for many years and want to play a role in making the world a better place through mission-driven and community-focused investments.

Impact investments are very close to my heart, because I truly believe we are now at a crossroads when it comes to some big questions like climate change, social inequality, and economic imbalances all over the world. We are now also at a critical stage where the demand for impact investments has never been higher.

At Yale SOM, starting with the school’s founding with a focus on public and private management, the faculty and students have always tried to make a difference and go beyond just making money to also undertaking more social and public responsibilities.

Through impact investments, we can put our money into good use and create more long-term sustainable positive impact for our world. We can help people. We can help our communities. We all know there is much to do to address many pressing social and economic problems facing our world today. In Chinese, we have an old saying: “A thousand-mile journey begins now with a single step.” Today our students have taken their first steps. 

I look forward to hearing about more progress about the new student-led fund at Yale and how we can work together to advocate more for impact investing. My firm, Ascendent Capital, and myself will continue to support our faculty and students alongside the journey of impact investing at Yale.

Thank you again for having me to share some thoughts. I wish the 2023 Yale Impact Investing Conference a great success and I hope to see many old and new friends at Yale in person soon.