The idea of “impact investing” is gaining a great deal of attention these days, including in undergraduate education. While many institutions have offered classes in strategic philanthropy in recent years, and of course in traditional business investing for many, we have focused our efforts at SEI on developing educational programs for a new third way of investing. This new investment discipline involves socially minded investors providing capital to both for profit and non-profit enterprises that are committed to efficiently addressing social problems in both a sustainable and innovative way.
Earlier this month we lost one of our beloved students, Naman Shah, to an untimely death at the age of 21. His short life reminds me of a something I read long ago, that given a choice between a life of comfort and a life of meaning, the wise person will choose the latter. We too often hear of unnecessary and premature deaths in the world, in fact we’ve all seen the statistic that several thousand children die needlessly each day from poverty and disease. Every life matters, and yet when it’s someone you know, whose path crossed yours, the idea of a senseless death in the face of such promise is that much more powerful.