A Meaningful Investment
Hedge fund manager Ted Kang, W’97, has made many impactful investments throughout his successful career, but he will quickly tell you that one of the most meaningful by far has been supporting students at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Education can help solve many complex social issues we face today,” he says. “With my giving, I hope to play a small role in creating sustainable and positive social impact.”
For Kang, that means working to support initiatives that foster an inclusive learning environment and focusing on areas that are close to his heart. In 2013, he established an endowed scholarship for Wharton undergraduates who attended high school in an Asian or Asian Pacific Island nation. “Studies have shown that people who interact with others from different cultures early in life feel more comfortable and safer with other cultures later on,” he shares. “This enhances empathy, acceptance, and respect among students from different backgrounds and cultures, which is crucial for future leaders.”
Kang credits Penn’s diverse, vibrant community for positively shaping his own career trajectory. After earning a degree in economics with a dual concentration in finance and accounting, Kang entered the investment banking field as an analyst at Lazard M&A, then as an associate at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. In 2001, he joined Tiger Management, helping to launch Tiger Asia the same year, and started his own firm, Kylin Management, in 2006. “There’s something unique about Penn that pushes you to do better and reach higher,” Kang explains.
Powered by his own life-changing experience, his latest leadership gift created the Kang Family President’s Challenge Fund, which will both advance equitable access for undergraduates and provide matching funds to scholarship gifts made by other donors to any School at the University. “Investment in education is by far one of the most rewarding contributions one can ever make, and I hope with this Challenge Fund to inspire others to consider giving back,” Kang says.
Kang’s own gift was motivated, in part, by the $1 million match he received from the President’s Men and Women of Pennsylvania Challenge. Created in September 2021, the President’s Men and Women of Pennsylvania Challenge offered an extraordinary 1:1 match to 10 donors who made a $1 million gift—ultimately establishing 10 distinct $2 million funds for matching gifts. Donors who took advantage of this round of matching funds joined the Men and Women of Pennsylvania leadership group, which recognizes generous donors who have made cumulative gifts of more than $2 million to financial aid within a five-year period.
“I was able to double the size of my gift,” Kang says. “Quite the investment multiplier.”
Whether by inspiring increased support for undergraduate financial aid or maximizing the reach of his own philanthropy, a Challenge Fund simply made sense to Kang, who approaches giving and business in similar ways. “I first try to find an area that is familiar and personal to me, then I try to define what success looks like,” he shares. “I think that those philanthropic results should be measurable, repeatable, and multiply over time.” For the students whose lives have been forever changed by his generosity, this is a strategy that continues to pay dividends.