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Profiles in generosity

Sally Yu ’00 and Jeff Shen

San Francisco, California
October 20, 2020
Sally Yu and Jeff Shen
Sally Yu and Jeff Shen
Courtesy Photo

Sally Yu became an MIT volunteer almost immediately after graduating. “It’s like I never left!” she says. “For the little volunteering I do, I gain so much in knowledge, friendships, and personal growth.” She and her spouse, Jeff Shen, recently continued their support of the Institute by creating the Yu Endowed Scholarship Fund for undergraduates as Yu’s 20th-reunion gift. 

Supporting economic mobility. Yu received financial aid and held multiple jobs as a student. “Attending MIT was a transformative experience for me,” she says. As chief investment officer of the endowment that supports the contemporary dance company ODC/Dance, she combines her passion for the arts—discovered through MIT’s ballroom dance team—and her technical skills in investing. “I’m a prime example of the economic mobility that so many MIT graduates have because of scholarship support,” she says. Shen also received financial support from his alma maters. “As I’ve gotten to know the Institute, I’ve been very much inspired by its mission and purpose,” he says. As co-chief investment officer of the systematic active equity division at BlackRock, he has also found himself recruiting MIT graduates who have essential knowledge in machine learning and data-driven analysis. 

A precedent for problem-solving. The couple cites MIT’s rapid response in tackling “the big issues” as one reason they continue to stay involved. “We made the gift right before covid-19 hit, and now the pandemic is affecting the student body in different ways,” Yu says. “We hope the fund will inspire others about the importance of philanthropy to the lives of MIT students, now and in the future.”

Help MIT build a better world. 
For information, contact Amy Goldman
617.253.4082; goldmana@mit.edu 
giving.mit.edu/planned-giving

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