Loo ’18 Enjoys Working for Philanthropic Foundation
by tom campisi, managing editor
A student at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Stephanie Loo was ideally positioned for a career on Wall Street. A 2017 summer internship with Goldman Sachs led to the promise of a job offer with the prestigious financial firm post-graduation.
In addition to valuable field experience, the summer internship in New York also provided Loo ’18 with a networking opportunity that would alter her vocational path. Loo was involved in the Goldman Sachs Fellowship, which met weekly to read the Bible and Christian books, such as Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods. The “Just Show Up” concept, which requires no prior reading or homework, was introduced to the Goldman Sachs Fellowship by The Grace and Mercy Foundation, a private family foundation that makes investments through grants and hosts Public Reading of Scripture and Just Show Up events on a weekly basis.At one of the Goldman Sachs Fellowship meetings, Loo met Bill Hwang, CEO and co-founder of Archegos Capital Management and The Grace and Mercy Foundation, and Sumi Kim, president of The Grace and Mercy Foundation.
“Christian Union gave me a great foundation of developing spiritual disciplines, a love for Scripture, and an understanding of the need for community in order to flourish.”
“Immediately, I was drawn to the impact that Archegos Capital Management and The Grace and Mercy Foundation have had through their thoughtful investments, both in the marketplace and in the philanthropic world,” she said.
A few months later, in the fall semester at Wharton, Loo sensed that God was not calling her to return to Goldman Sachs.
“It was a very difficult decision to make, but I ended up turning down my offer, trusting that He would open another door for me,” she said.
A door did open. Although she received other job offers, Loo believed that she would best use her God-given talents and passions at The Grace and Mercy Foundation in New York City, where she was hired as an associate. Today, Loo primarily works on grantmaking, where the organization takes a long-term investment approach to the ways it partners with non-profit organizations. Loo’s portfolio of grantees consists primarily of organizations in the mercy ministry space (homelessness, incarceration, barriers to employment, etc.).
“I was not looking for a job in philanthropy, but when the opportunity came to work at the Grace and Mercy Foundation, I knew I resonated with its mission—to support the poor and oppressed, and help people learn, grow, and serve,” she said. “I felt that God was calling me here to work with incredible grantees.”
With a degree in economics and concentrations in Management and Operations, Information, and Decisions (OID), the Queens, New York, native is prepared to help extend grace and mercy to non-profit organizations. She is thankful for the professional and spiritual development she experienced at Penn.
“At Wharton, I developed a strong sense of working with excellence and an understanding of how business can and should be used for human flourishing,” Loo said. “A lot of my management classes, especially, taught me how to work effectively in teams and how to problem solve.”
Loo recalled the spiritual growth she experienced with Christian Union as a freshman and sophomore.
“Christian Union gave me a great foundation of developing spiritual disciplines, a love for Scripture, and an understanding of the need for community in order to flourish. I’m grateful for the opportunities I had—to be mentored and to mentor, to discuss and share about difficult issues, and to learn how to integrate my faith into my studies and work,” she said.
The biggest impact came in Bible courses.
“I learned so much, week after week,” Loo said. “Christian Union Ministry Fellow John Cunningham was able to pull gems out of Scripture and helped me to understand certain passages of the Bible in ways I hadn’t before. He asked difficult, deep questions that really made us think critically about the Gospel and what God was saying to us through His Word. Additionally, the community aspect was an important piece as well. John and his wife, Caitlyn, always opened up their home to us and had us over for dinner.”
At the Grace and Mercy Foundation, Loo has found a similar regard for Scripture reading and intellectual engagement. In addition to working with a wide array of non-profits such as International Justice Mission, NYC Relief, and Bowery Mission, the Public Reading of Scripture groups and Just Show Up book clubs bring together Christians in Manhattan.
A Just Show Up book club, hosted by The Grace and Mercy Foundation in New York.
“We encourage people to gather regularly in community for extended periods of time to listen to and read Scripture and great books together. It’s been such a formative part of my own spiritual growth, and we’ve seen the ways that this has impacted many communities—workplaces, schools, churches, and families,” she said.
Richelle Bryan, Stephanie’s direct manager at Grace and Mercy, said her business acumen and spiritual maturity have been assets to the organization. Archegos Capital Management and The Grace and Mercy Foundation are located in the same office.
“Stephanie is very comfortable with both staff and partners from our for-profit and social profit sides of the firm,” Bryan said. “She is well versed in many areas and is comfortable initiating conversations with people from all professional and cultural backgrounds. This is very important since we are integrated with the staff and work of Archegos in many different ways. Second, she is genuinely interested in the work of our partners, working with the poor and the oppressed.”
Loo is pleased to work for an organization where she can use her business background to help make investment decisions within the non-profit space. She also appreciates “the culture of excellence and integrity that runs throughout Archegos Capital Management and The Grace and Mercy Foundation.”
“I have learned so much, both from the people I work with and from the practice of regularly being in Scripture and learning from great books,” she said. “It is through this culture that we are able to see great investment results and returns, both in the for-profit and philanthropic world.”