Black billionaire Robert F. Smith is investing in the futures of Morehouse men. According to the institution, Smith—who leads Vista Equity Partners—has donated $1.5 million to the historically Black college.
The funds will go towards scholarships for students and the addition of a new outdoor study area on the Atlanta-based campus. The scholarships will be dispersed through a new scholars program which will be named after the prominent philanthropist and businessman. The rest of the donation was used to purchase land near the school’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center for the development of a park.
“Robert F. Smith’s donation of $1 million for student scholarships will have a profound impact on the lives of deserving young men who have the desire to attend Morehouse College, but lack the resources,” Morehouse President David A. Thomas said in a statement released by the college. “We appreciate his generosity and his investment in a generation of students who will follow in his footsteps as global leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Smith’s business acumen has made him a power player in the realm of entrepreneurship. His software and technology investment company Vista Equity Partners had $43 billion worth of capital commitments and owned over 50 software enterprises as of 2018. Using his resources to give back is nothing new for Smith. He is the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s largest private donor.
“This museum says that we African Americans are at the center of it all. And now there is a creative and elegant building that is not just a temple, but is alive,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post about his donation. “This is a way of preserving our history for generations and ensuring that the stories of our families continue to be told, generation after generation.”