Black Billionaire Robert F. Smith Donates $1.5 Million to Morehouse College

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Robert Smith speaks onstage as Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights hosts The 2015 Ripple Of Hope Awards honoring Congressman John Lewis, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Evercore Co-founder Roger Altman, and UNESCO Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis at New York Hilton on December 8, 2015 in New York City.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images for RFK Human Rights)

While it’s no secret that HBCU’s face significant disadvantages in funding and endowments, it’s always great to see wealthy black men and women invest in our next generation of leaders and difference makers when afforded the opportunity to do so.

To that point, Morehouse College announced that it’s received a $1.5 million donation from Robert R. Smith, the Founder and CEO of Vista Equity.


A million dollars of the money will go toward creating the Robert Frederick Smith Scholars Program, which will fund endowed scholarships, while the rest of the money will be used to develop a new outdoor study area for students near the school’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.

“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,” said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. “We appreciate his generosity and his investment in a generation of students who will follow in his footsteps as global leaders and entrepreneurs.”

On the entrepreneurial front, Smith’s business acumen is second to none. Vista Equity Partners, his company founded in 2000, boasts equity capital commitments of more than $46 billion and not only employs overs 60,000 people worldwide, but oversees a portfolio of more than 50 software companies. But for all his unrivaled success as a business man, it’s his philanthropic work that best conveys his character.

As the founding president of Fund II Foundation, he’s supported nonprofit organizations that focus on African-American culture, music education, human rights, and the environment for years. Not to mention his $20 million dollar gift to the National Museum of African American History and Culture that helped to open its doors and maintain its operations.


“We have to do something,” he told the Washington Post. “We have to do something for our community.”

And hopefully his giving heart inspires others to do the same. 

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Jay Connor

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.