On October 25, 2021, the Eagle Academy Foundation announced a unique donation by Robert F. Smith of nearly 15,000 shares of stock from Vista Equity Partners’ portfolio companies to each of the nearly 2,900 students, teachers and staff members of the six schools that make up the Eagle Academies for Young Men. This stock donation will include shares in publicly traded Vista companies Jamf (NASDAQ: JAMF), Datto (NYSE: MSP), Ping (NYSE: PING), Integral Ad Science Holding Corp (NASDAQ: IAS) and PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC).
“For far too long, Black Americans have been prevented from accessing resources to build lasting, generational wealth. With this history in mind, the Morehouse Class of 2019 and I are proud to gift these stock shares to the young men of Eagle Academy. From a young age, my parents and community instilled in me the value of saving, and throughout my life I’ve learned that your financial success is not determined by what you buy, but by what you own. I hope this opportunity not only inspires these young students to explore the world of investments, but that it also serves as a catalyst for other companies to join this initiative to arm our youth with the power to control their futures,” said Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners.
Not just a gift, this stock will be a learning tool for young men and educators via the Goalsetter app, which Smith has previously invested in himself. Goalsetter is a Black female-owned software company promotes family investing and saving through its tool. Using memes, gifs, and culturally-relevant financial information, Goalsetter educates with a game-based format that’s engaging for everyone in the family.
“We are proud to partner with The Eagle Academy Foundation and to provide a platform that will scale and achieve Robert F. Smith’s vision of financial literacy among young students of color,” said Goalsetter CEO Tanya Van Court about the partnership.
About Eagle Academies for Young Men
Founded in 2005, nearly 3,000 students currently attend the six schools that make up the Eagle Academies for Young Men in the New York City area, and more than 24,000 students can call themselves past Eagle scholars. Located in challenged neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens, Staten Island, and in Newark, New Jersey, the Eagle Academies provide unique educational opportunities for grade 6-12 young men.
These students not only receive instruction and mentorship from Eagle teachers and staff, but they also form a network of role models for others in their communities. Eagle students graduate high school at higher rates than the national average for male students of color (89% vs. 59%), and attend colleges at higher rates as well, (98% of Eagle scholars were accepted to college in 2020, according to the Eagle website).
Robert F. Smith, a vocal supporter of increased education and career opportunities for African Americans, has long promoted environments where Black students can learn and grow strong work ethics to propel them into life-changing careers as adults.
Robert F. Smith’s Continued Support of Eagle Academies
In January 2021, entrepreneur Robert F. Smith spoke with Eagle Academy students at their weekly all-school “Eagle Up Fridays Virtual Town Hall.” During the conversation, Smith answered questions presented by an array of students about his education, background and experiences as a businessman and as a Black man in America. The insightful questions for Smith were met with candid, robust answers for the students, staff, and others in attendance for the Town Hall. The Town Hall was also where a special essay contest was announced for Eagle students to enter, and with an overwhelming number of entries, a total of 46 students in three age groups won $100 Amazon gift cards for their quality analysis of Black History in 2 Minutes videos on African American history.
Since 2016, the Fund II Foundation, of which Smith is founding director and President, has supported Eagle Academies through grants that have assisted the growth of the schools over the years. Over $1 million in grants have been distributed by Fund II Foundation to Eagle Academies over the years, allowing the schools to expand their reach to more students and new neighborhoods in the New York area.
Learn more about Eagle Academies for Young Men, including a recent HBO documentary, The Infamous Future, which explores the school’s history and goals.