In the Press


Read the latest news mentions about Robert F. Smith and his business and giving to support his communities.

Carnegie Hall's Historical Archival Collections Named as Carnegie Hall Susan W. Rose Archives

02/09/2021

Carnegie Hall recently announced that its historical archival collections have been named as the Carnegie Hall Susan W. Rose Archives in recognition of her long standing support of the Hall’s Archives. Robert F. Smith — Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees — praised Mrs. Rose’s contributions and enthusiasm for the Hall’s history.

Read Article

National Park Foundation Celebrates 20 Years of Preserving Black History and Culture in National Parks

02/08/2021

The National Park Foundation (NPF) recently announced the celebration of the 20th anniversary of it’s African American Experience Fund throughout 2021. Robert F. Smith has worked with the Fund II Foundation to purchase homes where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born and lived to preserve and share the critical pieces of American history in perpetuity.

Read Article

Deon Taylor to Direct “Freedom Ride” About John Lewis-Led Group Who Risked Lives to Desegregate Deep South in 1961

02/04/2021

An upcoming film “Freedom Ride” will be set in 1961 and detail the actions of young activists — led by late U.S. Congressman John Lewis — during the Civil Rights Movement. Robert F. Smith will be one of the executive producers.

Read Article

NBC Stars Kevin Durant and Chris Paul Invest in Banking App Goalsetter

01/25/2021

Start-up financial tech company Goalsetter raised $3.9 million in a seed round that includes Robert F. Smith. The company’s uniqueness centers around financial literacy, especially among Black youth.

Read Article

Goalsetter Raises #3.9 Million to Teach Financial Literacy to Kids

01/25/2021

Goalsetter, a platform that helps parents teach their kids financial literacy, announced the raise of a $3.9 million seed round. The company — invested in by Robert F. Smith — helps children of all ages learn economic concepts, lingo and the principles of financial health.

Read Article

Billionaire Philanthropist Robert F. Smith Creates Plan for HBCU Loan Repayment

01/07/2021

Black students are disproportionately impacted by student loan debt. Robert F. Smith is helping give students at HBCUs the opportunity to choose different student loan repayment options.

Read Article

He Paid Off $34 Million of Student Loans—Now, He Has a New Proposal

01/06/2021

Robert F. Smith is well known for his donation to Morehouse College to pay off the student loan debt of an entire graduating class. But he’s also taking steps to help future graduates cut down on their student loans and give them more options for repayment.

Read Article

New Denver High School Modeled After HBCUs

01/04/2021

A new public high school founded upon the principles of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is scheduled to open its doors in Denver in fall 2021. The Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy will take an interdisciplinary project-based approach to education.

Read Article

Billionaire Robert F. Smith to Launch Alternative Student Loan Program for HBCUs to Help Close Racial Wealth Gap

01/04/2021

Robert F. Smith is now set to establish an alternative student loan program for HBCU students with the goal of helping mitigate the racial wealth gap. The Student Freedom Initiative will begin in Fall 2021 and offer funding to junior and seniors in STEM majors.

Read Article

Forbes Diversity and Inclusion Awards 2020: The 2% Solution to Racial Inequality

01/02/2021

The Forbes Diversity and Inclusion Awards recognize Robert F. Smith’s 2% solution. Smith has called on corporations to commit 2% of net income over the next decade into institutions that serve the Black community.

Read Article

Principal Shares Vision for new Denver High School Modeled After Historically Black Colleges

12/30/2020

The Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy will open in far northeast Denver next fall. The high school is modeled after historically Black colleges and universities.

Read Article

Alternative Student Loan Initiative Launched to Aid HBCUS

12/28/2020

STEM majors at nine Historically Black Colleges and Universities may get the financial assistance from an alternative student loan program started by Robert F. Smith. The Student Freedom Initiative expects to offer about $32,000 on average to each student across their junior and senior years.

Read Article

Businessman Robert F. Smith to Open STEAM Education School in Denver

12/27/2020

The Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy will open in Denver this year, it was created as a safe space where students from marginalized communities could be equipped with the skills and resources needed to thrive in the STEAM space. Smith wanted to cultivate a learning environment where Black students could see themselves reflected.

Read Article

Billionaire Robert F. Smith Opening School Based On HBCU Principles

12/21/2020

Denver-native Robert F. Smith has opened a STEAM academy in his hometown. The school — founded on the principles of historically Black colleges and universities — will focus on Blackness, inclusion and interdisciplinary focus for its students.

Read Article

New Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy Provides HBCU Experience In Denver

12/18/2020

Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners and Denver-native has created a new high school in the city. The Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy is founded on the principles of historically Black colleges and universities and will embrace science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Read Article

Black Billionaire Robert F. Smith Pledged $1 Million To Support Black Accountants

12/16/2020

Robert F. Smith’s latest move to increase racial representation in financial services is to donate $1 million to the National Society of Black CPAs. Less than 1% of CPAs in the U.S. are Black, and this gift will help the organization increase the number of Black students who sit for and pass the CPA exam.

Read Article

Shifting Corporate Culture In 2021: 5 Tactics To Foster A More Inclusive Internal Workplace

12/15/2020

Black Enterprise explores the best practices of creating more inclusive workplaces in the modern era. Robert F. Smith — a leading voice on racial justice in private industry — has proposed one tactic: companies ensure at least 50% of incoming intern classes have diverse candidates including Black employees.

Read Article

Fair Count donates $15,000 directly to GA families for food relief

12/02/2020

Robert F. Smith and the Fund II Foundation sponsored a Fair Count effort to help feed Georgia families, helping provide funds that will help feed 513 people in need.

Read Article

He Paid Off Morehouse Grads’ Debt. Now Robert Smith Is Trying Income-Based Financing at HBCUs

12/01/2020

Robert F. Smith has been outspoken about the student loan crisis, and his new initiative the Student Freedom Initiative is aiming to provide new financing options for students at HBCUs.

Read Article

New Initiative Looks to Reduce Student Debt at Select HBCUs

11/23/2020

The Student Freedom Initiative, a nonprofit started by Robert F. Smith, announced the HBCUs it will partner with during its first year to help students of color access alternatives to high-interest student loans.

Read Article

Meet the Speakers for the DealBook Online Summit

11/12/2020

Robert F. Smith spoke about what should be done to advance Black economic success, including addressing student loan debt and modernizing our banking systems, at The New York Times DealBook Online Summit which took place November 17-18, 2020.

Read Article

Vista Equity Partners Named to Inc.’s 2020 List of “The 50 Best Private Equity Firms for Entrepreneurs and Founders”

10/27/2020

Vista Equity Partners, of which Robert F. Smith is Founder, Chairman, and CEO, was named to Inc.’s “Private Equity 50” list that recognizes Vista as “a firm that entrepreneurs can trust, partner with on new strategies and operational best practices and receive capital to invest in products and solutions as well as organic and inorganic growth.”

Read Article

Building on Past Work, Robert F. Smith Gives Big Again for HBCU Student Debt

10/22/2020

Inside Philanthropy explores Robert F. Smith’s long history of philanthropy and highlights his most recent announcement -- a personal gift of $50 million to the Student Freedom Initiative, which will help create paid internships, tutoring and mentorships for HBCU students.

Read Article

Robert F. Smith to Donate $50 Million to Support STEM Students at HBCUs Via the Student Freedom Initiative

10/22/2020

After helping launch the Student Freedom Initiative earlier this year to help reduce the student loan debt of Black and Latinx students, Robert F. Smith explains why he made a $50 million personal gift to the initiative to help provide new internship and mentorship opportunities.

Read Article

Jay-Z and Meek Mill’s Reform Alliance Makes Key Hires

10/08/2020

The REFORM Alliance — a criminal justice reform organization of which Robert F. Smith is a Founding Partner — recently landed its first major legislative victory with California Governor Gavin Newsom signing AB 1950 into law. The law, which the REFORM Alliance led advocacy efforts for, limits adult probation sentence maximums to one year for misdemeanors and two years for felonies.

Read Article

NEC and Vista Equity Partners Establish a Joint Venture and Strategic Partnership to Aid Digital Transformation of Businesses in Japan

10/01/2020

Vista Equity Partners, which is headed by Robert F. Smith, formed a new partnership with NEC Corporation to help deliver Vista’s portfolio companies’ software solutions to the Japanese market.

Read Article

JAY-Z and Meek Mill’s REFORM Alliance Claims Victory as California Enacts New Probation Law

10/01/2020

The criminal justice reform organization, REFORM Alliance, which was founded in part by Robert F. Smith, is marking its first major legislative win as California approved a new law that would limit adult probation sentence maximums to one year for misdemeanors and two years for felonies.

Read Article

Vista’s Robert Smith says there are more opportunities in private markets than public right now

09/30/2020

Robert F. Smith spoke at CNBC’s annual “Delivering Alpha” conference and argued that while there’s a good set of enterprise software opportunities in the market right now, many of these opportunities are in the private market.

Read Article

Three Cornellians Make TIME’s 100 ‘Most Influential People’ 2020 List

09/28/2020

Robert F. Smith is one of three Cornell graduates to be included in the TIME 100 “Most Influential List”, marking the first time the magazine’s list includes three Cornell alumni.

Read Article

7 change-making Texans named to Time's 100 Most Influential People 2020

09/24/2020

Robert F. Smith is one of seven Texans to be named to TIME 100 “Mos Influential List” in 2020, joining fellow Texans Megan Thee Stallion, General Charles Q. Brown Jr. and Selena Gomez.

Read Article

Robert F. Smith is on the 2020 Time 100 List

09/23/2020

Read Samuel L. Jackson and Latanya Richardson Jackson on why Smith’s philanthropy and work to advance racial equality makes him one of the most influential people.

Read Article

Time's 100 Most Influential People list features Dr. Anthony Fauci, Black Lives Matter founders

09/23/2020

Robert F. Smith was named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 in recognition of his philanthropic work.

Read Article

Delivering Alpha 2020 Agenda

09/23/2020

Robert F. Smith joins CNBC for their annual Alpha conference to talk about strategies and solution for achieving high-returns on investments.

Read Article

Inside The Massive New Effort To Get Minorities On Corporate Boards

09/17/2020

Robert F. Smith as CEO, Founder and President of Vista Equity is helping lead the charge to increase diversity on corporate boards by creating 5 new board seats.

Read Article

Bishop Daniel Findikyan Elected to Appeal of Conscience Foundation Board

09/10/2020

Robert F. Smith is being awarded the Armenian Church of America’s “Appeal of Conscience Award” for his work in supporting our communities during the global pandemic.

Read Article

Black Medical Schools To Receive $100 Million from Michael Bloomberg

09/04/2020

Robert F. Smith commends Bloomberg Philanthropies commitment to give $100 million to four Black medical schools to reduce the gap in systemic economic inequality between Black Americans and their white counterparts.

Read Article

What Black Business Owners Need Most Right Now, According to Black Business Owners

08/24/2020

Inc. explores what black business owners need to rebuild after COVID-19 and spotlights Robert F. Smith call for corporate America to step up and take steps to address structural racism and access to capital for communities of color.

Read Article

U.S. companies should consider slavery reparations, Vista Equity CEO says

08/12/2020

Robert F. Smith argues that companies who benefited from slavery should consider paying reparations.

Read Article

Billionaire Robert Smith Urges Corporations To Take ‘Action’ On Reparations

08/12/2020

Robert F. Smith calls on private companies that benefited from the slave trade to take action and make reparations to African-Americans.

Read Article

National Museum of African American History Wants to Document Your COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter Stories

07/30/2020

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) launched “Voices Of Resistance And Hope,” an online platform, hosted by the NMAAHC’s Robert F. Smith Fund Community Curation Platform, where the Black community can submit and share their experiences during COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read Article

New Prostate Test Could Help African American Men

07/29/2020

Robert F. Smith and the Prostate Cancer Foundation have partnered to develop a new non-invasive and early detection test to help doctors diagnose the cancer at an early, less severe stage and to reduce the number of deaths from prostate cancer, which disproportionately affects African American men.

Read Article

Billionaire Created a Perfect Experiment by Erasing $34 Million in Student Debt

07/24/2020

One year after Robert F. Smith pledged to pay off Morehouse College’s class of 2019 student loans, Bloomberg explores the ramifications of this commitment and the different opportunities that opened for students who graduated without student loan debt.

Read Article

Non-profit Detroit Tech Training Program Offers Job Placement to Help Diversify Workforce

07/23/2020

NPower is a Detroit-based IT training program that is providing certification, internships and job placement opportunities for Detroit-area students. The program is mainly funded by the Fund II Foundation, which is backed by Robert F. Smith who wants to help increase workforce diversity and connect underserved students with high tech, high quality jobs.

Read Article

Inside Town & Country’s 2020 Philanthropy Summit

07/21/2020

Watch Robert F. Smith talk with Van Jones, CEO of the REFORM Alliance, about criminal justice reform, racism and the hope for the next generation of Black youth.

Read Article

How to Turn Our Collective Outrage into Action

07/15/2020

Robert F. Smith lays out how the private sector can embrace its role in addressing structural racism.

Read Article

OP-ED: Eradicate Systemic Racism Together

07/07/2020

Robert F. Smith pens an op-ed for The Afro on seven specific ways we can work together to end systemic racism.

Read Article

The Man Who Paid Off the Student Debt of 400 Morehouse University Graduates Has A New Initiative To Help Borrowers

07/04/2020

After pledging to pay off the student debt of roughly 400 graduates of Morehouse College in 2019, Robert F. Smith launched another initiative to help Black college students afford higher education.

Read Article

Billionaire Robert Smith Calls On Corporations To Adopt His 2% ‘Reparative’ Plan For Black People

07/01/2020

Robert F. Smith proposes that America’s corporations allocate 2% of profits over the next ten years to invest in technology, education, telecom, banking and health care systems that support Black communities in order to address structural racism.

Read Article

Clearlake, Insight, Vista and other private equity firms create 50 new board roles for diverse candidates

06/30/2020

Robert F. Smith talks about the importance of having a diverse board, and how he is working to bring more voices to the table.

Read Article

Netflix Shifts 2% Of Its Huge Cash Pile To Financial Institutions Serving Black Communities

06/30/2020

In June 2020, Robert F. Smith called on major institutions to invest 2% of their net income in Black communities. Now, Netflix and other major companies are doing just that.

Read Article

How Robert F. Smith helped thousands of minority-owned small businesses secure urgent aid in Washington

06/25/2020

Robert F. Smith recalls the impact of Black-owned businesses closing in his community during his childhood, and talks with the Washington Post about how we can help them get through the current COVID-19 crisis.

Read Article

Robert F. Smith aims to ease debt for students at historically black colleges

06/25/2020

Robert F. Smith talks to Fox Business about his new program “the Student Freedom Initiative,” which seeks to reduce the burden of student debt at historically-Black colleges.

Read Article

Philanthropy for protests against racial injustice are pouring in

06/19/2020

In the wake of the tragedies impacting Black people in America, Robert F. Smith and other philanthropists contributed resources to help achieve justice and change.

Read Article

Billionaire who paid off Morehouse student loans: I still experience racism

06/17/2020

Robert F. Smith opened up to Yahoo! Finance about his own experiences with racism in America and the need to commit to change.

Read Article

How Robert F. Smith, the Wealthiest Black American, Is Making Change

06/17/2020

When the pandemic hit, Robert F. Smith rolled up his sleeves and committed to helping those most affected by this crisis weather the storm.

Read Article

Capital available from PPP to help minority businesses survive: Billionaire Robert F. Smith

06/17/2020

Black businesses have been some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert F. Smith joined Fox Business to talk about how we ensure they get the help they need.

Read Article

The 2% Solution: Inside Billionaire Robert F Smith's Bold Plan to Funnel Billions to America's Black-Owned Businesses

06/16/2020

Robert F. Smith discussed his bold plan to transform America’s economy to work better for the Black community with Forbes.

Read Article

In Moving Talk, America's Top Black Business Figure Envisions The Blessings That Can Emerge from the Current Tragedies

06/06/2020

Robert F. Smith talks to Forbes about using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for reflection on how we can build a better future for Black Americans.

Read Article

Read the Memo Private-Equity Titan Robert F. Smith, the Richest Black Man in the US, Sent to His Staff About America’s Racial Unrest

06/01/2020

Robert F. Smith shared a powerful and deeply personal message with his staff after the killing of George Floyd.

Read Article

A Statement from Robert F. Smith on the Death of George Floyd

06/01/2020

In a candid and powerful letter to the Vista Equity Partners team, Robert F. Smith acknowledged the pain our country is experiencing and called for change.

Read Article

Vista Partners Founder Calls for a Fintech Revolution to Help Pandemic-Hit, Minority-Owned Small Businesses

05/10/2020

Minority-owned businesses have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert F. Smith joined Meet the Press to discuss how we can help them recover.

Read Article

Robert F. Smith Talks Debt at Davos After Clearing Loans at Morehouse

01/24/2020

Robert F. Smith hopes that his gift to the Morehouse College graduating class will allow them to share in the generational wealth that has been out of reach for too many African American families.

Read Article

Five Business Lessons for Young Professionals From the Nation’s Wealthiest African American, Robert F. Smith

10/15/2019

In this Black Enterprise piece, Robert F. Smith shares some tips and life lessons with the next generation of business leaders.

Read Article

Who Is Robert F. Smith? Learn More About the Billionaire Whose Generosity Shocked a Graduating Class

05/19/2019

TIME Magazine profiles Robert F. Smith after his announcement that he would eliminate the student debt of an entire graduating class.

Read Article

Who Is Robert F. Smith, the Man Paying Off Morehouse Graduates’ Loans?

05/19/2019

This New York Times piece profiles Robert F. Smith, the man behind the surprise Morehouse College grant to eliminate the student debt of an entire class.

Read Article