In the Press


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

Black Billionaire, Robert F. Smith, Launches HBCU Tour to Upgrade Campus Cybersecurity and to Help Students Find an Alternative Way to Pay For College

09/08/2021

Student Freedom Initiative, with the help of technology partners Cisco and AVC Technologies, is working with participating historically Black colleges and universities to upgrade their technology and cybersecurity.

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Modeled After HBCUs, Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy has Opening Day

08/23/2021

This week the Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy opened in Denver, Colorado. The school is named after the entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is also a Denver native, and is modeled after Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The academy was set up to provide students of color in northeast Denver with a high-quality education option without forcing them to travel long distances.

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The Biden Administration Promised Diversity. Here’s One Way it Can Deliver.

08/18/2021

Ursula Burns, former Chairman & CEO of Xerox, Robert F. Smith, Founder, President and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, Co-CEO & CIO of Ariel Investments and David G. Clunie, Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance penned an op-ed arguing that the Biden Administration’s racial equity initiatives should also tackle federal procurement policies. In particular, they argue for an increase in “federal spend allocations that go to Black businesses.” The group notes that right now just 5% of federal contracting dollars are required to go to minority and women-owned businesses, but the government should “increase the federal contracting minimum for Black firms to 13 percent, commensurate with the country’s Black population.”

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19 Largest Gifts From Individuals to Hospitals, Healthcare Organizations in 2021

07/30/2021

Leveraging data from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, this article explores the largest gifts given to healthcare organizations in 2021. This includes the $3.8 gift Robert F. Smith gave to the Mount Sinai Health system in order to develop an MRI unit that will help men in predominantly Black neighborhoods schedule prostate screenings.

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How Broadway Is Celebrating Juneteenth 2021 and How to Tune In

06/18/2021

This Juneteenth, Carnegie Hall hosted a live celebration to recognize the importance of this historic day and the long road that still lies ahead. Robert F. Smith, chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees, was joined with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

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National Society of Black CPAs Celebrate 1-Year Anniversary As More Accountants Create Generational Wealth in Black Communities

06/14/2021

The National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPA) celebrated its one-year anniversary on June 8. The organization, which received a $1 million pledge from Robert F. Smith in 2020, aims to increase the number of Black CPAs, which today represent less than 1% of all certified public accountants.

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Wu President Uses Inspiration for Project

06/01/2021

Wilberforce University President Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard told 2020 and 2021 graduates at their graduation ceremony that all their student loan debt would be cancelled. Pinkard said he was spurred to action and inspired by philanthropist Robert F. Smith who paid the student loan debt of nearly 400 Morehouse College graduates in 2019.

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Companies Must Give More for an Equitable World

05/24/2021

A year after the killing of George Floyd, Robert F. Smith penned an op-ed for Quartz arguing that while a number of companies have made significant financial commitments to address systemic inequities in the past year, the private sector must continue to act to drive lasting change.

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Cisco Will Donate $150 Million to the Robert F. Smith Student Freedom Initiative to Help HBCU Students

05/24/2021

Cisco Systems committed $150 million to the nonprofit Student Freedom Initiative, which was the brainchild of Robert F. Smith. The funds will help students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

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Cisco is Giving $150 Million to Robert F. Smith’s Student Freedom Initiative

05/20/2021

Student Freedom Initiative, founded by Robert F. Smith and the Fund II Foundation, received $150 million from Cisco Systems. Fifty million of the investment will provide financing for 500 HBCU students for the next four years to attend colleges and the other $100 million will help bolster HBCU technology and cybersecurity systems.

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