Don’t let the evening news convince you that the planet we share is a dark and dismal place. There are many hard-working, loyal, and inspiring individuals who are doing their best to improve the quality of life of others. One such person is billionaire investor and philanthropist Robert J. Smith.
Not only is Smith the founder of Vista Equity Partners, an international investment firm with over $46 billion in software management, but he is also the first and only African-American business leader to sign “The Giving Pledge”. The campaign aims to recruit billionaires into giving away half of their fortune to charity.
As GoodNewsNetwork reports, Smith was wrapping up his commencement speech to the graduating class of Morehouse College when he announced that he would also be paying off the student loan debt amassed by the 396 seniors.
Morehouse is an all men’s, historically black private college in Atlanta, Georgia. The average student racks up debt in the multi-thousand dollar range, according to reports. But thanks to Smith, approximately $40 million of debt will be erased for the graduating students.
The good news was met with cheers from the students and the audience. Smith concluded his address with sharing his hope that the graduate students would find their own way to pay it forward in the future.
“Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward,” said Smith. “I want my class to look at these [alumni] – these beautiful Morehouse brothers – and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”
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