Morehouse to use $1.5 million gift on scholarships and a new park

Robert F. Smith is one of the world's 13 black billionaires. He is worth $5 billion, according to Forbes' most recent ranking of the world's wealthiest people. Smith made his fortune through the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, which he founded in 2000. He is married to television personality Hope Dworaczyk Smith. Smith announced Sunday he will pay all student loans for Morehouse College's Class of 2019.

Morehouse College announced Thursday it has received one of its largest gifts from a donor, $1.5 million that will be used for student scholarships and a new park on campus with an outdoor study area.

The money will be divided, with $1 million going to the scholarship fund and $560,000 to create a park adjacent to the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on Morehouse’s campus. Students and alumni will help design and name the park.

> RELATED: Billionaire Robert F. Smith to pay off Morehouse grads' student debt

The donation was made by Robert F. Smith, a prominent philanthropist and founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a software and technology investment firm.

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

Robert F. Smith, a prominent investor and philanthropist, has donated $1.5 million to Morehouse College. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.
Robert F. Smith, a prominent investor and philanthropist, has donated $1.5 million to Morehouse College. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

Thomas has said he wanted to attend Morehouse, but couldn't afford it.

Smith was the first African-American business leader to sign “The Giving Pledge,” an initiative created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in which wealthy individuals and families pledge to give more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes, Morehouse said.

Morehouse’s largest single donation was a $5 million gift from Oprah Winfrey, a spokeswoman said.

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