Tag: Robert Smith

Oprah Winfrey Donates $13 million to Morehouse College

Oprah Winfrey at Morehouse (photo via twitter.com)

According to cnn.com, Oprah Winfrey now has the largest endowment ever at all-male HBCU Morehouse College in Atlanta after donating $13 million.

Winfrey visited Morehouse on Monday for the 30th anniversary of the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program, the release said. The program started in 1989 and the fund stands at $12 million. Monday’s donation of $13 million pushed her total investment to $25 million.

“Seeing you young Oprah Winfrey scholars here today has moved me deeply,” Winfrey said Monday before announcing her donation. “I am so proud of you, I’m proud of everybody in attendance at this school who is seeking to know more clearly who you are, the value you hold and how you will share that value with the rest of the world.”

Winfrey’s donation comes after billionaire Robert Smith promised to pay off the student loan debt of the 2019 Morehouse graduates in May. Smith donated $34 million to the school last month, making good on his promise.

“I’m grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her generosity,” said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. “I am also feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah’s and Robert Smith’s. I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities.”

African-American Billionaire Robert Smith Offers Full Scholarships for Education of Chibok Girls Who Escaped Boko Haram

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses on October 19, 2016 with the 21 Chibok girls who were released by Boko Haram last week, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria. Speaking at the presidential villa in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, Buhari addressed the girls and their families saying ‘we shall redouble efforts to ensure that we fulfil our pledge of bringing the remaining girls back home’. (AFP/Philip OJISUA)

article by Mfonobong Nsehe via forbes.com

American billionaire Robert Smith has offered to sponsor the education of 24 girls from the Chibok community, including the 21 girls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity in October this year.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Nigeria’s President, announced this on Tuesday during a media briefing with journalists at the State House in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. Shehu said that the girls will be admitted through negotiation at the prestigious American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, with the American billionaire footing the entire bill of the girls’ tuition, accommodation, feeding and other related expenses.

It costs anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000 a year to educate a student at the school which is owned by wealthy frontline Nigerian politician and businessman Atiku Abubakar. Smith has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free,’’ Shehu added.

Shehu revealed that the Nigerian government is treating the recently released 21 Chibok girls as adoptees of the Federal Government. “But there is a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls,’’ he added.

To read more: African-American Billionaire Robert Smith Offers Scholarship To Chibok Girls

Quiet Billionaire Robert Smith Makes Some Noise with $20 Million Gift to National African American Museum

In 2013, when the founders of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture were seeking donors, people directed them to one man: Robert F. Smith.

“We kept wondering, ‘Who is this Robert Smith?’ ” said Adrienne Brooks, director of development for the museum. Meeting Smith became a priority, said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director. “We wanted to meet him. And soon,” Bunch said, laughing.

Soon many more people will know Robert Smith by name as the museum celebrates its grand opening this weekend. The private-equity financier was the museum’s second-biggest private donor, with a $20 million gift. Oprah Winfrey was No. 1, with $21 million.

Smith has built a fortune that’s made him one of the nation’s richest men — worth $2.5 billion, according to Forbes — but until now he has kept his work and philanthropy relatively quiet.

Even the website of his company, Vista Equity Partners, does not have a picture of him. Better, he had thought, that investors and executives know him first by his abilities. If they saw only the caramel skin of an African American, he might lose out on opportunities.

As Vista’s chairman and chief executive, he is in the business of buying, growing and selling off software companies. Vista’s portfolio has 35 companies with $26 billion in assets under management. He is the majority shareholder of Vista’s management company.

Beyond Wall Street and Silicon Valley, Smith long enjoyed moving in relative obscurity. That changed last fall when Forbes magazine put him on its cover, with an article for which he declined to be interviewed.

Now in an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, he’s ready to talk about his life’s work and the powerful social force that has pulled him out of the shadows: the racial tension escalating across the nation. Smith said he grew fearful that the very fabric of the country that allowed his parents to earn doctorate degrees and him to build a successful business is vulnerable.

Watching TV news, he saw the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., after the 2014 fatal shooting of an unarmed black youth, Michael Brown, by police. Last year he watched the turmoil following Freddie Gray’s funeral in Baltimore. Across the land, he feared, a sense of opportunity is giving way to rising hopelessness and despair.

“The vision I was sold as a kid is unraveling. I see the little tears in the fabric of society every day. This cannot be,” Smith said in the interview.

His philanthropic efforts go back years. Through the Fund II Foundation, of which he is the founding president, he has supported nonprofit groups that focus on African American culture, human rights, music education and the environment.

It was time to emerge, he thought, and do more. “We have to do something,” he said. “We have to do something for our community.”

To read full article, go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/who-is-this-robert-smith-a-quiet-billionaire-makes-some-noise-with-20-million-gift-to-the-african-american-museum/2016/09/23/547da3a8-6fd0-11e6-8365-b19e428a975e_story.html

Federal Court Awards Robert Smith $2.4M for Enduring Five Years of Racial, Sexual Harassment from Co-Workers

Rosebud Farms (photo via eurweb.com)
Rosebud Farms (photo via eurweb.com)

A Chicago federal court has awarded Robert Smith more than $2.4 million in damages for enduring five years of humiliating sexual and racial harassment at a South Side grocery store.

The Cook County Record stated that Rosebud Farm Stand was ordered to pay Smith more than $800,000 in compensatory damages and $1.6 million in punitive damages for racial and sexual harassment. Smith also named two supervisors, general manager Carlos Castaneda and assistant manager Rocky Mendoza, in the lawsuit. They were both ordered to pay damages.

Smith, who is African-American, worked as a butcher at the grocery store, claims he was subjected to abuse from his Latino co-workers. Smith said that his co-workers harassed him by grabbing his genitals, fondling his buttocks and simulating homoerotic acts.

However, the harassment was not only sexual. Smith’s attorney Joseph Longo, of Longo & Associates, said his co-workers also called him a “monkey” and told him to “go back to Africa.”

Smith filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2008, but the harassment turned violent. The Cook County Record said Smith alleged his co-workers made threatening gestures towards him and also vandalized his car. The harassment got so bad that Smith eventually quit.

Smith decided to file a lawsuit requesting unspecified damages in 2011.

Longo said other Black employees at the grocery store were also subject to harassment, but declined to come forward. He said victims of racial and sexual harassment have to report the incidents, so they can be addressed in a court of law.

“Unless people file a lawsuit or take action, harassers will continue to create a hostile working environment and harass,” Longo said in an emailed statement following the verdict. “We need more people like Mr. Smith to take a stand and fight for what is right. The jury agreed that what Rosebud did to Mr. Smith was wrong.”

Longo told The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin that Smith’s employer failed to provide a safe work environment. Eight jurors agreed with Longo’s argument.

“I think the jury wanted to send a message,” Longo said. “When you go to work, you don’t surrender your body.”

article by Manny Otiko via atlanticblackstar.com