Smith has been working overtime to ensure he does all he can to help create generational wealth for students of color. In 2019, he paid off the student loan debt for the entire graduating class of Morehouse College, eventually extending that debt payoff to the students’ parents as well. Then in 2020, Smith donated $50 million to his Student Freedom Initiative to support STEM students. The organization is a public charity dedicated to ensuring freedom in career and life choices for students attending Minority Serving Institutions.
But he didn’t stop there, year by year finding new ways to create even more access and opportunities for students in need. In 2021, Smith launched the “One Stock. One Future” initiative, aimed at creating 1 million Black and Latinx youth shareholders and investors. He then gifted students, staff, and faculty members from NY/New Jersey’s Eagle Academy college prep network with a total of 15,000 shares of stock, naming the 2019 Morehouse grads whose debt he paid off as partners in the gift. Now, Smith has announced another generous endeavor, launching a $1.8 million grant program geared towards HBCU students.
Smith’s Student Freedom Initiative has partnered with Prudential Financial to provide $1.8 million in microgrants to HBCU students through the Handling Everyday Life Problems for Students (HELPS) Program. The goal of the program is to address financial need for students that may not necessarily be academic related, providing one-time funds for expenses disproportionately faced by Black students.
In addition to the microgrants, Prudential will also offer paid internships and pro bono services for HBCU students and families that help promote improved financial literacy. All of it is a part of Prudential and the Student Freedom Initiative’s commitment to closing the racial wealth gap.
News Source: BOTWC Written Credits: BOTWC