Usually it takes time for a story of good news to spread enough that it goes viral and gets picked up by the major news networks, or it happens locally and gets put in to fill some extra space, but this Good News Story of the Day happened on Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia. It just so happens that what took place there was so big it caught everyone’s attention.
Robert F. Smith is founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data, and technology-driven companies. It is likely not unusual in his world to spend vast amounts of money in the hopes of even greater returns in the future. But a recent investment has shocked the world; while addressing the graduating class at Morehouse College in Atlanta during their commencement Sunday, he made an announcement that he would pay off their student loans — estimated at up to $40 million US. “On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus,” the investor and philanthropist told graduates in his morning address. “This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”
The students were, understandably, stunned and then celebrated with the loudest cheers of the morning. Who can blame them? The nearly 400 students just had their whole lives changed. The school estimates that students graduate with an average $30,000 – $40,000 in debt though some student’s loans are as high as $200,000 which can take decades of poverty style living to pay back. But Smith didn’t stop there, he said he expected the recipients to “pay it forward”, and as he issued a challenge to the other alumni present that 2019 was his class; he hoped “every class has the same opportunity going forward.”
“Because we are enough to take care of our own community,” Smith said. “We are enough to ensure that we have all the opportunities of the American dream. And we will show it to each other through our actions, and through our words and through our deeds.”
Would that more of those who succeed see the benefit to lifting up others who come after them such as Robert F. Smith did. Read more and watch the speech in your Good News Story of the Day here.
Story and Image from CBC.