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Billionaire Robert F. Smith Pays It Forward Again, Launches Program to Help 1,000 Students Land Paid Internships

Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith shocked the crowd at commencement ceremonies in May when he announced that his family was providing a grant to wipe out the student debt for the entire graduating class at Morehouse College. (Facebook video screenshot)


Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith is showing the world his generosity is limitless.

Just weeks after vowing to eliminate the student loan debt of Morehouse College‘s 2019 graduating class, the private equity fund CEO is now working to help 1,000 young scholars land paid internships.


Smith has launched internX, a sector of his Fund II Foundation, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported. The new program is intended to help “rising sophomores with at least a 2.8 GPA from ethnically underrepresented groups” score an eight-week summer internship in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Opportunities in finance, marketing, software, not-for-profits and real estate are also available, according to the website.

So far, AT&T, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and Smith’s very own Vista Equity Partners are among the companies that have signed up to accept internX students. Founding partners will provide assistance for travel and housing on a case-by-case basis, the FAQs state.

“We will decide on whether to provide relocation assistance when we get data on company intentions,” it added.

In May, Smith shocked Morehouse graduates and their families when he promised to pay off the student loan debt for the entire graduating class — a donation estimated at $40 million.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith told the crowd before making the surprise announcement.


“This is my class, 2019,” he added. “And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

The tech investor, whose private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, is valued at nearly $5 billion, continued his legacy of service earlier this year when he pledged a $1.5 million gift to fund scholarships at the historically Black college, as well as a park that will serve as a new outdoor study area for local students.

Recent Morehouse grads Peter Wilborn and Ellis Walton, have promised to pay it forward and thanked Smith for giving them a leg up.

“We don’t just want to thank you for giving us a head start, but we also accept your challenge,” Wilborn said. “We plan to do so much more with what you’ve given us — so much more than we could possibly conceive of right now. Thank you so much.”


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