Vista Equity Founder Robert Smith gives Eagle Academy students thousands of shares in stock

FILE PHOTO: A price screen display is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after the close of trading in New York
FILE PHOTO: A price screen display above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after the close of trading in New York, U.S., March 12, 2020. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Robert F. Smith in partnership with the Morehouse College class of 2019 are giving close to 15,000 shares of stock in Vista Equity Partner’s publicly-traded portfolio companies to roughly 2,900 Eagle Academy students, teachers, and staffers. 

As a result of the gift, students and educators will get stock shares in Jamf (NASDAQ: JAMF), Datto (NYSE: MSP), Ping (NYSE: PING), Integral Ad Science Holding Corp (NASDAQ: IAS), and PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC) five software companies in the Vista family, in the hope of arming them with the knowledge and resources to become lifelong investors.

“For far too long, Black Americans have been prevented from accessing resources to build lasting, generational wealth,” said Smith, founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. “With this history in mind, the Morehouse Class of 2019 and I are proud to gift these stock shares to the young men of Eagle Academy. From a young age, my parents and community instilled in me the value of saving, and throughout my life I’ve learned that your financial success is not determined by what you buy, but by what you own. I hope this opportunity not only inspires these young students to explore the world of investments, but that it also serves as a catalyst for other companies to join this initiative to arm our youth with the power to control their futures.”

Eagle Academy students will each get five shares of stock in accounts in the Goalsetter app, a Black and female-owned family investing and saving app, which will allow them to have control over their portfolio with the help and supervision of the families. The goal of the gift is to help Eagle Academy’s broader commitment to “instill financial empowerment in their students and break cycles of poverty.”

“By providing Black and Brown students with financial education and resources, we let them dictate their futures and allow them to embrace the many possibilities of who they can be, free from unnecessary financial burdens,” said David C. Banks, President and CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation. “We must see further investment and partnerships between the private sector and our schools to prepare our students for their futures. This initiative should set the precedent for companies looking to invest in Black and Brown youth and eradicate the racial wealth gap in this country.”