In May this year, black billionaire, Robert F. Smith, went viral for what is one of the kindest forms of things that anybody could do for, especially young men and women freshly stepping into the world of work when he announced that he would pay off all student loans of the graduating class at Morehouse College.
The private equity fund CEO has since gone on to launch internX, a sector of his Fund II Foundation intended to help “rising sophomores with at least a 2.8 GPA from ethnically under-represented groups.”
The programme will also guarantee 1,000 students from ethnically underrepresented groups a paid summer internship in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
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Since then, many more people seem to be following in his footsteps, with the latest news coming in from North Carolina, of a black-owned barbershop, run by Season Bennett and her husband, paying off the collective debt of $4,500 of 14 students at the East Mecklenburg High School.
Many of the fees the students had were tied to their participation in the school’s band programme, which was preventing them from graduating.
Headlines Barbershop, with the help of the local community, raised enough money to cover the debt, with NFL player, Thomas Davis, being instrumental in helping Bennett and the Barbershop reach its goal.
Benett’s reason for contacting the staff at the East Mecklenburg school was this simple: “It seems like that’s just basic in our culture. You need to get at least your high school diploma.”
Across the world, other influential persons have also taken steps in the same regard. Face2Face Africa reported in June 2019, the number of billionaires doing charity work.
The Cement and commodities tycoon, who retained his title as the world’s richest black man this year, has been stepping up his philanthropy through his $1.25 billion Dangote Foundation. Over the years, the foundation has given tens of millions of dollars to support initiatives in education, health, arts and human relief, Forbes reports. In March 2018, it was reported that the Nigerian business tycoon had donated a $3.5 million building to the Bayero University, Kano in northern Nigeria. The building, which is named after the Nigerian billionaire, will be the premises of the newly established Dangote Business School. Dangote, that same year, donated 150 cars to Nigeria’s police administration and 200 housing units to Boko Haram victims, as well as, $800,000 to the University of Ibadan. Last November, he donated a $2.7 million hostel to the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.
One of the richest and most powerful women in the world, the media mogul has, over the years, made generous contributions to various causes across the world. In 2018, she reportedly donated $100,000 to the Time’s Up campaign that seeks to empower women. That same year, she announced a $500,000 donation to March For Our Lives made by George and Amal Clooney. These were marches that took place across the U.S. in support of stricter gun control laws. When Hurricane Katrina struck, causing destruction to the Gulf Coast, Winfrey committed $10 million of her own money to help residents rebuild their homes. Through The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, Winfrey spent an estimated $140 million over the past 10 years to keep the boarding school for underprivileged girls operational, she told Variety in 2017.
In January 2017, an Algerian charity, SOS 3e-Age El-Ihsane, funded a mass wedding for 30 couples who were too poor to afford a proper marriage ceremony.
Thirty couples in the oasis town of Ain Salah, central Algeria, took part in the mass wedding ceremony, which, without the group’s help, few would have been able to afford an individual ceremony, which can cost at least 1.2 million dinars ($10,000 or 8,000 euros), the equivalent of nearly two years’ worth of earnings at Algeria’s minimum wage.