Billionaire Robert F. Smith Gives Largest Donation To African American Prostate Cancer

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights )

Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, has been in the news a lot lately. He was the Billionaire who promised to pay off all Morehouse College’s 2019 class student loans. But before that, he donated $2.5 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to focus research on African-American men as well as launch The Robert Frederick Smith Center of Precision Oncology Excellence in Chicago, Illinois – to aid veterans in the metropolitan area and beyond – who are battling prostate cancer. The Smith Center will serve as a precision oncology hub in PCF’s preeminent network of centers working to fulfill the ambitious mission of improving the care of U.S. veterans with prostate cancer.

Smith’s gift is the largest donation ever made specifically targeting research and care for African-American men with prostate cancer who, statistically, are 73 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other race or ethnicity.

“I am delighted to support the lifesaving work of accelerating promising medical research to serve our nation’s veterans who urgently need better treatments and cures and access to cutting-edge precision oncology,” said Robert F. Smith. “On the day we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let us also remember his messages of service and of equality. With these resources, we will do right by those brave veterans who served our country, and we will change the odds for millions of African-American men who should be surviving prostate cancer.”

One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among veterans, accounting for a third of all male cancer cases. African-American men are 2.3 times more likely to die from the disease. To date, little is known about the biological reasons for the alarming disparities.

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Ripple Of Hope Awards)

But don’t put yourself down if you don’t know who Robert F. Smith was before all of this.

Smith has a net worth of $4.47 billion according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index, making him the 428th richest person in the world and the richest black man in America. He’s a self-made billionaire whose biggest asset is Vista Equity Partners, which has $56 billion in assets under management. Among its past and present investments are Marketo, Autotask and Vivid Seats.

Smith started as an intern (big ups to all the interns) at Bell Labs when he was a junior in high school and spent his time…

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