Robert F. Smith’s
Pillars of Philanthropy

By supporting organizations that promote racial equity and education reform, business leader Robert F. Smith has devoted his philanthropic efforts to create widespread opportunity for underserved communities and uplift the human spirit.


“If you can, liberate a human spirit through providing education, providing an opportunity, providing in many cases a pathway to a way that they can support their family or their community.”

-Robert F. Smith

The Ongoing Fight for Racial Equity

The fight for racial equity requires tailored solutions that produce real change. As the founding director and President of Fund II Foundation, Smith is helping direct capital to public charities that are:
Preserving African American culture
Safeguarding human rights
Promoting participation in the arts
Encouraging outdoor exploration and environmental conservation
Maintaining long standing American values such as entrepreneurship

Fund II Foundation

Since its creation in 2014, Fund II Foundation has provided almost $250 million to organizations like the United Negro College Fund, NPower and The Opportunity Network.

The Power of Scholastic Equity and Education Reform

Providing young people with a quality education is one of the best ways to conquer the opportunity deserts that can exist in many minority communities.

Smith has made numerous contributions to educational causes, including his donation to the Morehouse College Class of 2019. The gift, which totaled more than $40 million, relieved the nearly 400 graduates and their parents of their entire student debt load.

Two diverse graduates smile wearing cap and gown

“As the son of educators, equal access to quality education has always been a core tenet of my life.”

-Robert F. Smith

Finding Space to Breathe and Grow by Preserving the Environment

Environmental preservation and promotion of outdoor activity are vital areas of focus for Smith’s philanthropy. His contributions to the following organizations are designed to support an accessible and healthy planet for future generations:

A group poses for a photo with a horse at the Lincoln Hills Cares Equestrian program

Promoting access to the outdoors for underserved youth is a key focus of Smith’s philanthropy, such as with participants of the Lincoln Hills Cares Equestrian program.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Talent with Inclusive Arts

Another focal point of Smith’s donations is to increase and promote participation in the arts, especially in communities of color. To achieve greater diversity within the field, Smith donated $250,000 to the Sphinx Organization, a non-profit that aims to transform the lives of underserved students through music and art. Fund II Foundation also donated $3 million to the organization in 2019.

Smith also currently serves as Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees, becoming the first African American to hold the post after being appointed in 2016. Since Smith joined, Carnegie Hall has undertaken initiatives, like PlayUSA, which partners with orchestras and other organizations to provide low-income students with instruments.

A group of students with Sphinx playing classical musical instruments including violins

The Sphinx Organization has invested over $4.5 million in artist grants and scholarships, and has over 800 alumni. (Photo courtesy Sphinx Organization – By Doug Coombe)

Saving Our Stories By Preserving Black History

Black History in Two Minutes (or So) logo and photo of Frederick Douglass

Smith acts as an executive producer for Black History in Two Minutes (or So), an award-winning podcast that explains historical events in an easily understandable manner.

The Power of Black Philanthropy

Robert F. Smith speaking in an interview

“I am privileged to join the Giving Pledge with a commitment to invest half my net worth — during my lifetime — to causes that support equality of opportunity for African Americans, as well as causes that cultivate ecological protection to ensure a livable planet for future generations.”

-Robert F. Smith