Investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith is advancing his efforts to financially empower students at historically Black colleges and universities, and he’s teaming up with media mogul Steve Harvey and his wife Marjorie to support HBCU scholars. The Harveys have joined Smith’s Student Freedom Initiative which aims to eradicate barriers standing in the way of economic mobility and change the narrative surrounding the racial wealth gap.
Research shows students who attend HBCUs throughout the country are disproportionately affected by the burdens of student loans. The United Negro College Fund reported students who attend historically Black colleges and universities borrow loans at higher rates and graduate with higher amounts of debt than those who attend non-HBCUs. The weight of student loans often lingers and is a detriment to many individuals who are trying to cultivate financial stability. Aware of the disparities, Smith created the Student Freedom Initiative to address historic social and economic inequities and close the racial wealth gap by providing African American students with grants and other enrichment opportunities.
Through their philanthropic foundation—The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation—the Harveys will lead a collaborative strategic partnership with the Student Freedom Initiative. Under the pact, they will continue to amplify the importance of HBCUs, further advocacy efforts around addressing the racial wealth gap and enlist partners who can assist in evoking transformative change. “Access to quality, affordable higher education is one of the most important steps our community can take towards achieving racial equity,” Steve Harvey said in a statement. “Our foundation is proud to support the work of Robert F. Smith and the Student Freedom Initiative to highlight the outstanding job done by HBCUs and other MSIs to elevate the social and economic mobility of our students to achieve their greatest potential via this enduring, scalable solution.” Smith added he’s looking forward to joining forces with the organization to highlight the “extraordinary talent of students in a competitive global economy.”
News about the partnership comes after Smith teamed up with the digital money management company Goalsetter to equip Black and Latinx youth with the tools needed to cultivate generational wealth and introduce them to the stock market.
Blackburn Takeover: Photos Of Howard University Students Protesting Horrifying Living Conditions
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More mold photos a student at @HowardU sent me this morning of her dorm in the Quad. @fox5dc #BlackburnTakeover— Jacqueline Matter (@JMatter_TV) October 21, 2021
I reached out to @VP office to see if she has any comment on her alma mater’s living conditions. I also reached out to HU for a finance report but haven’t heard back pic.twitter.com/kP3i2xdICR
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NEW: Getting ready to go live at 10pm and another student walks by and asks us if we’re reporting on the mold problems at @HowardU - she then sends me these photos from a mold-covered picture frame in her dorm at the Quadrangle. @fox5dc #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/nmbOJLuL4E— Jacqueline Matter (@JMatter_TV) October 21, 2021
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After seeing all the post from #BlackburnTakeover, I have to contextualize the issues students have had at Howard because it is truly inhumane what undergraduates go through. This thread will go the history of civil disobedience and issues with the living conditions at Howard 1/ pic.twitter.com/vxbtzOZ1Bt— 🦂 (@scorptini) October 13, 2021
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For far too long the Admin at Howard has continued to ignore the cries and issues that the students have faced: mold/ mushrooms growing in their dorms, lack or support and responses from admin, no building for classes or tuition assistance. #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/6ROudKKDly— 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙋𝙖𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 ✋🏾 (@incognitovirgo4) October 13, 2021
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The students at @HowardU have always been changemakers and have made history as a result. I support their struggle for safe, dignified housing. It's the same struggle Black families face against gentrification all over DC. Power concedes nothing without demand. #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/NOTNjv0i7v— Janeese Lewis George (@Janeese4DC) October 19, 2021
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Day 5 of the #BlackburnTakeover at #HowardUniversity. Students from the School of Social Work set up a tent and have been out here supporting our Baby Bison. As social workers in-training, we must advocate for populations who have been neglected from our place of access. pic.twitter.com/MjskqjvHbf— Zekiiyah J. (@Zekiiyah_) October 16, 2021
Steve And Marjorie Harvey Join Robert F. Smith’s HBCU Student Empowerment Initiative was originally published on newsone.com