Smith, Robert F.
As founder, chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith oversees a portfolio of more than 60 software companies and over $50 billion of cumulative capital commitments, but he believes that the true measure of one’s success is “how much we contribute to the success of those around us.” Mr. Smith emphasized that point in his 2019 commencement address at Morehouse College, surprising students by announcing a grant to eliminate student loan debt for the entire class — urging graduates to “pay it forward” by going on to become leaders in their communities who create opportunities for others. While that life-changing gift earned worldwide attention, it is just one example of Mr. Smith’s philanthropy. Since 2016 he has served as chairman of Carnegie Hall, where he champions artistic excellence and access, causes he also supports through his commitment to expanding music education programs for K–12 students. Fund II Foundation, of which Mr. Smith serves as president and founding director, invests in a wide range of causes that create on-ramps of opportunity for underrepresented minorities preparing to enter the workforce, including launching the InternX platform, which matches African American college sophomores with paid internships. The foundation advances health equity by scaling proven strategies to help African American women beat breast cancer and by supporting prostate cancer treatment access for veterans. Other priorities include protecting the environment and the national parks, and helping to safeguard human rights, including the provision of safe homes for child victims of sex slavery. Mr. Smith is also a longtime leader in efforts to preserve and share stories of the African American experience. In his individual capacity, he provided the largest private donation to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.