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August 4, 2020 21 min
“The Wall Street Journal last week reported that 41% of the African American businesses have stopped transacting and stopped conducting business and have closed up, which is a true tragedy. They don't have the banking systems, which limited their ability to actually process the Payroll Protection Program loans through the CARES Act.” With the pandemic revealing greater inequities in existing economic systems, Robert F. Smith is determined to make a difference. He authorized one of Vista Equity Partners’ portfolio companies, Finastra, to process more than 86,000 PPP loans to bolster small businesses in struggling communities. Named by Forbes as one of the “100 Greatest Living Business Minds,” he is also a noted philanthropist: Last year, he famously paid off the student loans of the entire graduating class of the historically black Morehouse College.  “Seventy percent of African American wealth is actually consumed by student debt; if you alleviate that problem, that creates a massive wealth lift for the entire community,” he tells Mike. “Restore, repair and regenerate these communities filled with Americans that need the opportunity and access to the American Dream.”
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