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Black Philanthropist Frank Baker and Wife Gift $1.2M to FAMU to Help Students Graduate In Four Years

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has been awarded a seven-figure donation to help students graduate in four years. Recipients of these grants and scholarships sparked from this gift will be tracked from the time received until graduation.

Students walks through campus at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a historically black university in Tallahassee, Florida. (Zack Wittman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

According to a press release, FAMU, a Historically Black College and University located in Tallahassee, received a $1.2 million donation from philanthropists Frank and Laura Baker to assist learners compromised by low-income backgrounds and struggling to complete their programs in four years.

The gift, designed to alleviate various financial burdens for students by erasing their outstanding account balances with the university, established the Frank and Laura Baker Graduation Fund.

Frank Baker, the co-Founder and managing partner of Siris, a leading private equity firm with more than $7 billion in AUM focused on making value-oriented, control investments in technology companies, said he sees the gift as more than a donation, but also an investment into the future.

“In 2020, we established Siris’ Florida office, and as part of that, we believed it was important to invest in our new community,” he said. “Through our conversations with FAMU, we learned there are extremely capable students who aren’t able to graduate in four years solely due to limited financial resources.”

He added, “We also discovered that the four-year graduation rate is a key metric in determining the amount of funding FAMU receives from the State of Florida. This made our ‘investment’ decision pretty easy — FAMU students in the workforce sooner and potentially unlocking more State funding.”

Terms of the donation will require the FAMU Office of University Advancement, the Office of Student Success and Strategic Initiatives, along with Frank and Laura Baker, to review the cohort of recipients each year to assess how the graduation fund will continue to be distributed. 

Read full story at The Atlanta Black Star here.

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