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Vista Equity Partners, PowerSchool & Robert F. Smith

$1,300,000 given to projects
Robert F. Smith, Vista Equity Partners and PowerSchool Join Forces for Educational Equity
Funded projects
Schools served
Teachers supported
Learn how Robert F. Smith, Vista Equity Partners and PowerSchool are funding a classroom support initiative for educational equity via DonorsChoose.

About Robert F. Smith, Vista Equity Partners and PowerSchool

The collaboration between PowerSchool, Robert F. Smith and Vista Equity Partners was initiated in order to provide an equitable playing field for minority students in six Southern communities: Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Charlotte, NC; Houston, TX; Memphis, TN; and, New Orleans, LA. The initiative hopes to begin to address the troubling fact that school districts where there are a majority of students of color are currently allocated $23 billion less in state and local funding than school districts with an equivalent number of white students. Teachers in these districts end up spending approximately $500 per class out of their own pockets to pay for textbooks and other basic student necessities, simply so their students can have what they need to learn.

This initiative for these specific Southern communities was inspired by research by the Boston Consulting Group showing geographical and structural inequality in six key metropolitan areas: Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Charlotte, NC; Houston, TX; Memphis, TN; and, New Orleans, LA. PowerSchool, Robert F. Smith and Vista recognized their collective ability to help DonorsChoose lead a grassroots effort to lift up these communities and begin to equitize the on-ramps of opportunity for our digital future.

“As the son of educators, access to quality education has always been a core principle in my life. Today, I'm happy to announce that along with @Vista_Equity and @MyPowerSchool, we are contributing $1.2 million through the @DonorsChoose platform to help teachers dedicated to the classrooms that need them most,” Robert F. Smith wrote on Twitter.

Education technology company PowerSchool delivers innovative education products that serve and connect educators, students and families to their school districts worldwide. Vista is an investor in PowerSchool and helped take it public in July 2021. PowerSchool is committed to giving back to communities, including using its platform to explain and connect schools to federal stimulus funding. PowerSchool has also collaborated with Vista and to bring computer science education to students from all backgrounds. PowerSchool’s gift will fulfill over 1,800 requests from teachers for enrichment projects ranging from class trips to reading nooks.

Philanthropist Robert F. Smith is the first Black American to take the Giving Pledge, dedicating his wealth to uplifting the human spirit. Smith, who founded Vista Equity Partners, specifically allocates his philanthropic support to provide opportunities to traditionally underserved communities and to provide onramps allowing creativity and innovation to flourish. Smith’s contribution to DonorsChoose will directly provide books, art supplies and other classroom basics for project proposals posted by teachers to DonorsChoose.

Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm. Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of the firm, which has a commitment to social and community empowerment as part of its investing and operations. Since Vista was launched, it has believed in the ability of technology and enterprise software to empower a better future. Vista’s contribution to DonorsChoose will go directly to providing technology to classrooms within the districts of these communities. Hundreds of projects posted by teachers will be fulfilled. Some of the funds will supply tablets, computers and technology upgrades for underfunded classrooms.

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