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FAMU Receives Historic Gift, But Questions Surround Its Donor

Little to no information is known on the donor of FAMU's biggest gift.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has received a historic $237 million donation from the Isaac Batterson 7th Family Trust and its Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Gerami. However, Gerami’s vague background leads to questions on the gift’s legitimacy.

FAMU announced the monumental donation on May 4; the money will go toward student initiatives and athletic programs. According to FAMU Forward, the sizable $237.5 million promised to the university is almost double its endowment of $121 million.

Moreover, the school’s President Larry Robinson released a statement on the “breathtaking” gesture. The money will significantly aid in its operations, including scholarships and recruitment. “It changes the narrative about what is possible for FAMU,” Robinson said.

“This donation will have a far-reaching impact on our academic and athletics programs,” he added. “It will greatly enhance our ability to provide scholarships for students and also give us a boost in recruiting top students, and recruiting and retaining top faculty.”

However, concerns over Gerami’s background and access to such resources looms over the donation, which FAMU claims is already in its account. Gerami, the founder of the Batterson Farms Corp, a San Antonio, Texas-based farming and hemp plastic company, has no ties to the Florida HBCU himself.

Gerami founded his company only three years ago, and little to no information on his personal or professional history can be found online. In 2022, Gerami attempted to donate to other HBCUs, specifically $95 million to Coastal Carolina University. However, the agreement fizzled out due to inquiries into his background he deemed racist, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Gerami shifted his focus on FAMU, beginning the conversation of donating during the fall 2023 semester. Now that it has seemingly come into fruition, Gerami spoke on the new bond he holds with the institution.

“FAMU has become like a family to our Trust, our company, and to me. Our morals and our mission are in line with FAMU and FAMU’s mission,” shared Gerami. “It’s also about making sure that we set FAMU on the path to being the top HBCU in this country.”

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