Robert F. Smith and Students Ring NYSE Opening Bell To Celebrate “One Stock, One Future”

To celebrate the new “One Stock. One Future” initiative he launched last month, billionaire Robert F. Smith brought students from Eagle Academy, the first beneficiaries of the program, to the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Along with the young men from the New York/New Jersey college prep network, Smith brought members of his team from Goalsetter, the app that delivers the educational component of his latest endeavor, and members of the Morehouse Class of 2019. After famously announcing at their commencement that he would pay off the entire class’s student debt, Smith listed the recent grads as his partners in his gift to Eagle Academy, he recently told The Today Show.

In October, “One Stock. One Future” began its mission to create 1 million Black and Latinx youth shareholders and investors with a personal gift from Smith that presented Eagle Academy students, staff, and faculty with a total of 15,000 shares of stock.

“Our Class of 2019 at Morehouse, our team at Goalsetter, our team now at Eagle Academy, you all are a part of an ecosystem of economic development,” the Vista Equity Partners founder said, according to a release.

“You’re part of an ecosystem of self-empowerment. [And] you now have partners like the New York Stock Exchange that you can look to and look for help and guidance on how we create more access to capital and opportunity into our communities.”

Within 30 days of launching “One Stock. One Future,” 1,000 companies each pledged to donate 1,000 shares, including Delta Airlines, Twitter, Lyft and NBCUniversal. But, as Smith explained on Today, that is only the beginning of his vision.

“The executives in these companies—doesn’t have to be just the CEO, or African-American and Latinx executives—an all contribute 1,000 shares,” he said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve empowered the youth to participate in what will be the greatest wealth creation opportunities for them, which is the capital markets in America.”

By incorporating Goalsetter’s innovative, social media-influenced teaching method, Smith hopes this program will start students on a wealth-creation journey that carries them well into adulthood.