Above the fold of the front page of the Wallstreet Journal yesterday was a photo of Robert F. Smith, billionaire tech executive and philanthropist, giving a commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Sunday, May 19th. Below the fold on that same page was an article about millennials being in a crisis as the cohort in the worst financial shapedespite being better educated than any other generation. The article cites that student loan debt is a big part of this “crisis.”
On Sunday, after receiving his honorary degree Rober F. Smith announced he and his family would eliminate the student loan debt of entire class, nearly 400 students!
It’s no surprise that the news of this radically generous, unprecedented and crowd stunning gift to wipe out the student loan debt of the 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College has been featured on every major news and media outlet. It is absolutely incredible and so inspiring!
To hear the students share about the immeasurable impact of this gift is so heart warming. One student shared with CBS news:
"Just imagine the weight lifted off your shoulders when you have a clean slate coming out of college," said Dwytt Lewis, a 2019 graduate with a degree in business administration, who owed more than $150,000 in debt. "It's just an overwhelming feeling, in a good way. I'm so motivated to go change the world."
Hearing these stories made me immediately think about the impact I'm making with my career and ask myself many of questions I shared here.
How am I utilizing my career to positively impact the lives of others?
Although I may be unable to make a $40 million+ donation, the generosity of Robert F. Smith has raised some important questions for consideration:
1. How do I leverage my career to make an impact on those around me?
2. How do I serve others in my community to create sustainable impact?
3. What can I do today to make someone else’s day brighter?
I hope this story inspires all of us to seek ways to give our time, talents and treasure to serve others. After all, leadership is really about helping to improve the lives of those within our reach so that they can elevate the lives of those we’ll never see.
How will you impact others with your radical generosity this week?
Written by Brittany Cole