Frank Baker and his wife Laura Day Baker, gifted Spelman College $1 million to offset the tuition for 50 high-achieving graduates that had tuition balances and needed help.
Baker is co-founder and managing partner of private equity firm Siris Capital, and Day Baker is an interior designer and philanthropist.
“We are all aware of the headwinds that people of color — especially women — face in our country, the challenges of which are made even more apparent by the economic and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Frank and Laura Day Baker said in a statement.
“We hope that this gift will help lessen their financial burden as they start this promising next chapter in their lives and encourage them to persevere over life’s challenges.”
Baker has spent $250,000 this year to cover the tuition of students so they can graduate with no balances owed and he will spend no less the $1 million dollars the next three years to give other Spelman graduates the same benefit.
“The people who my heart really goes out to are women in their senior year who can’t afford it anymore and have to drop out,” Baker told Forbes. “These are the most resilient people because if they run out of money their senior year, you know they were out of money their sophomore year and just made it work.”
Frank Baker of Siris and Laura Day Baker to pay remaining tuition for nearly 50 Spelman College seniors and announced a $1M gift toward the establishment of a scholarship to ensure future graduating seniors have the financial resources to graduate. https://t.co/hoSeGdA3ot pic.twitter.com/Xo6veARwDB
— Spelman College (@SpelmanCollege) May 21, 2020
This generous donation comes a year after Robert Smith agreed to pay off the student loan debt for all graduating seniors at Morehouse College.
“Robert was fortunate enough to go to Cornell and Columbia and him giving to Morehouse was a nod to the recognition that the majority of African-Americans going to college are graduating from historically black institutions,” said Baker, who graduated from the University of Chicago, in an interview.
“We need to make sure these schools continue to be viable. We are all part of the same community. It doesn’t matter if I went to the school or not.”