NewsFAMU Pauses $237M Donation Following Viral Backlash

FAMU Pauses $237M Donation Following Viral Backlash

Florida A&M University is placing a hold on a $237 million donation after questions arose regarding the value and source of the “largest ever for one of the country’s historically Black colleges and universities.”

Florida A&M University is placing a hold on a record-breaking $237 million donation after questions arose regarding the value and source of the “largest ever for one of the country’s historically Black colleges and universities.”

The donation from Batterson Farms Corporation’s Gregory Gerami and the Isaac Batterson Family 7th Trust was presented on May 4 during the HBCU’s annual commencement ceremony. 

After the media and school leaders raised questions about it, President Larry Robinson called an emergency meeting with FAMU’s fundraising foundation May 9 announcing the decision to pause the donation. “With regards to the gift and the processing of it and so forth, in terms of future processing, we’ve already decided it’s in our best interest to put that on hold,” Robinson said during the meeting.

Foundation members raised concerns and frustrations during the emergency meeting regarding how the school transacted a nine-figure donation without giving notice to them or the board of trustees. “How did we get this far without knowledge of the transaction or the donor?,” foundation member Chekesha Kidd asked.

Leadership, including Robinson and vice president for university advancement Shawnta Friday-Stroud, admitted to being banned from discussing the gift publicly due to a non-disclosure agreement but defended their decision. “Yes, there is clearly a risk, and we are seeing that in everything that has shaken out,” Friday-Stroud said. “But at the time, that was the decision.”

Per the agreement, the CEO requested the donation to be anonymous until he agreed “to make it public.” Experts feel the previous failed donation should have been a red flag that was presented during the gift’s vetting process.

Source: Black Enterprise

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