The Smithsonian Institution has announced a gift of $20 million from Robert F. Smith in support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is opening this weekend on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The gift will support the museum's digitization program as well as community outreach and curatorial initiatives. In recognition of the gift, the museum will name its Explore Your Family History Center after Smith. Through its Community Curation project, the center will work to ensure that the stories and contributions of any African American — not just the famous — are captured for posterity. It also will train the next generation of curators working within the field of African American history.
Smith is the founder, chair, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm focused on enterprise software. He also chairs the boards of Carnegie Hall and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights and is founding director and president of the Fund II Foundation.
"Robert F. Smith has been a trailblazer in the world of finance and technology, and he is now bringing his resources and expertise to empower, engage and enliven the African American community to embrace its history and culture," said Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum. "Robert's gift exemplifies his commitment to increasing access to opportunity, recognizing the potential in each of us and his respect for our past."