A billionaire is wiping out the debt of an entire 2019 college class. AOC says they shouldn’t need an ‘act of charity.’

In an astonishing display of generosity, billionaire Robert F. Smith announced that his family is providing grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 class at Morehouse College.

Smith made the announcement while giving a commencement speech at the all-male historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, May 19. It was met by an enthusiastic cheer from the 400 graduating seniors.

“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans,” Smith said. According to the college, Smith pledges to donate $40 million to the graduates.


Smith is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm with over $46 billion in assets.

While Smith’s donation is an incredible show of generosity, it also highlights the tremendous burdens faced by millions of many college and trade-school graduates. Americans owe $1.4 trillion in college debt. That’s more than they owe on car loans or credit cards.

The average college senior now owes $29,000 in student loan debt and the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off their loans.

Student debt prevents young Americans from starting businesses, buying homes, or saving for retirement. It also forces them to make hasty career decisions so they can stay afloat.

Freshman Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used Smith’s generous donation to highlight the student debt crisis.

She also saw the donation as an experiment to see how debt-free graduates behave as opposed to those who leave college under extreme financial stress.

Ocasio-Cortez campaigned in favor of creating tuition free college and trade schools as well as eliminating all student debt. It’s an issue that's close to home for her, because she’s still paying off her degree from Boston College where she graduated in 2011.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders echoed Ocasio-Cortez's statement at a town hall in Montgomery, Alabama.

"A very kind gentleman, a billionaire, forgave the debts of students at Morehouse," the Democratic presidential candidate said. "What he did was very generous, but the truth is that private charity alone is not going to solve a problem in which some 40 million Americans are struggling with right now."

"The time again is long overdue to stop the punishment of millions of people who did nothing wrong except try to get the best education that they could," he continued.

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

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Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

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Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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via Budweiser

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