Billionaire Steve Schwarzman, the CEO of private equity giant Blackstone (BX), thinks that oftentimes it’s not enough to just donate money to schools. Rather, he thinks donations can be much more meaningful if they target specific efforts.
He recently made the largest-ever private donation to a public school, gifting $25 million to Abington High School in Pennsylvania. Schwarzman wants his donation specifically to help equip students with the right skills for the jobs of the future.
Furthermore, he sees an opportunity for donors to fund security, which is often lacking at schools. While discussing the need for safer learning environments, Schwarzman also made the case for tighter gun controls.
More than just giving money
This is not Schwarzman’s first time giving back to his school. About a decade ago, Schwarzman received a cold call from the school’s superintendent, Amy Sichel, about completing the athletic stadium, so he contributed the funds. More recently, Schwarzman got another call from Sichel, this time about providing $25 million as part of a $100 million renovation and expansion project. But he wanted to do more than just put up the funds.
“I wanted to make sure that every student had the best skills possible for the world we live in and the one where the world’s going to go,” Schwarzman told Yahoo Finance. “If they didn’t have those skills, then they won’t be able to get a good job, and they weren’t going to be able to provide for their families, and that’s what I cared about.”