Honors and Awards
In recognition of his business accomplishments and philanthropy, Robert F. Smith has received numerous awards and honors.
Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Award, 2019
Smith was awarded the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal in 2019, which is Harvard University’s highest honor in the field of African and African American studies. He was recognized for “changing lives and for forever and profoundly transforming the global philanthropic and businesses landscape.”
Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, 2019
In 2019, Smith was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in recognition of his bold philanthropy, investments in communities, and his strong calls for others to join him in giving back. The award honors philanthropists who reflect the values of Andrew Carnegie and his philosophy of giving—that the surplus wealth of the few should be administered “for the good of the people.”
Inductee into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, 2019
Smith was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2019 after being recognized by the general public and then selected by living Hall of Fame members. Inductees are evaluated by their accomplishments in business and contributions to their community.
UNCF President’s Award, 2019
In 2019, the UNCF honored Smith with their President’s Award, which is an honor given to individuals who have helped “shape the African American story by embodying the values and aspirations that UNCF represents” or individuals who have contributed resources necessary for UNCF students to succeed.
Forbes 100 Greatest Living Business Minds, 2017
In 2017, Smith was named one of Forbes’ “100 Greatest Living Business Minds”, recognizing him as one of America’s top business innovators.
Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award, 2017
Columbia University’s Black Business Students Association (BBSA) named Smith as a recipient of their “Distinguished Alumni Award” in 2017. The BBSA at Columbia University exists to support Black business school students while they are pursuing their degrees and beyond.
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award, 2016
Smith was honored with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award in 2016. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute that works to benefit the global Black community.
Ripple of Hope Award from Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, 2010
In 2010, Smith was awarded the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award, which “celebrates leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who have demonstrated a commitment to social change.” Past award recipients include Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bono, John Lewis, and Tim Cook.
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