A big donation to Florida A&M University (FAMU) students has been announced.

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Siris Frank Baker — and his wife Laura — have donated $1.2 million to support students in an effort to help them graduate in four years without financial barriers, a press release shares.

The New FAMU Fund

With the Bakers’ gift comes the Frank and Laura Baker Graduation Fund which is set to “provide funding for students who are qualified to graduate in four years but have an outstanding account balance to the university.”

“In 2020, we established Siris’ Florida office, and as part of that, we believed it was important to invest in our new community,” Frank said, per the press release. “Through our conversations with FAMU, we learned there are extremely capable students who aren’t able to graduate in four years solely due to limited financial resources. We also discovered that the four year graduation rate is a key metric in determining the amount of funding FAMU receives from the State of Florida. This made our ‘investment’ decision pretty easy — FAMU students in the work force sooner and potentially unlocking more State funding.”

How The Graduation Fund Will Work

To ensure that FAMU students are gaining the support they need, the Bakers will be working with the FAMU Office of University Advancement and the Office of Student Success and Strategic Initiatives “to determine how the Graduation Fund will be distributed.”

Ahead of the academic years to come, the funding’s initial $300,000 will go toward wiping out the HBCU’s university balances for spring and summer 2022 graduates. The debt clearing will occur once the certification process is complete. Additionally, the money will match donations from the Day of Giving “1887 Strikes” campaign, which raised an additional $360,000.

FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. shares statement on Frank and Laura Baker's donation:

“This is a transformational gift that will encourage our students to finish in a timely manner and allow them to move forward less burdened by debt to the University. We thank Frank and Laura Baker for investing in our students. Their generosity will reap untold dividends for years to come.”