$237M Donation To FAMU By Gregory Gerami Called Into Question, President Pauses Gift

$237M Donation To FAMU By Gregory Gerami Called Into Question, President Pauses Gift


Gregory Gerami, Photo Via FAMU,Ernest Nelfrard/FAMU, Photo via website

Historically Black University Florida A&M University (FAMU) recently announced it had received a monumental $237 million donation from Texas hemp investor Gregory Gerami. The gift, described as “transformational” by school officials, was intended to support student success initiatives and athletics. There were some concerns about the source of the gift. Some wondered is the 30-year Gerami, a hemp entrepreneur, could afford such a gift. Soon after the gift announcement, FAMU President Larry Robinson said the gift from Gerami, who is Black, was legit. However, in the days following the announcement, the deal has come under intense scrutiny, leading FAMU to pause processing the donation as it seeks more information about its validity.

The donation, consisting of shares in Gerami’s privately held company, has raised several red flags. FAMU admits to not knowing the true value of these shares on the open market, as the company is not publicly traded. Also, conflicting statements from Gerami regarding his wealth and family history have added to the uncertainty surrounding the donation.

Gerami is a Texas hemp farmer and entrepreneur. He is also the chief executive officer of the Issac Batterson 7th Family Trust, Diverse Education reported.

According to Shawnta Friday Stroud, vice president, University Advancement Executive Director, FAMU Foundation, Inc., the school would be at risk accepting the stock.

“That’s what kinda led to saying, okay, this has potential. And again, It wasn’t until we had the stock transferred into our carta account that we started saying, okay this becomes real. Because before that, we’re really just talking about air,” she said during an emergency nighttime meeting of The FAMU Foundation Board on May 9, WFSU reported.

Robinson announced the decision to pause processing the donation, citing the need for more information that has come to light in recent days. While he did not disclose specific details, concerns about Gerami’s credibility, and past philanthropic endeavors that fell through have cast doubt on the legitimacy of the donation.

“I just want to let you know that already, with regards to the gift and processing and future processing, we’ve already decided that it’s in our best interest to put that on hold,” said Robinson.

The $237 million donation had been hailed as one of the largest in the history of HBCUs.

Gregory Gerami, Photo Via FAMU,Ernest Nelfrard/FAMU, Photo via website, https://www.famu.edu/about-famu/maps-and-directions/index.php