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Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Raises $4.93 Million at SEO Annual Awards Dinner

Joe Plumeri, Robert F. Smith, and Cesar Conde, honored for their commitment to providing opportunities to underserved youth

Published 04-14-17

Submitted by Citi

On Thursday, April 6, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) raised $4.93 million at the SEO Annual Awards Dinner. The marquee event saw nearly 1,000 guests at the American Museum of Natural History, and honored three outstanding leaders in business and philanthropy: Joe Plumeri; Robert F. Smith; and Cesar Conde.

Funds raised at the event will support SEO’s three programs which provide educational and career opportunities to underserved and underrepresented young people in New York City and San Francisco.  SEO’s flagship program, SEO Scholars, is a free eight-year academic program that gets underserved public high school students to and through college – with a 90% college graduation rate. The program currently serves more than 1,500 students, with a goal of serving 2,000 by 2021. 

The SEO Annual Awards Dinner was held in the Hall of Ocean Life, and the evening was led by Emcee, Gayle King, of CBS This Morning and editor-at-large for O, the Oprah MagazineMichael L. Corbat, Chief Executive Officer, Citi, served as Dinner Chairman, and SEO Board Chairman, Henry R. Kravis, and SEO president and CEO, William Goodloe, welcomed the crowd. Six SEO Scholars, current high school and college students from New York City and San Francisco, took the stage to share their stories of overcoming adversity in their personal lives, and how SEO has helped them succeed on their journey to and through college. 

Citi CEO Michael Corbat said, “Citi is proud of its nearly 40-year history with SEO and its alumni, and this outstanding fundraising achievement speaks to the importance of its mission as well as the value of diversity, inclusion and career readiness for young people today.”

This year’s honorees are business leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to educational and career opportunities for young people from underrepresented backgrounds: Joe Plumeri, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, First Data Corporation, and SEO Board Member; Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Vista Equity Partners; and Cesar Conde, Chairman, NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, and SEO Career Alumnus '94.

“SEO was thrilled to recognize the extraordinary business achievements of our honorees, and to highlight how they each exemplify SEO’s core value of using their gift of success to create opportunities for others”, said William Goodloe, president and CEO of SEO.  “The funds raised are helping SEO to serve hundreds more students in our Scholars Program over the next few years.” 

In addition to SEO Scholars, SEO is comprised of two other distinct programs – SEO Career and SEO Alternative Investments. Both aim to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in the workforce by providing access to careers in high-level business sectors for those who have been traditionally underrepresented.

“There is one common thread that runs through all our programs,” says Mr. Goodloe. “That is helping underserved and underrepresented young people meet and surpass the existing standards, whether for admission and graduation from top tier colleges, or entry into some of the most coveted industries. SEO provides opportunities to move young people forward, to the benefit of themselves, their families, and their communities.”

Since 1963, SEO has provided educational and career opportunities to over 11,000 young people from underserved and underrepresented communities, breaking barriers both in higher education and the corporate world.

About Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
SEO was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide talented and motivated young people from underserved and underrepresented communities with access to superior educational and career opportunities. Today, SEO runs three programs: SEO Scholars is a free, eight-year academic program that gets low-income public high school students to and through college—with a 90% college graduation rate; SEO Career is a summer internship and professional development program targeting talented Black, Hispanic, and Native American undergrads and pre-law school candidates—with 80% of 2015 and 2016 interns receiving full-time job offers at SEO partner companies; SEO Alternative Investments provides education, exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented professionals traditionally underrepresented in the alternative investments sector. Nearly 90% of AI Fellows have secured jobs in the alternative investments sector. For more information, visit

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