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FAMU responds to skepticism from neighbors about $237 million donation

The hydroponics and hemp farming CEO revealed his donation at spring commencement Saturday
FAMU responds to skepticism from neighbors about $237 million donation from Gregory Gerami
Posted at 7:29 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 21:04:35-04
  • Florida A&M responded to skepticism from neighbors about the validity of the $237 million donation made by Gregory Gerami at commencement.
  • FAMU says the donation is already in the FAMU Foundation accounts in the form of stocks.
  • Watch now to hear where two FAMU students think the money could be used best.


A nine-figure gift for Florida A&M University, setting up a future of endless possibilities.

I'm Alberto Camargo, your College Town neighborhood reporter.

I'm looking for more information on the future of FAMU now that it's received it's biggest donation in history.

"237 million dollars!"


Florida A&M University receives $237 million gift

It's the kind of number that jumps off the screen -- and barely fit on the check.

It came from the Issac Batterson Family 7th Trust and CEO Gregory Gerami.

His company, Batterson Farms Corporation, deals with hydroponic farming and sustainable agriculture.

I couldn't find any information on the company or trust when searching the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission company database.

Social media was full of skepticism for the donation over the weekend.

In a statement Sunday, FAMU said it signed a non-disclosure agreement with Gerami, but the university did say this about the noise, "We are fully aware of the skepticism that sometimes comes with such a large gift. Please know that FAMU has done its due diligence when it comes to this matter. Mr. Gerami's $237,750,000 stock transfer was received in the same manner in which we have accepted all other stocks donated to the University through the FAMU Foundation Inc."

FAMU is confident in the validity of the money, saying all $237 million has been transferred to the FAMU Foundation in the form of stocks.

I contacted FAMU Monday to learn more about where that money is going, but I'm still waiting to hear back.

The announcement was met with big cheers at commencement Saturday.

Monday, Raheem Crumbie told me he hopes however much of the donation goes to athletics also reaches FAMU's famous Marching 100.

"I feel like when they give money to athletic programs, they never give to the Marching 100. And the Marching 100 is one of the reasons why the school is more published, really."

I also spoke with Emmanuel Isma.

He says FAMU needs to use a lot of that money to open new majors and programs to give students more options when choosing their degrees.

"Getting more professors, more classes or even more majors. I know some people still struggle to find a major because we don't offer that much."

FAMU says the $237 million nearly doubled the university's existing endowment overnight — from $121 million to now over $350 million.

In College Town, Alberto Camargo, ABC27.