The founder of a San Francisco-based private equity firm has donated $2.5 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Santa Monica to research prostate cancer in U.S. veterans and African-American men, officials announced on Jan. 15.

Robert F. Smith, founder and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners, contributed the funds so the foundation can establish a new Robert Frederick Smith Center of Precision Oncology of Excellence in Chicago.

It was the largest gift ever made to advance research in prostate cancer in African-American men, who are 73 percent more likely to suffer from the disease, according to the foundation. The research will also apply to U.S. veterans overall.

“We are profoundly grateful,” said Dr. Jonathan W. Simons, chief executive of the foundation, in a statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “The Smith Center of Excellence represents a new model of American philanthropy and will pave the way for groundbreaking discoveries that will have a transformative impact.”

Vista Equity Partners, founded in 2000, is a private equity and venture capital firm focused on investing on software and technology-enabled businesses. Its 2016 VI fund was reportedly valued at $10 billion.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation, founded in 1993, has raised more than $745 million to fund more than 2,000 research programs at nearly 200 universities and cancer centers in 19 countries.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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