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Zak Williams

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Zak Williams could have easily gotten into show business if he wanted to.

Robin Williams' son clearly had connections to the entertainment world, but he decided to go a completely different route. Instead of becoming an actor and comedian like his famous father, the 32-year-old San Franciscan, who holds an MBA from Columbia University, decided to focus his talents on educating prisoners.

More specifically, educating prisoners about money. Williams co-teaches a weekly class to incarcerated individuals at San Quentin State Prison about finances.

"I come from an entitled background where I could have not worked hard—just coasted for a chunk of my life, up to a point," Williams told Today. "But I opted to take pride and joy in the work that I do and to establish accountability."

eWith his late father also being a philanthropist and humanitarian, Zak has no doubt that Robin would have been proud of the work he's doing. "I think he would have loved the program and loved participating; we know he's there in their spirit."

Williams co-teaches the weekly class with an incarcerated man named Curtis Carroll, aka "Wall Street," whom Williams refers to as a "kindred spirit."

"He could have just served his time," said Williams, "but instead he's chosen to follow a path of constant learning and to develop accountability for his students."

"I have a passion for analyzing the market and investors," Williams said when explaining when his desire to teach in prison began. "For me, there's a set of skills that involves problem-solving and analysis that I find to be enjoyable. It's developing a different understanding of a market, and it [fosters] a deeper understanding of the economy and the human condition as a whole."

The classes are formed by three modules: Re-entry, which involves communication, interviewing skills and developing a resume, Personal finance, which cultivates an understanding of one's own personal finances, assets and liabilities, and Retirement, which focuses on investment strategies.

Williams hopes that this curriculum will become available to all of those in disenfranchised communities, but for now, he's happy he can help those behind bars. "It's not hard to be compassionate," he says.

Plus, take a look back at the legacy Robin Williams left during his successful career.