Netflix CEO donating $120 million to historically black colleges

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Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hasting and his wife, Patty Quillin, announced on Wednesday they are donating $120 million to Spelman College, Morehouse College and the United Negro College Fund.

The donation, which comes amid a national reckoning over racial injustice and police brutality, is the largest-ever individual contribution supporting scholarships at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“We’ve supported these three extraordinary institutions for the last few years because we believe that investing in the education of Black youth is one of the best ways to invest in America’s future,” Hastings and Quillings said in a statement. “Both of us had the privilege of a great education and we want to help more students — in particular students of color — get the same start in life.”

The two noted that HBCUs are dwarfed by other universities in terms of endowments. They said that “white capital” generally “flows to predominantly white institutions, perpetuating capital isolation.”

Each institution is set to receive $40 million. Hastings’s net worth is about $5.3 billion, according to Bloomberg News.

Hastings and Quillin added that they hoped the donations would combat this issue and help reverse “generations of inequity in our country.”

Spelman College has already made plans to use the money to fund four-year scholarships named for alumnus and civil rights icon Dovey Johnson Roundtree. 

Protests over racial inequities swept the nation following the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. The demonstrations have led to calls from activists and lawmakers to put more funding into social service programs and initiatives supporting younger generations. 

Hastings said he hoped his donation would spur more philanthropists to put funding toward HBCUs. His donation was announced about a year after Robert F. Smith, a billionaire tech investor, pledged to eliminate the student debt for the entire 2019 Morehouse College graduating class. The move was estimated to cost about $40 million. 

The large donations have led to both praise and calls for reforms to lower the cost of higher education. Hastings’s latest pledge also comes as colleges face significant financial hits brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tags HBCUs Historically black colleges and universities Netflix racial inequality

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