Netflix chairman/CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are awarding $120 million to historically Black colleges and universities in support of scholarships — the largest single contribution by an individual donor to HBCUs.
The couple are donating $40 million each to Spelman College, Morehouse College and the United Negro College Fund. The grants come after Netflix announced it will donate $5 million to organizations dedicated to creating opportunities for Black creators, Black youth and Black-owned businesses, amid nationwide protests over racial injustice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
“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 Quillin 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.”
Hastings and Quillin said HBCUs are disadvantaged when it comes to philanthropic giving: “Generally, white capital flows to predominantly white institutions, perpetuating capital isolation. We hope this additional $120 million donation will help more Black students follow their dreams and also encourage more people to support these institutions — helping to reverse generations of inequity in our country.”
Hastings and Quillin have been longtime supporters of educational institutions, starting in 1997 with their support for schools including the KIPP charter school network that serves mostly Black and Latino students from low-income families. In 2016, Hastings launched the Hastings Fund, a $100 million philanthropic fund for kids’ education. Hastings also has given $1 million in COVID-19 relief support to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s LA Students Most in Need fund and $1 million to a group called One Family LA.
Hastings currently has a net worth of about $4.8 billion, according to Forbes, with his wealth mostly tied to his ownership of Netflix stock.
Earlier this month, Hastings donated $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity, a research organization dedicated to fighting racial bias in American law enforcement using data science. And in April, Hastings and Quillin donated $30 million to Gavi Alliance, the nonprofit immunization organization started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Spelman said it will use Hastings and Quillin’s donation to fund a 10-year scholarship named for alumna Dovey Johnson Roundtree, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney whose groundbreaking 1955 bus desegregation case helped dismantle the practice of “separate but equal.” Annually, the gift will provide 20 first-year students full scholarships, including tuition, and room and board. Over the next 10 years, 200 first-year students will be able to attend Spelman College with a full four-year scholarship with Hastings and Quillin’s gift.
“This historic gift in response to the historic moment we’re experiencing comes from two people who care deeply about education, equity and the future of our country,” Spelman president Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement. “We are enormously grateful for this affirmation of the importance of the work that HBCUs do to educate the next generation of Black leaders.”