San Francisco: Reed Hastings, the co-founder of Netflix, and his wife, Patty Quillin, donated $120 million to the United Negro College Fund, Spelman College, and Morehouse College. This will be the largest-ever individual gift to support scholarships at historically black colleges and universities.
“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,” Quillin and Hastings said in a statement.
“Historically black colleges and universities have a tremendous record, yet are disadvantaged when it comes to giving,” they added.
The record donation comes amid protests after the police killing of George Floyd and the national conversation about how to end systemic racism. That conversation has included discussions about how to provide more education and job opportunities for African Americans.
The money is to be spent during the coming decade to pay for 200 students to attend full 4-year college programs.
Spelman will use its allocation to fund a scholarship named for Spelman 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.
At Morehouse, the funds will support the Morehouse College Student Success Program which also aims to erase student loan debt.
Mr. Hastings said he hoped that the donation would lead other wealthy individuals to give to H.B.C.U.s. “Generally, white capital flows to predominantly white institutions, perpetuating capital isolation,” he and Ms. Quillin said in a statement announcing the donation on Wednesday. Mr. Hastings is worth $5.3 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Quillin and Hastings said they hoped the scholarships help “reverse generations of inequity in our country.”
Hastings, who as a younger man spent time in the Peace Corps and teaching high school-level math in Swaziland, and his wife have a history of philanthropy aimed at education.
Apple recently launched a $100 million initiative to combat systemic racism, and Google has committed $275 million to help black artists on YouTube, help fund African American small businesses and other projects to support the community.
“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,” said Quillin and Hastings. “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.”
Last year, Robert Smith, founder, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners made the first donation to the Student Success Program. He gave $34 million to cover the costs of most of the 2019 graduating class at Morehouse.