Netflix co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are donating $120 million to educational institutions targeting students of color. The contributions include $40 million each to the United Negro College Fund and private colleges Spelman and Morehouse in Atlanta. Hastings disclosed the donations in an interview this week with CNBC.
“There are many good places to donate, but the [historically black colleges and universities] are 150 years old, incredibly resilient, producing an amazing number of black graduates,” Hastings said.
The by-mail disc rental/SVOD pioneer said he and his wife were moved by the George Floyd death by Minneapolis police, ongoing societal racism as well as the disproportionate suffering in the black community as a result of the coronavirus.
“The amount of tragedy really did get us to focus and say, ‘let’s do something now that will be supportive of these great institutions and give people some sense of hope,’” Hastings said. “This moment is not the first time that racism has reared its, you know, terribly ugly head. We want to help draw attention to the [historically black colleges and universities], to them being part of the solution for America, and for black children to aspire to”.
Hastings, who reportedly has a net worth around $4.8 billion due to his 1.3% stake in Netflix, has long been an advocate for education. After a stint in the Peace Corp. in Africa teaching high school math in Swaziland, Hastings pursued a silicon career in tech before launching Netflix. Along the way, he’s been a big contributor to charter schools, including spending almost $9 million campaigning for select school measures and political candidates. In 2016 Hastings pledged a $100 million philanthropic fund for children’s education.