Jun 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Netflix CEO donates $120 million to historically black colleges

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings speaking in 2016.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings speaking in 2016. Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

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

Why it matters: It's the largest recorded individual gift to support scholarships at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which Reed and Quillin hope will encourage other wealthy individuals to make donations as well.

What they're saying: “HBCUs have a tremendous record, yet are disadvantaged when it comes to giving," Hasting and Quillin said in a statement. "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."

The big picture: Unlike Ivy League colleges, HBCUs have comparatively small endowments and tend to receive most of their largest educational donations from alumni.

  • The donation comes in the midst of economic upheaval set off by the coronavirus pandemic, which has had an especially damaging effect on colleges and universities as high school graduates postpone pursuing higher education.

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