Reed Hastings, chairman, president and CEO of Netflix Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is committing a total of $120 million to institutions dedicated to the higher education of students of color.
Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin will donate $40 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the historically-Black universities Spelman College and Morehouse College.
“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 told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin in an interview recorded Monday.
The donation comes amid renewed calls for racial justice, after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody. The Black community has also been disproportionately sickened by the coronavirus, showing the gaping disparities in access to quality health care across minority communities.
“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 HBCUs, to them being part of the solution for America, and for black children to aspire to,” he added.
Spelman College President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell said that 60% of Morehouse’s students and 48% of Spelman students are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, which helps low-income families.
“Here you have in this country, you have the colleges with the least resources taking on the responsibility of educating at a high level the students who need resources the most,” she said in the Monday interview with Sorkin.
According to Forbes, Hastings has a net worth around $4.8 billion, thanks primarily to his 1.3% stake in Netflix — the best-performing stock of the last decade. That’s helped him become a longtime donor in the education system. He’s given millions in funding to charter schools, and in 2016 started a $100 million philanthropic fund for kids’ education.
Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.